Tankless water heaters are becoming increasingly popular due to their efficiency, cost-saving benefits, and ability to provide hot water on demand. However, like all household appliances, they require regular maintenance and repair to continue operating at peak performance. As a homeowner, it’s essential to know the common issues that can arise with your tankless water heater. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about tankless water heater repair and maintenance including common problems and preventative measures to keep your unit running smoothly for years.
Common Tankless Water Heater Issues
Typically, tankless water heaters run on electricity or natural gas. Electric units can fail due to issues with their heating elements. In many cases, replacing a faulty heating element is all that’s needed to get a water heater working again. To make sure the heating element is the only broken component, a water heater repair professional will inspect the circuit breaker, the thermostat, and any additional wiring. If nothing else is broken, your plumber can replace the damaged heating element and restore hot water to your home.
Blocked Exhaust Pipes
The exhaust pipe is responsible for removing the byproducts of combustion, such as carbon monoxide, from the unit and venting them outside. If the exhaust pipe becomes clogged, it can cause a backup of these gases, leading to a potential safety hazard.
This issue can be caused by various factors, such as buildup inside the pipe, a blockage caused by animals or birds, or a problem with the venting system. Signs of a clogged exhaust pipe include a noticeable odor from the unit, a yellow or flickering flame, or the unit shutting down unexpectedly.
If you suspect your tankless water heater’s exhaust pipe is clogged, contacting a water heater repair professional is essential. They can inspect the unit, diagnose the problem, and fix it.
Is your water soft or hard? If it’s hard, you may need a water heater repair expert sooner than expected. Tankless water heaters, like conventional ones, lose efficiency due to silt and scale buildup. Mineral deposits have been known to eat away at the tank of traditional water heaters. Although tankless water heaters don’t have tanks that can be corroded, these corrosive chemicals can build up on heating elements and other equipment, leading to failure or malfunction. If you have a tankless water heater and your home uses hard water, you may want to have a plumber check it out after some time to ensure sediment is not accumulating on the heating elements.
“No Ignition” Message
Two possible explanations exist if the warning “no ignition” appears on the heater display. There’s either insufficient gas or the water and gas shutoff valves are locked. Both of these can stop the flame from igniting. You should call a water heater repair professional to diagnose and fix the issue.
The Water Has a Weird Taste or Smell
Iron buildup in a tankless water heater can cause water to have a metallic or otherwise unpleasant flavor. An iron-rich water supply is unhealthy, so if you notice a change in taste or smell, it’s time to call a water heater repair expert. They will let you know whether the issue is with the water supply or the heater itself.
The Water Heater Isn’t Turning On
It can be very annoying when your tankless water heater doesn’t heat the water when you turn on the tap, regardless of how long you’ve had it running. The problem may stem from the fuel source. A fuel source is required to ignite the system and heat the water. First, make sure that there is not a blown fuse by inspecting the breaker box. In the case of a gas heater, ensure the heater is turned on and has gas. If none is the problem, you must contact a plumber to diagnose and fix the issue.
Tankless Water Heater Maintenance Tips
Flush the System
Lime and calcium deposits can form inside the tankless system even with the inline water filter. A yearly descale and flush is recommended if hard water is present. If your home has soft water or a water softener, you can flush the system every three to five years.
You can use white vinegar or a professional descaling solution to eliminate the scale. The vinegar must be cycled through the system for at least 45 minutes using a submersible pump. Following descaling, you can flush the system with clean water by hooking a garden hose to the hot side service valve.
Alternatively, you can call a water heater service to flush the system for you and inspect the entire system to ensure everything is okay.
Clean the Water Line Filter
A water line filter protects your tankless water heater from silt, scale, and hard water. These impurities can accumulate in the water heater and affect it, but they can also spread throughout the rest of your plumbing system, affecting your faucets, showerheads, and washing machine.
Some filters can be washed and reused, while others must be replaced after a specific time. Read the manual to ensure you’re giving your tankless water heater the necessary care. A water heater repair expert can install a water filter in your tankless water heater if it does not have a built-in one.
Clean the Air Filter
Some gas water heaters also have a filter between the intake pipe and the fan. Airflow is impaired if dirt, insects, and other debris accumulate in this filter over time. You may also get a warning or have some electrical problems. Thankfully, cleaning the air filter is a simple and fast process. Make sure you check the manual.
If you’re unsure how to do this, you need to contact a water heater repair service to avoid damaging your unit.
Regularly wipe off the device’s exterior with a rag and nonabrasive cleanser to keep it from rusting. This is of utmost importance in coastal places, where salt buildup can corrode metal and cause damage. If necessary, touch up the paint.
Contact bluefrog Plumbing + Drain + HVAC of San Antonio and Keep Your Hot Water Flowing!
Regular maintenance and repair are crucial to keeping your tankless water heater running efficiently. By understanding the common issues that can arise and taking preventative measures, you can avoid costly repairs and extend the life of your unit. However, when in doubt about how to care for your unit, you should call a professional to ensure everything is done correctly.
At bluefrog Plumbing + Drain + HVAC of San Antonio, we offer expert tankless water heater repair services to Universal City residents. Contact us today to schedule a repair and ensure your tankless water heater works at its best!
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