Short answer: Not often!
There’s a lot of things we have to do annually, or even every few months. Dental appointments, replacing smoke alarm batteries, changing your car’s oil. Wouldn’t it be nice to have something that you knew you could rely on for more than a year without maintenance? A tankless water heater could well be one such product.
Many believe that a tankless water heater needs annual maintenance, but that is a myth. Eventually they need service, but it all depends on the hardness of your water supply.
Water hardness refers to the percentage of compounds, like calcium and magnesium, in the water. Each region of the United States has water with varying levels of hardness. Most areas here around Syracuse have low levels of those minerals. (See this water hardness map.)
Harder water, will make those mineral deposits grow more quickly. In a tank-type water heater, minerals collect on the bottom of the storage tank. With tankless, the scale is distributed throughout the system. If there is too much scale somewhere in the tankless water heater, the burner will be forced to work at a higher temperature to properly heat the water. Eventually, the water heater, if it comes with scale detection software, will provide an error message.
In an area with softer water, you might go four to five years without any maintenance.
If you do get an error message (or if it has been working fine for four years or longer) we recommend you give Around Town a call at 315 635-5515 and we’ll send over a qualified plumber to keep your tankless heater in good shape for several more years!