Tank water heaters are large, noticeable, and often noisy. This is the conventional water heater found in most homes, so many people realize that a tank water heater may need maintenance from time to time and remember to schedule service. Scaling can have a major effect on a water heater, allowing for a mineral buildup that clangs around noisily in the tank and causes problems with pressure, temperature, and potential corrosion. Tank water heaters may need flushing sometimes to offset this effect.
What many people don’t realize is that tankless water heaters need maintenance as well. And much of the maintenance completed for tank water heaters is similar to the maintenance performed on tanks. For more information, or to schedule service for your system, give us a call!
How scaling affects tankless water heaters
Scaling affects a tankless water heater in a way that could lead to its early demise—if you don’t schedule maintenance for it regularly. Hard water is defined by having a high content of minerals in it. Calcium and magnesium are the most common minerals, and they are found in water supplies across the country. When mineral deposits are left behind in appliances or pipes, we usually call it “scaling.”
Scaling can affect the heat exchanger of your tankless water heater. As you may realize, the heat exchanger is what heats up the water in the first place. You need it to be clean so that the water can be heated efficiently. Scaling can make your burners work harder, or can overwork a tankless water heater to the point that it breaks down.
How often to schedule maintenance
For some tankless water heaters, annual maintenance is absolutely vital for keeping the system running smoothly throughout its whole lifespan. For others, maintenance can wait a year or two longer. How often you schedule maintenance mainly depend on how hard the water is in your area. In some parts of the country, mineral deposits are far more common than in others.
A plumber can test your water for hardness—or you may be able to tell. If you frequently notice a chalky white or yellow buildup around faucets or drains, you probably have hard water, which means your tankless water heater is at risk.
When to replace a tankless water heater
While annual or semi-annual maintenance is important for a tankless water heater, it won’t make the system last forever. Eventually, you’ll need to replace your tankless water heater with a new one, although a tankless water heater may last more than 20 years.
If your system starts to fail much sooner than this, it may be due to a lack of maintenance. Keeping up with maintenance is the only way to be sure your system lives out its full term. Consult with a technician to learn more about the state of your tankless system, and take their advice if your water heater is reaching the end of its life.