The storage tank water heater–the “traditional” water heater seen in most homes today–is pretty large, typically very noticeable, and sometimes even a little bit noisy. As a result, it’s pretty hard to ignore, and so homeowners realize that it’s something that probably requires professional attention on occasion.
After all, something called scaling, which is the buildup of hard water minerals like calcium, magnesium, and sometimes even iron, can have a big impact on the water heater. Scaling can clang around noisily in a tank water heater, creating a nuisance but also creating potential corrosion and other related problems. As a result, a tank water heater needs to be professionally “flushed” on occasion to offset the issue.
So, what kind of maintenance does a tankless system need? After all, it does not have a tank for scaling to accumulate inside, right? Well… unfortunately scaling can have an impact on a tankless system, and for this reason, these systems do require professional maintenance on a routine basis. Read on to learn why!
The Impact of Scaling on a Tankless Water Heater
Scaling impacts a tankless water heater in such a way that if it is not adequately managed, it can shorten the lifespan of the water heater. Scaling, as we mentioned above, is created by hard water–water that has a high concentration of minerals in it. Hard water is actually bad for all your plumbing. It’s not necessarily unhealthy for you and your family to ingest, but it is absolutely unhealthy for your pipes and the water heater, no matter what type of water heater it is.
The scaling that is caused by hard water impacts the heat exchanger component of the tankless water heater. This is the part actually responsible for heating up the water to begin with. Your tankless water heater cannot do its job without it. What happens is that scaling builds up and covers the heat exchanger and burners, restricting them from being able to do their job.
When Should You Have Maintenance Done?
Here’s where you might find some relief, or at least a benefit of a tankless system that a tank water heater doesn’t have. A tank water heater requires maintenance at least once a year, because of the large number of components it has and how everything in it can be impacted by the constant exposure to water.
However, if hard water isn’t a huge problem in your area, and you have a tankless system, then you can realistically go about every 2-3 years between maintenance sessions.
Unsure if hard water is a big problem in your neighborhood? The best thing you can do is call on our pros to have your water tested. It may be wise to have a whole-house water softener installed, which will significantly help the situation.
Still though, maintenance is essential to keeping your tankless water heater in the best shape possible, for as long as possible!