When you purchased a tankless water heater, you probably knew of the benefits of having one. Out of all the reasons people opt for tankless models, one of the most enjoyed benefits is less maintenance. But your new Evanston heater still needs some attention. If you don’t provide the right tankless water heater maintenance, you could have several costly repairs in the near future.


The Maintenance Needs of a Tankless Water Heater

All of the appliances in your home require care, and your tankless water heater is no exception. Fortunately, this type of water heater is easier to maintain than other home fixtures, like your air conditioner. 


When it comes to water heater maintenance, there are some jobs you can do on your own. Others require the expertise of an Evanston plumber. In either case, the job needs to be done. Otherwise, your water heater will have a short lifespan and demand frequent repairs. 


If you’re not sure where to start, don’t fret. These simple steps are all you need to do to keep your tankless heater working well.


Clean the Water Line Filter

Before you attempt this step, you should know that not all water heaters have this filter. Most do, but there’s no guarantee yours has it. If you have a heater without a filter, you may want to consult with a plumber and have them install one. 


The water line filter has the purpose of keeping scale, sediment, and minerals out of your heater. As the particles accumulate in your system, they keep your heater from performing well. They also travel on to your plumbing system. Over time, your faucets and appliances could suffer. 


Although a filter is beneficial to your water heater and plumbing, it does come with a little maintenance. There are several filter options, so you should first find out which type of filter you have. While some filters need to be cleaned, others require a complete replacement. Your water heater should come with a manual that tells you more about your filter and how to care for it. 


Clean the Air Filter

Once again, this piece of maintenance only applies to certain water heaters. Gas tankless heaters occasionally have filters located between the fan and intake pipe. Because the filter keeps bugs and dirt out of your system, it can get dirty. 


If this filter gets too dirty, the air flow will slow, and your water heater could stop working. The dirty filter could trigger an error message that warns you of the issue. Before your heater stops working, clean out your filter. It’s often an easy job that involves removing the screws and filter, washing and drying the filter, and reinstalling the filter. 


For more assistance with your filter, check the user manual. In it, you can find everything you need to know about cleaning the air filter. 


Descaling and Flushing 

Descaling and flushing a tankless water heater is the most complex part of water heater maintenance. Despite having a water filter, your heater still has the potential to accumulate lime and calcium. If your home has hard water, it’s even more likely to develop unwanted build-up. 


By descaling and flushing your unit, you remove minerals and other debris from the heater. Once a year, use white vinegar or a descaling solution to clean out your heater. It takes about 45 minutes for the process to complete. After the descaling occurs, you need to flush the system.


If you read the user manual, you can find information about the descaling process. That said, many homeowners rely on plumbers for this piece of maintenance. 


How Does It Compare to Traditional Water Heater Maintenance?

In case you’re wondering, the maintenance for a traditional water heater is a little more in-depth. It’s similar to the tankless heater in that you can do some of the steps on your own, but you can simplify things by working with a professional. All of the following are parts of traditional water heater maintenance:


Keep a Clearance of Two Feet

You should always leave an empty space of at least two feet around your water heater tank. 


Flush the Tank

Several times a year, drain your water heater tank. First, turn off the cold water supply valve and connect a hose to the drain valve. Allow the water to run out into a buck or drain until the water is clear. 


Check the Temperature-Pressure Relief Valve

Once a year, inspect the temperature-pressure relief valve by expelling a little water two or three times. If the water doesn’t come out, you have a problem and may need to replace the valve.


Check the Anode Rod

Approximately every three years, look at the sacrificial anode rod. Keep in mind that reaching the rod requires you to remove it. Once you take it out, make sure it’s still thick and has steel wire exposed. 


If the rod is worn, you must replace it with a new one. You can always ask a plumber if you’re not sure the anode rod needs to be replaced. 


Prepare for Vacations

Tankless water heaters only heat up water when you need it. However, traditional heaters constantly work to keep your water warm. You need to prepare your heater for your long absences by switching the thermostat to “vacation.” If you fail to do so, you waste energy and keep your heater working overtime when it doesn’t need to. 


Relying on a Professional for Annual Tankless Water Heater Maintenance

With so much to maintain in your own home, you may not have time to deal with your tankless water heater. Even if you intend to perform the maintenance, there’s no guarantee you’ll get around to it. Furthermore, you don’t have the skilled eye of a professional. You may not spot issues an expert would notice.


To get the most from your tankless water heater, call a trusted professional. Ongoing maintenance increases the performance of your heater, which lowers your energy bills and increases your comfort. If you’re ready to get tankless water heater maintenance from an Evanston company that cares, call us at J. Blanton Plumbing.