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Tankless Water Heater Repairs

Written by  Wilfred Weihe

Practically everything requires proper maintenance to which, tankless water heaters is no exception. Provided proper maintenance is kept, these units, like all other products, are very unlikely to develop any kind of problems.

So you have just found the best tankless water heater for your home and you want to keep it in working order for as long as possible. To do that you will need to do some basic maintenance.

The maintenance of tankless water heaters is not a strenuous task, all you need to do is to follow these simple steps to get the job done:

  • Flush or drain out the tankless water heater on a regular basis, say after every 2-3 months
  • Keep a check on the water hardness
  • Clean out the water heater filters
Proper maintenance undoubtedly endows efficient and reliable service and besides, maintenance is a better option rather than paying the unwelcomed tariff.

There are numerous factors which can affect the working of a tankless water heater. If you experience a temperature drop of the water or no hot water at all, there could be some internal issues with your water heater.

The problems can arise owing to these internal and external factors:
  • Damage to the burner or heating element
  • Supply problem and improper venting
  • Scaling or deposition of minerals due to excess water hardness

Gas Tankless Water Heater Maintenance and Repair

Internal factors

Gas Tankless Water HeaterIn a gas tankless water heater, often the burner may get clogged. This could give rise to heat spots that can burn the heat exchanger and damage it.

If the heater is not producing flames correctly and you are experiencing a drop in the water temperature, you can either consult a plumber or repair it yourself by following these simple steps:
  1. Initially, shut off the water and gas supply
  2. Then remove the burner and clean out the apertures with the help of a small wire
  3. Replace the burner and turn on the water and gas supply
  4. Test the unit whether it is working good or not

External factors

External factors can also affect the working of a water heater like an insufficient gas supply to the heater. Improper venting can destroy the heat exchanger and cause gas leaks due to acidic condensation. Environmental issues like dust, grease or chemicals can also damage your tankless water heater unit. For avoiding such problems you can need to do as follows:
  • Proper venting by using the sealed stainless pipes approved for category III appliances
  • Check the manual for the gas line requirement. Make sure to opt for the size with maximum BTU (British Thermal Unit) rate
  • Heater installation must be in an unpolluted space i.e. a clean and hygienic place. If required, you should get a direct vent for the unit

Electric Tankless Water Heater Maintenance and Repair

For electric tankless water heater, the quality of water, required to be heated, must be relatively high. It runs water through small apertures and therefore, involves the risk of scaling inside these apertures.

Hard water often consists elevated levels of calcium and magnesium compounds, which increase the rate of scaling process.

Check your local water hardness level, if it exceeds 8 grains per gallon then you must install a water filter before installing an electric water heater unit.

Electric Tankless water heater maintenance

Your electric water heater unit needs to be flushed out in a regular fashion. If you are experiencing reduced water supply and temperature drop in hot water, it may be just a sign that you need to flush your water heating unit.

Opt For A PlumberFor doing so, you can either opt for a plumber or can do it yourself.

To do it yourself, you will require:
  • A small sump pumps or a submersible pump
  • 2 gallons of white vinegar
  • 2 hoses
  • A 5-gallon bucket
Once you’ve arranged all the above-mentioned requirements, simply follow these steps:
  1. Initially, shut off the circuit breaker or flip the disconnect switch in the sub panel. Remove the unit’s cover and turn off the inlet and outlet water valves. Then pull out the silver tab in the center of the pressure-relief valve to relieve the water pressure inside the heater
  2. Pour the vinegar into the 5-gallon bucket and place the sump pump or the submersible pump inside it. Run one hose from the sump pump to the heater’s water inlet and other from the pressure relief valve to the bucket
  3. Turn on the sump pump and allow it to rinse the water heater thoroughly with the vinegar for about 15-20 minutes. This will clean out the mineral scales deposited inside the water heater.
  4. Turn off the sump pump. Unscrew the housing for the inline filter and take out the screen filter. Clean it properly with some clean cloth and then put it back to its place
  5. Take out the pump and run it to eject any vinegar left in it. Take out all the vinegar from the bucket and fill it with clean water. Again put the sump pump in the bucket and repeat the procedure above to clean out the vinegar from the water heater
  6. Remove the pump and put back the cover and turn on the power as well as the water supply
  7. Finally, test whether it is working correctly or not
Note: If you’re unable to resolve the problem, kindly consult your unit’s maintenance service.

Electric Tankless Water Heater repair

In case you are experiencing a drop in the hot water temperature or doesn’t get any hot water at all, then you need to replace the heating element. You can either hire a plumber for the job or do it yourself.

Before trying to solve the problem, consult the instruction manual first.

It will help you locate the heating element and will also tell its specifications along with the do’s and dont’s.

Now, repair your tankless water heater unit by following these easy steps:
  1. Shut down the power supply by turning off the power from the control panel. With the help of a Multimeter check the circuit for any power supplyMultimeter
  2. Turn off the water supply to the heater. Once done, open the hot water faucet so that the water in the heater can be drained
  3. Remove the heating chamber plate from the unit’s underside. This will allow the water to drain out. Afterward, clean the plate and replace it with a new one
  4. Disconnect the wires in the heating unit which leads to the heating element of the unit
  5. Remove the old or damaged heating element with the help of an adjustable wrench. Wrap a rag around the heating element to ensure that water will drip only on the control board
  6. Install the new heating element with care and make sure the O-ring is properly seated
  7. Now, get the wires connected to the element. Make sure the connections are tight and are connected accordingly
  8. Check whether the control board is dry or not. In case some amount of the water is still present on the control board, dry it properly with the help of a hair dryer until there is no single trace of moisture on it
  9. Tightly screw the drain plug and check for any extra water spots around it and the heating element
  10. Turn on the water supply and check for leakage
  11. If everything is in order, then switch on the power supply
So, that was all about the tankless water heater repairs. Always remember whether it’s the gas tankless water heater or the electric variant, each unit requires an optimum level of maintenance.
Make sure that before you indulge into self-repairing the unit, go through the instruction manual to acknowledge about all the do’s and dont’s of the tankless water unit.

If after completing the manual repair job, the problem(s) still persists then get yourself some professional help. You can either consult a professional plumber or, the maintenance service of your unit.

All the best! ;)

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