tankless water heater stopped working

How to Clean a Tankless Water Heater: A Comprehensive Guide for DIY-ers

Our expert plumbers at PLMBRS.COM understand the importance of maintaining your tankless water heater to ensure its efficiency and longevity. Cleaning your tankless water heater is an essential part of that maintenance, and it’s a task you can perform yourself with some guidance. In this article, I’ll walk you through a step-by-step process to clean and maintain your tankless water heater, as well as discuss some common reasons why your heater may randomly stop working and how to resolve those issues.

Step-by-Step Process for Cleaning a Tankless Water Heater

  1. Turn off the power: Before you begin cleaning, it’s crucial to ensure your safety by turning off the power to the water heater. You can do this by switching off the circuit breaker or unplugging the unit.
  2. Close the water valves: Locate the hot and cold water valves connected to your tankless water heater and turn them off. This will prevent water from flowing through the unit during the cleaning process.
  3. Connect the hoses: You’ll need two hoses for this task – one for the flushing solution and one for the discharge. Connect one hose to the cold water service valve and the other to the hot water service valve.
  4. Prepare the flushing solution: Mix a vinegar-based solution or purchase a commercial descaling solution. Pour the solution into a 5-gallon bucket.
  5. Begin the flushing process: Turn on the submersible pump in the bucket to circulate the cleaning solution through the tankless water heater. Let it run for at least 45 minutes to an hour to remove any buildup and scale.
  6. Flush with clean water: After the flushing process is complete, disconnect the hoses from the service valves. Reconnect a hose to the cold water service valve and open the valve to flush out any remaining cleaning solution.
  7. Turn the water valves back on: Once you’ve flushed the unit with clean water, turn the hot and cold water valves back on to restore water flow.
  8. Restore power: Turn the power back on to your tankless water heater by flipping the circuit breaker or plugging the unit back in.
  9. Test the unit: Turn on a hot water faucet to ensure that the water heater is functioning correctly and that there are no leaks.

My Tankless Water Heater Randomly Stops Working

If your tankless water heater is randomly stopping, there could be several reasons:

  1. Mineral buildup: Over time, minerals in your water can accumulate inside the unit, reducing its efficiency and causing it to shut down. DIY Solution: Perform regular cleaning and descaling as described in the step-by-step process above.
  2. Air supply or venting issues: Your tankless water heater requires adequate airflow and venting to function properly. An obstruction or poor venting can cause the unit to shut down. DIY Solution: Inspect the air intake and exhaust vents for any obstructions, and make sure they’re correctly installed and meet the manufacturer’s specifications.
  3. Gas supply problems: If your tankless water heater is gas-powered, issues with the gas supply can cause the unit to stop working. DIY Solution: Check the gas valve to ensure it’s fully open, and inspect the gas line for any leaks or damage. If you suspect a gas leak, contact a professional immediately.
  4. Overheating: If the unit is overheating, it may shut down to protect itself from damage. DIY Solution: Check the temperature setting on your water heater and lower it if necessary. Additionally, ensure there is sufficient clearance around the unit for proper airflow.
  5. System error: If your tankless water heater has an error code or warning light, it may indicate a specific issue with the unit. DIY Solution: Consult your water heater’s owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for troubleshooting guides and recommended solutions based on the error code or warning light displayed. If you’re unable to resolve the issue yourself, contact a professional for assistance.

Quick View Summary:

  • Turn off the power and close water valves
  • Connect hoses to service valves
  • Prepare and circulate flushing solution
  • Flush with clean water
  • Turn water valves back on and restore power
  • Test the unit for proper operation
  • Address potential issues, such as mineral buildup, venting issues, gas supply problems, overheating, or system errors

What is Wrong With My Tankless Water Heater?

IssueDIY Solution
Mineral buildupPerform regular cleaning and descaling using the step-by-step process outlined above
Air supply/ventingInspect air intake and exhaust vents for obstructions and proper installation
Gas supply problemsCheck gas valve and gas line for proper function, leaks, or damage; contact a professional if needed
OverheatingLower temperature setting on water heater and ensure sufficient clearance for proper airflow
System errorRefer to owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website for troubleshooting based on error code/warning

By following the step-by-step cleaning processes outlined in this article, you can ensure the efficiency and longevity of your tankless water heater. In addition, being aware of common issues that can cause your water heater to randomly stop working and knowing how to address them can save you time and money in the long run.

Always consult your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for specific information and recommendations related to your tankless water heater model. And remember, if you’re ever unsure about a DIY repair or maintenance task, it’s best to contact a professional plumber for assistance.

Does this sound like too much for you, despite the power-DIY-er you are? Contact us and let us send one of our experts over to assess your trouble and fix it for you. And let’s face it – probably in about 20% of the time it would take you, not to mention our guarantees and quality assurance. Fill out the form on this page today and get some help!

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