The Most Common Problems You Will Encounter with a Tankless Water Heater

The Most Common Problems You Will Encounter with a Tankless Water Heater
June 6, 2013 Lorelie
Tankless Water Heater

Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters are mostly known by many people to be more efficient than standard or traditional tank-type water heaters (which continuously use up energy in order to keep a big tank of water constantly hot).  Tankless water heaters immediately heat up the water on demand and as soon as you turn on the hot water faucet.

If you are considering having a tankless water heater in your home, then you should be aware that the newer versions or models nowadays usually contain advanced computer sensors and other electronics.  With these sensors and technological electronic components, your tankless water heater unit can easily let you know if it has certain kind of problems.  However, you also need to be aware that with these components, it would be more complicated to troubleshoot and repair it than older or simpler versions of water heaters.

Most manufacturers claim that a high-quality tankless water heater unit could potentially last for about 20 years, but of course, keep in mind that this is not always the case as it has to be properly maintained on a regular basis.

Below are some of the most common problems that you will encounter with a tankless water heater as well as some tips on how to solve them.

  • Demand Overload

If the hot water needed is a huge amount at one time, the tankless water heater might not be able to function well and thus fail on providing hot water to all those who needed it.  For instance, you might want to take a hot shower while at the same time someone is running the dishwasher and the washing machine too.  The water heater’s computer may simply shut off if in case it cannot obtain sufficient natural gas just to heat the water required in order to meet all your hot water demands.

If you wish to have a properly installed tankless water heater, you might have to expand or upgrade the natural gas line of your home.  This could be a necessity to ensure that your water heater is able to obtain enough gas to work properly, but be aware that this can be an additional expense to the installation fees.

  • Combustion Shutdown

Tankless water heaters must also be carefully vented in order to prevent other types of computer-induced shutdowns.  Water heaters tend to have a very hot exhaust, so this must be allowed to escape efficiently and quickly.  If there is a restriction in the venting system, then the computer might shut the water heater down.  One thing that can cause this kind of problem is that the venting tubes could either be very long or convoluted.

  • Corrosion

Tankless water heaters are less susceptible to corrosion than its tank-type counterpart.  However, if corrosion does happen to your tankless water heater, it can result to more serious problems.  For instance, condensation may likely drip onto the gas burner and it could cause more corrosion which can block the gas supply.

A heat exchanger that is installed properly will not become a troublesome factor in shortening the lifespan of the water heater.  However, if the heat exchanger is poorly installed, then it could possibly be damaged by corrosion.  When this happens, replacing the heat exchanger can be very costly for the homeowner.

  • Sediment Buildup

People who studied the economic benefits of tankless water heaters have come to a conclusion that it is not that as economic as the manufacturers claim it to be.  They have estimated that a typical homeowner will supposedly spend about 22 years trying to pay off a new water heater unit that will only last for a good 20 years or maybe even less.  They have also concluded that maintenance expenses with tankless water heaters can prove to be more expensive.  A model that they had tested revealed that it had scaly calcium buildup which had been formed due to hard water with a heavy mineral content.   This problem had been identified by an indicator light.

Calcium and other sediment buildup is a common problem in tankless water heaters that can potentially decrease its efficiency and it can prematurely damage or cause the water heater to break down.  This kind of problem will likely not be covered by a warranty.

If your residence has hard water, then you would have to use a water softener, put a scale filter and/or flush the water heater frequently with the use of a vinegar solution.  When doing these steps, always refer to the owner’s manual to make sure you won’t be causing other problems.  Although for some models of tankless water heaters, you would have to call for professional help.

Why People Still Like to Buy Tankless Water Heaters

Despite some problems that may occur with a tankless water heater, people still like to buy one or more for their home because there are many benefits that they can enjoy with it.  One known benefit that they like is that tankless water heaters give them a continuous source of hot water.  Also, the notion of not having a tank means that there is no standby energy being wasted.  Tankless water heaters are also known as on-demand water heaters due to the fact that they only begin heating up the water on demand.  Tankless water heaters may come as either whole-house units or point-of-use units (a series of tankless water heater units that are installed near each faucet or appliance that utilizes hot water).

The following are some factors that make a tankless water heater an ideal option for you:

  • If energy conservation is an extremely important thing for you.
  • If you are in the process of constructing a new home.
  • If you have a considerable or big amount of up-front budget.
  • If you have easy access to gas fuel.

If energy efficiency is one of your top concerns when it comes to water heaters, then it is a wise decision to get a tankless water heater unit to replace your old water heater or when you are constructing your new home.

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