If you've decided to replace your cumbersome hot water tank with an on-demand hot water system, you need to be prepared to take proper care of it. It's easy to overlook the needs of a tankless system because it's out of the way. If you want to be sure that you're getting the longest lifespan and the best results from your new tankless heater, here are a few things that you need to think about.
Understanding The System Capacity
When you choose a tankless water heater, you need to be sure that you have one large enough to meet your home's typical hot water demand. If you routinely shower, wash dishes and do laundry at the same time, you need a system that can keep up. If you inadvertently put too much demand on the tankless water heater, you may find that its attempts to keep up will cause the computer in the system to shut down. In that case, you'll have to work with a plumber to integrate an upgraded supply line for the natural gas. This helps the heater receive enough fuel to heat the water quickly and efficiently. Your plumber can check the existing lines and evaluate your water demand ahead of time to see if this might be a concern for you.
Compensating For Hard Water Problems
Before you install a tankless water heater, you need to know if you have hard water. You can have the water tested to determine this. Hard water is marked by the presence of excess mineral content in the water. Tankless water heaters are vulnerable to mineral deposits and the buildup of calcium inside the unit when exposed to hard water over a long period of time. This can lead to inefficiency and ultimately may cause a complete failure of the system. The best way to avoid the damage from hard water is to install a water softener in the plumbing line somewhere before your tankless water heater. You'll also want to flush the water heater with a vinegar solution every few months to eliminate any buildup.
Reducing The Corrosion Risk
Many homeowners incorrectly assume that on-demand water heaters are not vulnerable to corrosion because there's no standing water in the system like there is with water tanks. However, prolonged water flow can leave your on-demand water heater vulnerable to problems with corrosion, and those problems can actually interrupt the heater's fuel supply.
The heat exchanger can also suffer corrosion if it isn't installed correctly. An incorrect installation can expose the exchanger to moisture, which will cause the corrosion. You can avoid this problem by having your on-demand system installed by a plumber.
You'll also want to check the heater for any seeping moisture. Inspect it regularly so that you can address leaking seals right away. The more proactive you can be about moisture prevention, the longer your heater system will last.
Planning For System Inspections
While these are some of the best ways to avoid problems with your tankless water heater system, they aren't the only things you can do. One of the best methods to avoid water heater failure is through routine inspections by your local plumbing contractor. He or she can evaluate the condition of the heating unit, the fans, the burner and even the pressure switches. These are all vulnerable to wear and other problems, so annual or semiannual inspections can catch wear and other issues before they lead to complete failure.
If you want to eliminate the tank from your basement and replace it with a more streamlined hot water system, a tankless water heater is a great way to go. With these tips, you can keep the system working at its best and avoid some of the most common problems.
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