Living in Stillwater, Oklahoma, you know all about the harsh realities of winter. But what if your tankless hot water supply decides to take a snow day just when you need it most?
Hard water loves to play tricks on your tankless water heater. These sneaky minerals, like calcium and magnesium, leave behind a scaly residue that can clog up the system.
By understanding the unique challenges of hard water and taking proactive steps for tankless water heater maintenance, you can keep your hot water flowing all winter. It’s all here in this article.
The Hidden Enemy of Your Tankless Water Heater
Have you noticed that your water sometimes feels rough on your skin and leaves a film on your dishes? That’s hard water at work! Other than the most obvious effects, what does hard water mean?
Hard water means water that has high levels of minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium. These minerals might sound harmless, but when they accumulate inside a tankless water heater, they can cause big problems.
Think of hard water minerals as miniature builders, constantly constructing a scale layer on the heating elements inside your tankless water heater. This scale acts like a thick blanket, making it harder to heat the water efficiently.
The more scale accumulates, the harder your tankless water heater has to work to heat the water. This can strain the system and eventually lead to breakdowns, leaving you without hot water when you need it most.
The Double Trouble of Hard Water and Cold Weather
You bundle up in layers when the temperature drops. Your tankless water heater may need extra protection during winter, too. That’s because hard water problems become even more pronounced in cold weather.
Here’s what happens:
Increased Hot Water Usage
We all crave hot showers and baths to combat the winter chill. This increased demand for hot water means your tankless water heater works harder, making it even more susceptible to scale buildup.
Lower Water Temperatures
As the air gets colder, so does the incoming water temperature. This colder water creates a perfect environment for minerals in hard water to crystallize and form scale more easily.
Hard water deposits can restrict water flow, further decreasing the temperature of the water flowing through your system. Combined with freezing temperatures, the scaly buildup can lead to frozen pipes.
Hard water can damage your plumbing system and leave you without water. By implementing the maintenance tips we’ll discuss next, you can ensure your tankless water heater delivers all winter.
How to Extend a Tankless Water Heater Lifespan
Now that you understand how hard water threatens tankless water heaters, you can learn how to fight back. Here are some essential maintenance tips designed to keep your tankless water heater performing flawlessly all winter long:
Depending on the hardness of your water in Stillwater, you should have your system flushed annually or every six months. Flushing a tankless water heater involves pumping a cleaning solution through the system to remove accumulated scale buildup.
Investing in a water softener or pre-filter helps shield your water heater from the impact of hard water.
Pre-filters remove minerals from your water before it reaches your tankless water heater, preventing scale buildup in the first place. A sediment filter is another solution that removes dirt and debris from the water, preventing them from contributing to scale formation.
Choosing the right filter depends on water quality. Consult a qualified local plumber for guidance.
What About Monitoring Water Pressure?
Water pressure is like the heartbeat of your plumbing system. A significant drop in water pressure could be a sign of scale buildup.
You may need to have the system flushed. You might need filter maintenance. A plumbing services business can take care of both.
Addressing these issues early on prevents further problems and keeps your hot water flowing freely. By monitoring water pressure, you can also avoid the need for plumbing repair.
Winterization for Tankless Water Heaters
Before winter’s grip tightens, do a quick online search for a plumber near me. Once you locate a qualified Stillwater plumber, schedule a maintenance appointment.
As we’ve already discussed, hard water minerals love to accumulate inside your tankless water heater. The scale buildup reduces efficiency and can lead to breakdowns. Regular flushing, ideally performed by a professional before winter, removes this buildup.
Another winterization technique you can use is insulating exposed pipes. Identify any exposed pipes leading to or from your tankless water heater. Wrap them securely with insulation materials like foam or pipe sleeves.
Your tankless water heater has a minimum water temperature setting. Consult the user manual and adjust the temperature slightly higher for winter. This ensures the water stays above freezing, preventing frozen pipes.
DIY vs. Professional Tankless Water Heater Maintenance
While DIY maintenance can be tempting for budget-conscious homeowners, it’s crucial to weigh the risks and benefits before tackling your tankless water heater yourself. Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:
The biggest advantage of DIY maintenance is that it’s cost-effective. You can save money on labor costs by performing basic tasks yourself.
One disadvantage of DIY water heater maintenance is that you can’t go beyond basic tasks like cleaning and checking filters. You can also damage the system if you don’t do maintenance correctly. DIY maintenance can void your warranty.
Finally, dealing with gas lines and electrical components requires specialized knowledge and safety precautions.
Trained and certified plumbers have the knowledge and tools to take care of maintenance, but they can also diagnose and repair any issues. Regular professional maintenance ensures your tankless water heater lasts longer and gives you optimal performance.
The only disadvantage most homeowners mention when hiring a plumber is finding one that they trust to do the job.
Schedule Tankless Water Heater Maintenance Today
Follow these tips and partner with a company that offers professional plumbing services. It’s the best way to ensure that your tankless water heater can withstand even the most brutal Oklahoma winter.
Advantage Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling has served the Stillwater community for 50 years. We’re experts in all things HVAC, including tankless water heater maintenance.
Don’t wait until the cold arrives to address potential issues caused by hard water. Reach out today to schedule service.