When installing a tankless water heater, the installers must follow best practices in terms of proper venting, gas piping, water pipe connections, minimum flow rates and right-sizing the unit. The installer may compromise all of these steps when installing a tankless water heater, if he or she doesn’t also take hard-water factors into consideration.
Hard water greatly affects the performance and life span of a tankless water heater. Excessively hard water, like the water in the Calgary area, causes scale to build up in the system. Further, aside from its hardness, the water is also acidic, which eats away at the brass or copper components in the tankless water heater.
Here’s what happens when hard water flows through the system:
- The water contains particles that dissolve, which remain suspended in the water.
- Over time, these particles build up on components in the system, either in the form of lime or calcium buildup.
- Eventually, the buildup causes the heat exchanger to overheat.
- Most units will “lock” the system, and it won’t operate at all.
It’s possible to simply reset the tankless water heater when this happens, but it won’t resolve the problem. You’ll need to call in an expert to evaluate the condition of the system and run a solution through the unit to remove scale buildup.
While regular maintenance helps with keeping the system free of scale and sediment buildup, failing to address hard-water concerns will result in a shorter life span for the system, increased energy bills and more frequent repairs. Without a water-softening system, hard water will eventually wreak havoc on the tankless water heater, leading to:
- Decreased system efficiency
- Deteriorating components
- Leaks in the system
Homeowners can largely bypass these concerns by installing a water-softening system in their homes. The water softener not only helps the tankless system to last longer and perform, but it also addresses the effects of hard water on the plumbing system itself.
Arpi’s Industries has served greater Calgary homeowners since 1963. Contact us to learn more about installing a tankless water heater, or to explore solutions to hard water.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about tankless water heaters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. Image courtesy of Shutterstock