Nicolette Forbes

By: Nicolette Forbes on June 28th, 2022

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What Type of Maintenance Does a Tankless Water Heater Require?

Tankless Water Heaters

A tankless water heater is an investment. With the proper care, tankless water heaters can last up to 25 years, depending on the model. But what does it take to maintain a tankless water heater?

Tankless water heaters need regular maintenance to prolong their lifespan and avoid running into early problems. These issues can start out small, but over time, lack of maintenance can cause bigger problems for your tankless water heater, leaving you ready to “fix” your water heater with a sledgehammer. Yikes! 

We here at Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Air have worked with thousands of customers, and our tankless technicians are trained and certified by some of the top tankless water heater manufacturers. We are experts when it comes to tankless water heaters and how to protect them, and now, we want to share our knowledge with you. 

In this article, we will go through the basics of tankless water heater maintenance so that you, too, can become experts when it comes to maintenance for your tankless unit.


Do Tankless Water Heaters Need Maintenance?

Tankless water heaters need maintenance to have a long and happy life, but what does that entail? With tankless water heaters, there are two types of maintenance:

  1. Internal maintenance
  2. External maintenance

When you clean and maintain the internal and external components of your tankless water heater, you're protecting it from early breakdowns. Preventative maintenance can help your tankless water heater last longer without repairs or breakdowns.

Check out this article here as we dive deeper into the costs of repairing or replacing your tankless water heater, along with the pros and cons of both options.  

Tankless water heater manufacturers recommend that you schedule yearly maintenance on your tankless to avoid bigger problems, like a leak or not having hot water, down the line.


Internal Tankless Water Heater Maintenance

Internal tankless water heater maintenance involves cleaning the parts of your tankless water heater where water runs through. But you must be wondering, “what does that mean? How do you do it? And can I do it myself?” 

Well, we will start to answer those questions with another question: when you hear the term flushing, what do you think? If you’re not used to tankless maintenance, the first thing that might come to mind is a toilet, and you’re not too far off.

Flushing a tankless water heater means clearing out the pipes with a cleaning liquid.

Why do pipes need to be flushed? Well, it has to do with hard water and limescale buildup. That’s the white stuff that gunks up your fixtures. Tankless water heaters are especially affected by white scale buildup because of the way a tankless water heater heats water in addition to having hard water.

If you’re not too familiar with hard water, click here to read more about the effects of hard water on your tankless water heater.

Think of your tankless unit as a coffee machine. If you do not clean it out regularly, it will not work. That is why manufacturers include a flushing mixture with all the coffee machine's attachments. You combine that mixture with water and run it through the system a few times.

When cleaning a tankless water heater, it’s important to cycle the cleaning mixture through the pipes for about an hour to remove as much debris as possible.

Check this article out here to gain a better understanding of what flushing a tankless is, along with how to do it yourself. *Hint: you can do it yourself!  


External Tankless Water Heater Maintenance

Now comes the overlooked part of tankless water heater maintenance: external maintenance. If you only focus on the internal maintenance of your tankless water, you could still have things clogging your tankless unit, including:

  • Bug infestations
  • Feathers/fur
  • Animal nests
  • Leaves
  • Dirt

These pesky things can either wiggle their way into your tankless unit or be blown in by the wind. What’s worse, is without the proper clean out, any debris that is in your tankless water heater will continue to accumulate and can cause breakdowns.

Other external components that are important to clean include:

  • Fan motor, fresh intake valve, and exhaust 
    • These parts should be cleaned with an air compressor to reduce energy waste.

  • Filters 
    • Filters should be cleaned out or replaced to keep the water heater protected from grime. 

  • Burner and assembly 
    • Both should be cleaned to make sure they’re working correctly.

  • Gas and manifold 
    • The gas and manifold on your tankless water heater should be checked during the maintenance to make sure they’re at stable pressures and working correctly.

  • Flame and ignition rods
    • Flame and ignition rods should be inspected and cleaned for proper levels and to ensure easy ignition.

Skipping these important things is like changing your car’s oil and never doing anything else to it. That car will not work forever, and neither will a water heater. So, always make sure you're getting external maintenance done. It takes at most 30 minutes, if not less, and can be done at the same time as the flushing.


Consider Your Tankless ‘Maintained’

Having maintenance performed on your tankless water heater at least once a year is key to getting the most out of your tankless water heater. We recommend that larger households or homes with hard water schedule their tankless maintenance every six months.

Lack of maintenance can cause early breakdowns and could shorten the lifespan of your tankless water heater. 

To further your knowledge of the tankless maintenance world, read this article here to learn more about how long tankless water heaters last. It will certainly save you the headache later, trust us.  

When it comes to tankless water heaters, Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Air wants to set you and your home up for success. If you live in the Los Angeles area and would like to schedule an appointment for tankless water heater maintenance, click the “Book” button below. Or if you have any other questions regarding tankless water heaters you can call us at 310-853-8690, and one of our call center representatives would be happy to help you.