“Should I Be Flushing a Tankless Hot Water Heater?” Kev in Folsom, CA Asks a Plumbing Expert

flushing a tankless hot water heaterKev in Folsom, CA is considering some DIY plumbing work but wants an expert take on whether he should actually tackle the project himself or not. Kev writes:

“I live out here in Folsom, and I’ve recently upgraded to a tankless hot water heater after taking some advice from your blog. The thing is, as far as maintenance goes, this is kind of a whole new world for me and I want to make sure I’m doing things right, from the start.

I used to flush the tank of my traditional hot water heater all the time before I made the switch to tankless. It feels odd not to have to do it anymore. That’s why I’m wondering, should I be flushing a tankless hot water heater? If so, how often would you suggest doing it? And what’s your take on whether or not I should go ahead and do it by myself?” – Kev in Folsom, CA

Ah Kev, I still remember what it was like when my own family made the switch over to a tankless hot water heater. As a plumbing professional, we were early adopters in my house, so I had some of your same concerns. You definitely aren’t the only homeowner with these questions.

Let’s discuss your question about whether or not you should be flushing a tankless hot water heater, as well as how often tankless models need maintenance compared to traditional ones, and, finally, whether or not it’s smart for Kev, and all you other homeowners out there, to DIY the maintenance. As I’ve talked about in the past, tankless water heaters are a great alternative to the traditional ones—but you do have to know how to take care of them!

Should I Be Flushing a Tankless Hot Water Heater?

should I flush a tankless hot water heater?The simple answer to Kev’s main question is that yes, of course, you should be flushing a tankless hot water heater. Even though this model heats water on demand rather than storing it in a big tank, most manufacturers of tankless hot water heaters do recommend that you flush it once a year. And I agree.

By flushing a tankless hot water heater, you eliminate any and all buildup of calcium and other minerals in the unit, which is always a concern no matter where you live, but especially important in Northern California where many households have hard water. Some tankless hot water heaters can be pretty complex but some models do offer an alert to let homeowners know when they need to be flushed.  

How Often Should a Tankless Hot Water Heater Be Flushed?

Tankless water heaters are generally easier to flush than traditional models. This usually only takes about an hour, whereas it can take considerably longer for tanked models.

Traditional models have tanks that are always filled with water. This means there are more opportunities for sediment to build up and cause a costly clog. A benefit of a tankless option is that you’ll need to flush your tankless water heaters much less often.

In our area, you are also eligible for California tax credits when you install a tankless model, which makes it a win-win for your tax and your energy bill.

This all connects to something that I’ve talked about quite a bit in the past: If you do your tankless water heater homework, it’s an absolutely great choice for your home, one that more often than not will be an energy-efficient improvement for your home. In our area, you are also eligible for California tax credits when you install a tankless model, which makes it a win-win for your tax and your energy bill.

Should I Flush My Tankless Water Heater Myself or Call the Pros?

The last little bit of advice that I think Kev wanted to know about was whether or not he should do the flush himself. The answer is that it really depends. As I mentioned above, there certainly are simplistic models of tankless water heaters that are very intuitive and easy to flush. However, this is not the case with every model; some are really tricky to deal with. In my experience, homeowners who set out to flush them on their own usually end up calling in an expert.

I recommend cutting out that middle step altogether and calling the plumbing professionals at Bell Brothers to take care of the flushing for you. It’s practically guaranteed to save you time and money. Our team of plumbing experts has years of experience working with tankless water heaters. We can make sure the job gets done well regardless of how complicated your individual model happens to be. Tankless water heaters are meant to be a convenience—don’t make them harder to maintain than they have to be!

Contact the plumbing professionals at Bell Brothers to learn more about your new tankless hot water, or to talk about upgrading to one in your home. We’ll offer recommendations that are sure to increase your year-round efficiency—and decrease your water bills.

Wondering how to finance a new HVAC system, windows, or plumbing project? HERO is a unique financing option that helps California homeowners afford energy efficient upgrades to their home. Contact Bell Brothers, a HERO-approved contractor, to learn more. Our local HVAC, plumbing, and window specialists will walk you through the entire process, from applications to installation.

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