When you look at a standard, conventional tank water heater, it’s probably clear why it would need regular maintenance. It’s large, it has a number of components to it in order for it to work, and it’s metal full of water–two things that don’t typically go together without rust and corrosion. Tankless systems are so different though, right? They don’t hold water in them–instead, they heat water on demand when a tap or a plumbing appliance requires it. So you don’t have to worry about rust or corrosion as much. They don’t have as many components either, so their repair needs are limited.
So, why does your tankless water heater need maintenance? Well, it’s due to a little something called scaling, which actually impacts all types of water heaters, not just conventional tank systems.
The Impact of Scaling on a Tankless Water Heater
Scaling affects a tankless water heater in such a way that it could lead to premature replacement needs, at least without routine maintenance. Hard water is what creates scaling–that is, water with a high level of minerals in it–namely calcium and magnesium, and sometimes iron too. These minerals are completely harmless for us to digest, but they are not so harmless for your plumbing system and your tankless water heater is no exception.
When hard water leaves behind mineral deposits (scaling) in plumbing appliances or pipes, it attaches to components such as the heat exchanger, which prevents the heat exchanger from actually heating the water as well as it’s meant to. The heat exchanger should always be clean so that your water is consistently heated, day after day, year after year. Scaling prevents the burners from doing their job too, which can cause a tankless system to get overworked and break down.
When Should You Have Tankless Water Heater Maintenance Done?
For just about any home comfort system in your home, including a conventional tank water heater, you’ll hear professionals suggest that your maintenance be done once a year. In fact for a heat pump it should be twice a year. Fortunately, tankless systems don’t usually need maintenance this often. You can probably go every couple of years, though it depends on your specific situation. For instance, if you live in an area that has a high level of hard water, and you don’t have a whole-house water softener in place to resolve this, then you may need maintenance and professional cleaning more often.
“How Long Will My Tankless System Last With or Without Maintenance?”
With maintenance, you can respect your tankless system to last a couple of decades or more, which is longer than the conventional tank water heater. Without maintenance, however, this lifespan could potentially be cut in half. Not only is there scaling to think about, but you want to ensure that the pipes leading to and from the system are in good shape, and the only way to know for sure is through a professional inspection.
For expert Evanston, IL plumbing service, installations, or maintenance contact Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. Our knowledgeable plumbers serve the North Shore and Northwest Chicago suburbs. Rely on Reliance!