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Common Tankless Water Heater Problems

Have a tankless water heater? They can be a great investment for your home. Never again will you have to worry about not having enough hot water. If you want a few extra minutes in a hot shower, indulge.

But like every appliance in your home, tankless water heaters aren’t invincible. They wear down over time. The key is maintaining it in such a way that it has the longest life possible. That you’re not replacing your tankless water heater system before its time.

Problem #1: A blast of cold water

Just because tankless water heaters offer an unlimited supply of hot water doesn’t mean they produce instant hot water. Hot water still has to travel in pipes between your tankless water heater and the fixture. If your water heater is on one side of the house, and your shower is on the other, it may take a few moments to clear out the cooled water that sat in the pipes between. Keep in mind that if your family is moving through the shower routine, hot water can remain close to the shower, with cold water settling in between. If you jump right in, that few second blast of cold water after a few moments isn’t a signal of something wrong. It’s just the system playing catchup.

Problem #2: Mineral buildup

Whether you have a traditional tank or a tankless water heater, mineral buildup can occur. The two main culprits are calcium and magnesium. They create a scaly buildup inside the equipment that can have damaging effects if not addressed. To avoid problems, it’s important to flush the system every year or so. Some newer models even have sensors that can nudge you when it’s time for maintenance. A trained technician can help you with the process.

Problem #3: System overload

Tankless water heaters have limits to how much hot water they can produce at any given time. That’s why it’s important to work with your plumbing technician before installation to ensure you have the right size water heater for your home’s needs. If you’re doing several tasks at once that require hot water, and you notice it struggling to supply the right amount, it could be a sign it’s too small for the job. If this happens, you’ll want to reduce the demand for hot water at one time. If this happens repeatedly, it may be time to upgrade to a larger size, or install two tankless water heaters to take care of demand.

Your tankless water heater may also provide messages such as “no ignition” or “flame failure”. You can refer to your user manual that came with your tankless water heater to try and solve the problem. For example, a no ignition message means that the hot water heater is trying to light, but is unable to do so. It could be a problem related to the gas supply, or the venting of the equipment. It’s most often not a simple solution, and a trained plumber should be called in to assess the problem.

Not sure what’s wrong with your tankless water heater? We can help. Give us a call today.

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