how to clean tankless water heater

How to clean tankless water heater step-by-step

Today I want to have a closer look at tankless water heaters. Usually this type of water heater is more popular because of its price, which is relatively lower, and the fact that they need far less space compared to other types of heaters.

If you already own a tankless water heater, you should know some tips on how to take proper care of it. This includes regular cleanings, and it doesn’t matter whether its an electric or gas model.

Below I’ll share my thoughts on how to flush tankless water heaters effectively and keep them safe.

Tankless water heater maintenance: Getting rid from Scale Buildup

how to clean tankless water heater
how to clean tankless water heater

If you ever used any kind of water heaters you probably know about the issue called sediment. It is crucial to eliminate it from time to time in order to keep the water heater in perfectly working condition. Usually, it appears because of the minerals that can be found in hard water. These minerals cause the limescale buildup. Why is that so bad? Well, mostly because buildup can cause serious damages in the water heater, which can lead to maintaining expenses. And if we’re talking about water heaters with water tanks, there is a huge risk of exposure.

The most sensitive part in the water heater is a heat exchanger, it can be affected most of all by the buildup. As this part is responsible for providing hot water, and build-up makes the whole working process much harder. If you don’t control the condition of the exchanger you might experience a significant rise in the bill costs and at some point, it can break down.

How to flush a tankless water heater and how often should you do this?

If we’re talking about preventing any build-up issues, the most effective thing you can do is to flush the water heater regularly. Even once a year is more than enough for the thermostat to work perfectly well.

But, you always have to keep in mind that the hardness of the water is a big deal. So if you know, that the water in your neighborhood leaves much to be desired then you might consider doing 2-3 flushes per year. Another option is to start using a water softening liquids to raise water quality.

How to manage Isolation Valves while doing tankless water heater cleaning

how to clean tankless water heater
how to clean tankless water heater

The primary step is to isolate valves. Basically, we’re doing this to stop the supply of the gas or water through the pipe without the need to stop the whole gas or water flow.

Isolating Valves is also known as a shut-off valve. This is a really widespread technology. For example, you can find isolating Valves in your bathrooms or at any place in your house where you see water or gas pipes. It is done to make our life easier, and in case of some sort of break down, you can easily access the place you need to fix without cutting down the whole house.

If we have a closer look at valves, we can say that they can look very different, due to the manufacturer’s design. Although, there are 2 major groups: rotary movement ( they look like a butterfly or a ball), another type is a linear valve.

Unfortunately, in some cases, manufacturers don’t install the valve when you purchase a water heater, another issue that some technicians don’t bother to do this either when installing the water heater.  So first of all you have to make sure the isolating valve is installed with your water heater.

If you check your water heater, and you don’t find an isolating valve, I insist that you have to stop and solve this issue as soon as possible. And I’m pretty serious about it, this is your safety we’re talking about.The most effective solution would be to call a technician to install the valve and show you how to flush the water heater meanwhile.

Are Flush Kits and Pumps necessary for cleaning tankless water heaters?

how to clean tankless water heater
how to clean tankless water heater

When you are ready to perform flushing I strongly recommend obtaining a submersible pump. If we’re talking about tankless water heaters, their main advantage of the pump is that it will save you lots of time, because we don’t need big amounts of water to get the sediment out. But if you decide to flush it manually you will spend hours.

To perform flushing, get yourself a huge bucket, where you will put a submersible pipe. ( basically, we’re doing this because we cannot use drainage as in flushing water heaters with tank.

Also, there is one more option, if you don’t want to bother you can easily purchase a flush kit. Why is it so good? Because you can find there all things you will need during the flushing. There would be no need to spend extra time in the shop looking for all the essential things. Plus if you think to do the flushings quite often, it quite a good idea to have such a kit at home.

If you need some recommendations, I would advise to get yourself  tankless water heater flush kit home depot, which is called My PlumbingStuff, this kit has everything you might need, plus it is eco friendly and shows great results when performing the cleaning.

How to Flush a Gas Tankless Water Heater

The first step is to carefully read the heater manual. This is really important, as you can find there some essentials about flushing and descaling the water heater. When we’re talking about the tankless water heaters, there ate 3 major market leaders, these are: Rinnai, Rheem, and Noritz. To make the flushing process easier, I’ve prepared some guidelines. These tips are relevant to all tankless water heaters.

Ger ready (descale tankless water heater)

  1. Take the water heater plug off, this is essential. We’re talking about your safety
  2. Make sure that there is no electricity or power left in the heater, to do so use a special tool called non-contact voltage tester. And again, we’re doing this to protect yourself.
    3. Make sure the gas seclusion is off.
    4. Make sure the water is not circulating in your house during the working period. To do so, just shut off the water supply in your basement.
    5. Read the manual, it will help you to locate the hot water valve, you have to make sure the hot water pipe is opened to launch any pressure.
  3. Now you have to link cold water and hot water ports.
    7. Now it’s time to get your submersible pump and install it right to a huge bucket.
  4. Take a cold water pipe and attach it to the submersible pipe.
    9. Don’t forget to insert the hot water pipe to the bucket.
    10. Now fill the four-gallon bucket with vinegar ( I prefer the white vinegar, I find it is most effective)

    how to clean tankless water heater
    how to clean tankless water heater

How to flush effectively?
1. At this point, the submersion pipe has to be on and hot and cold water pipes are off.

Now your task is to be patient and make sure the water heater works for at least 1 hr pumping the vinegar. This is the minimum time the water heater needs to work to eliminate the build-up

2. Now make sure the pump is off , and wipe the excess vinegar.
3. At this step, you have to turn off the cold water and also don’t forget to take the attached hose pipe off.
4. Now your task is to flush all traces of vinegar by opening the cold water isolation valve and let the water go for at least 15 minutes through the second tube into your pail

5. Now the cold water isolate valve has to be shut off.
6. It is time to get rid of the 2nd hose, then make sure the water stops pumping  8. Close the hot water service port.
7. Now. If there are inlet filters ( either cold or hot water), it is time to take them off.
8. At this point, you have to take them to the bathroom, and clean from all the remaining sediment, that could be left in the small holes.

Do the cleaning
1. Now your task is to attach the filters and make sure you open the isolation valve (for both, hot and cold water)

2. Work on the access to the panel, it has to be gained

3. As soon as you complete the previous steps, you can turn on the gas.
4. And the last step is to turn the electricity on.

Some tips on how to  Flush an Electric Tankless Water Heater.

how to clean tankless water heater
how to clean tankless water heater

Here is just a small reminder. No matter what kind of water heater you have it is essential to perform regular flushes from time to time if you want to keep your tankless water heater work look as new for ages. An electric water heater is not an exception. If we’re talking about electric water heating models, the process of flushing is slightly different Many experts find Navien models being much easier to maintain, while  Takagi models sometimes require extra attention to place the water control shutoff correctly.
The whole process of flushing can be divided in 3 easy steps

Ger ready (descaling tankless water heater)

1. As we always do at the beginning of any manipulation with electronics- we make sure the power is off.
2. Now make sure you turned the cold water off.
3. Now our task is to get all remaining water to come out from the heating system, to do so just turn the water on, and let it come out from the tap.

4. As you have probably guessed now, we’re turning off the hot

5. Make sure that there is no electricity or power left in the heater, to do so use a special tool called non-contact voltage tester. And again, we’re doing this to protect yourself.

6. Get rid of the screws which secure the cables to the burner.

7. Loosen up the hexagonal brass top of the heating element in a counter-clockwise direction to eliminate the burner.
8. Inspect the heating elements for any indicators of damages. A split element ought to be quickly replaced.
9. Store the burner in the cooper chambers of the heating system to make sure that they can also be cleaned up.
How to flush effectively?
1. Fill the cooper chambers with unmixed virgin food-grade white vinegar.
2. Allow the vinegar to being in the chamber for 90 minutes to 2 hrs. This will certainly separate any type of scale on the components.
3. Drain pipes the vinegar.
4. Change the burner as well as re-secure the wires.
5. Open the cold water shut-off valve and allow the storage tank to fill.
6. Analyze the tank for any type of indicators of leaks (the paper towel examination work marvels here).
7. Open the hot water shut-off shutoff.
8. Activate a number of hot water faucets and allow the water to compete around five minutes to flush out the vinegar and also clear any kind of air pockets from the line.
Do the cleaning
1. Shut off all hot water faucets.
2. Shut the cold water shut-off shutoff.
3. Eliminate the cold water inlet filter as well as flush it under a cold tap to get rid of any kind of particles.
4. Change the filter safely.
5. Shut the access panel as well as bring back power at the breaker.

As you see, the whole process of cleaning is quite easy. Some steps might take more time when you’re performing the cleaning for the first time. But believe me, once you’ve done the whole procedure once you will feel much more confident about this next time. If you have doubts, whether you should do this at all. Well, I like to think that this is a small investment, that will help me to save a good amount of money on maintenance and lower the utility bills.