Tankless water heaters, or on-demand water heaters, are hi-tech appliances that heat water only when it's needed, resulting in less wasted energy and a nearly continuous supply of hot water. When properly maintained they will last around 20 years. They have been around for over a decade now and have proven to be a reliable and an energy efficient alternative to traditional tank-style water heaters. When problems do arise is often a result of improper installation or a lack of maintenance.
Here are some of the most common problems that can occur with tankless water heaters.
Hard water can lead to scaly calcium buildup which can increase the maintenance requirements for the unit. The unit should be flushed with vinegar following the manufacturer's instructions to prevent minerals from reducing performance or potentially damaging the unit. If your home has excessively hard water, it's recommended that a water softener be installed to prevent excessive calcium deposits form accumulating in the water lines.
While you're more likely to experience corrosion problems with a conventional tank-style water heater, tankless water heaters can also be damaged by corrosion if condensation drips onto on the gas burner and causes problems with the gas supply.
Before installing a new tankless water heater your plumber will ask about your water usage to calculate which unit will best serve your hot water needs. If you exceed the capacity of the unit by showering, doing laundry and other water-intensive tasks simultaneously, the unit may shut down to prevent damage from over heating. If you use a lot of hot water at the same time in different areas of your home, you may be better off going with a larger tank-style water heater.
When a tankless water heater is installed it's essential that the unit have enough ventilation to allow excess heat to escape, and in the case of gas units, for exhaust gases to vent to the outside of the home. If not properly vented, the unit may overheat and automatically shut down as a safety precaution.
If you're experiencing problems with your tankless water heater, give MR Plumbing a call. We can help with all your plumbing and hot water needs.