Should You Worry About Scaling with Your Tankless Water Heater?
Increasingly, water heater repair technicians are recommending that a conventional hot water heater be replaced with a tankless water heater. These water heaters last longer, provide unlimited hot water, and can lower your energy bills. Tankless water heaters require fewer repairs, but your tankless hot water heater might be vulnerable to hard water.
1. What Is Hard Water?
When water is pure and relatively mineral-free, it is referred to as soft water. However, as the water is absorbed into the soil, it passes through rock and picks up minerals. As it passes through lakes, streams, and other bodies of water, it picks up more minerals. The more minerals that the water absorbs, the harder it becomes.
2. What Is Wrong with Hard Water and Scaling?
Hard water is not necessarily a health hazard and might contain trace minerals that your body needs, though these minerals are better consumed through food. However, hard water wrecks havoc on appliances, including your tankless water heater, by causing scaling.
Your tankless water heater will suffer from scaling based on the temperature, the type of hardness, and any change in pressure. The hotter the temperature, the more scaling that your hot water heater will experience.
Most of the minerals in a tankless hot water heater pass through so quickly that they will not contaminate the heat exchanger. However, scaling can build up on the heat exchanger with time. Your home needs the tankless water heater to be installed in a manner that allows for it to be cleaned.
3. What Should You Do?
Many tankless water heaters come with a sensor that can sense the scale building up. The water heater will then generate an error code that will indicate that you will need a chemical flush before you can put the tankless water heater back into service. However, this should only be performed by a tankless water heater repair technician. Performing the repair yourself is too dangerous and you might also damage the water heater.
One way to try to keep scaling from building up is to use a water heater flush kit. This kit connects to the tankless service valves. You can then run a water and vinegar solution that will allow you to clear out scale deposits. The pump comes with a screen that you can remove to easily clean.
Lowering the temperature on the hot water heater can also reduce scaling.