Did you know that more than nine million water heaters get sold in North America each year? Most are traditional tank heaters, but the tankless type is gaining traction, too. So much so that experts forecast the tankless water heater market to grow by 7% from 2020 to 2026. Tankless water heaters are becoming more popular for their energy efficiency. So long as installed under the right conditions, they can cut water heating costs by around 10% to 24%. Still, there are several tankless water heater issues you need to know if you plan to buy such a system. We listed the most common ones in this guide, so be sure to read on.
Water Temperature Fluctuations
Since tankless water heaters don’t have storage tanks, they heat the water on the go. They only heat the water when you run a hot water tap, hence the nickname “instantaneous heaters.” As such, they don’t experience standby heat losses, which, in tanked heaters, is a big problem.
However, it’s also because they heat the water on demand that they may not produce enough hot water at times. This often occurs when the hot water demand exceeds the tankless heater’s flow rates.
One example is when several people run multiple hot water taps simultaneously. In this case, the water passes through the unit’s heating element faster than it can heat the water. As a result, the water temperature can go from hot to tepid, or sometimes even cold.
You can prevent such water heater woes by hiring tankless water heater professionals. These experts will determine the system size that’s best for your household’s needs. For instance, if you have a big household, you can either get two heaters or at least one large system.
Not producing hot water at all is another of the most common tankless water heater issues. As with water temperature fluctuations, this can occur if other hot water taps are already in use. It’s typical for the water fixture that gets switched on the last to produce tepid water.
If this problem occurs even if you only run one tap at a time, the culprit may be the thermostat. Check the thermostat as someone may have only lowered its setting. If so, bring it back to at least 120 ºF, which the Department of Energy says is safe for most folks.
If the thermostat isn’t the cause of your hot water woes, you may be dealing with limescale. Limescale consists of hardened dissolved minerals, such as calcium carbonate (CaCO3). It can form on heater components if the unit has to heat hard water.
It’s one of the most common problems with tankless water heaters, as about 90% of US households get hard water. The harder the water is, the faster that limescale can build up on plumbing structures. A water softener can often resolve tankless water heater issues caused by hard water.
Don’t Let These Tankless Water Heater Issues Heat You Up
As you can see, the most common tankless water heater issues are similar to those of tanked heaters. Despite that, tankless heaters are still more energy-efficient, provided they get installed right. Plus, they can last up to 20 years with proper maintenance, whereas storage heaters can only last up to 15 years.
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