Why Choose, and Maintain, a Tankless Water Heater

 In Plumbing

On-demand water heaters, also known as “tankless” heaters, are increasingly popular. They offer many advantages over a traditional “tank” water heater, including:

  • An endless supply of hot water – no more running out mid-shower!
  • They are highly energy efficient: only heating the water as you need it rather than keeping a large tank of water hot at all times;
  • They take up far less space than a large tank;
  • You’ll never have to worry about a large tank of water suddenly “letting go” and flooding your basement.

Before (left) this large “tank” water heater was replaced by a Rinnai tankless unit – illustrating the difference in the amount of space needed between a tank-style heater and the on-demand unit. The Rinnai unit installed here was an easy decision for our client once they used an online fuel savings calculator to figure out what their yearly savings would be.

Annual Maintenance a MUST

While the benefits of an on-demand system are clear, once the system is installed, it’s important to maintain it to maximize the life of the unit.  Flushing the system once a year is vital. This involves pumping a vinegar solution through the unit to break down any scale that has built up.

If you live in an area with hard water, it may even be necessary to flush the system more often. Scale is caused by the build up of minerals, primarily calcium, which is found in hard water. Water softeners can be helpful in this case.

Without flushing the system, excessive scale build up can case calcium particles, which look and feel like sand, to travel through your home’s water lines and collect behind aerators and valve screens. The result: a more costly and inconvenient repair or replacement of faucets and other systems.

The bottom line: don’t wait until there’s a problem to flush your tankless water heater. A regular maintenance program is a MUST to ensure the long-term life of your water heater and maximize your investment.