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Understanding Routine Maintenance for Your Tankless Water Heater

Water heater maintenace in Columbus, OH

When it's time to replace the water heater in your Columbus, OH home, you'll have a few options. You'll need to choose between a gas-powered or electric water heater. You'll also need to choose between a traditional water heater with a storage tank and a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters don't take up as much space, and they have the capacity to produce more hot water than a devise with a storage tank. If you have several people living in your household or you use a lot of hot water for your hobbies, this high capacity may be a big factor in your decision. Although tankless water heaters don't have a tank that can rust out, they do require routine maintenance in order to continue working safely and efficiently. Let's take a look at the types of routine maintenance your tankless water heater requires. Remember, you can always rely on us at Apex Plumbing Pros for assistance.

Flush the System

After about one year of constant use, tankless water heaters may develop some buildup on their interior components. This mineral buildup may cause bad odors or discoloration of the hot water. Flushing a tankless water heater isn't as time-consuming as flushing a traditional water heater. Our plumbers temporarily turn off the water supply, drain the small chamber and rinse out any leftover debris.

Clean the Air Filter

You might be surprised to learn that your tankless water heater has an air filter. The air filter reduces contaminants in the unit's combustion chamber. If this air filter gets clogged, dust and other debris can make its way into the chamber. The dust buildup reduces the unit's efficiency and may cause the tankless water heater to fail before the model's typical life expectancy. We clean reusable air filters and replace disposable air filters during routine tankless water heater maintenance visits.

Test for Carbon Monoxide Gas

If you have a gas-powered tankless water heater, it needs a properly functioning ventilation system. The byproducts of combustion exit your home through this system. Any type of issue with the ventilation system could allow poisonous carbon monoxide gas to seep into your Columbus residence. We check for the presence of carbon monoxide gas near your tankless water heater. If our equipment detects a gas leak, we investigate further to find the source of the problem. Our skilled plumbers repair gas leaks so that you can enjoy a safe home.

Check the Thermostat

The thermostat controls the temperature of the water. If the thermostat is set too high, someone in your home could be burned or scalded. Babies and elders are at high risk of these types of injuries, as are people with neuropathy and diabetes. Our plumbers check the thermostat to make sure it's set to a safe temperature. We also verify that the thermostat's sensor is accurate.

Clean the Water Filter

Tankless water heaters include a water filter. This filter traps minerals. It may also get clogged by other debris in the water, such as bacteria. If the filter's pores get clogged, the water won't be able to pass through it. This decreases the amount of hot water that passes into your hot water pipe and plumbing fixtures. A clogged filter may also cause water to back up, and the pressure may even burst the pipe. Clogged filters reduce the efficiency of tankless water heaters, and your gas or electricity bill may go up.

Inspect the Heating Element

The heating element is a critical component. As the water passes over it, the liquid absorbs the heat. Heating elements may develop mineral buildup. When the element has a layer of buildup, the heat won't effectively transfer to the water. This causes the tankless water heater to work harder, and the heating element will eventually fail.

Check the Valves

Tankless water heaters have several valves. These include the water intake valve, the outgoing water valve, the gas supply valve and the gas shutoff valve. During a routine maintenance visit, our plumbers check all of these valves to make sure they're working properly. Each valve is cleaned and properly lubricated for safe and effective operation.

Inspect the Pipes

Part of routine tankless water heater maintenance includes inspecting the pipes that deliver tap water to the water heater and the pipes that deliver the hot water to your home's plumbing fixtures. Ideally, the hot water pipes should be insulated. Our plumbers temporarily remove the insulation to verify the structural integrity of the hot water pipe and the supply pipe.

Clean the Tank

"Tankless" is a bit of a misnomer. Tankless water heaters do have a small tank, but it's not used to store a supply of hot water at all times. The small tank contains the heating element. Water passes through this small tank and into the hot water pipes. Part of water heater maintenance involves cleaning the interior and exterior of that tank. The tank's interior may develop buildup of mineral deposits from hard water. Dust, dander, and other airborne particles may land on the exterior of the tank. As they decompose, they may release chemicals that interact with the metal. This chemical interaction could cause rust to develop on the tank or valves. Our plumbers clean the interior and exterior of the tank. We also recommend that homeowners wipe down the tank's exterior once each month. While cleaning the tank, our plumbers make sure that no combustible materials are located within three feet of the unit. This clearance lowers the risk of a fire.

How Often Does a Tankless Water Heater Need Routine Maintenance?

We recommend an annual professional maintenance visit for your tankless water heater. With proper maintenance, your tankless water heater will last longer, cost less to operate, and work more effectively. Routine tune-ups also allow us to identify components that may be at risk of failure and parts that have excess wear and tear. We can replace those worn-out parts before they fail. This reduces the risk of a flood or disruption of your home's hot water service.

Benefits of Routine Tankless Water Heater Maintenance

Keeping up with regular maintenance on your tankless water heater increases your safety and comfort. Preventive maintenance could also lower your monthly water and electric or gas bills. You won't have to wait long for the water to get hot when your tankless water heater is in proper working condition. Well-maintained tankless water heaters last longer, so you won't have to prematurely replace the unit. Routine water heater maintenance also helps you avoid unexpected malfunctions and emergency repairs.

In addition to tankless water heater maintenance, our team at Apex Plumbing Pros also offers tankless water heater installation and repairs. Our sewer and excavation, repiping, and water filtration services keep your home safe, clean, efficient, and comfortable. Let us handle your slab, water, and gas leak detection, bathroom remodeling, and sump pump installation needs. We also offer drain and septic cleaning and repair. If you're a Columbus area business owner, you can also count on us for commercial plumbing services. To learn more about tankless water heater maintenance or to schedule an appointment with one of our plumbers, reach out to us at Apex Plumbing Pros today.