Heating water accounts for up to 30% of an average home’s energy budget. Some makers of gas-fired tankless water heaters claim their products can cut your energy costs up to half versus regular storage heaters. If you do go with this option, it will require some maintenance. Specifically, a tankless water heater can collect minerals that build up and erode the walls of your tank’s heating chamber over time. To accurately maintain and clean a tankless water heater, you should remove any mineral deposits from the inside of your tank at least once per year by flushing the tank. Read on to find out how to keep yours running smoothly and efficiently.

    1. Turn off the tankless water heater’s power source. Turn off the main gas or switch off the main circuit breaker.


    1. Turn off and close the three water valves connected to the tankless water heater. Doing so will prevent both cold water from entering the water heater and hot water from exiting while you are cleaning. The water valves are comprised of a cold water valve that is typically the color blue, while hot water valve is typically the color red. There is also a third, main valve that runs water into your home.


    1. Purge port valve caps should be removed very slowly. They are situated on each of the cold and hot water valves. Purge valves have small handles resembling a “T.” This process relieves pressure that has potentially built up from within the valves. This will also stop additional hot water from spraying out and possibly burning your skin.


    1. It is imperative that you make certain the hot water valve is fully and correctly shut off for safety purposes.


    1. You should expect some pressure when removing the purge port valve caps, so grip the caps cautiously to ensure that the rubber washers stay in position. These sealing discs are required for proper functioning of the valves.


    1. Attach hosing lines to each valve. If you were not provided with tankless water heater hosing lines, you can purchase them from a home repair store. The lines must be long enough to reach your water heater and a bucket.


  1. If you have questions, refer to the owner’s manual provided with the tankless water heater’s manufacturer or call the manufacturer for the specific instructions.

Occasionally, this process can require the use of a sump pump and connecting hoses to release and flush the water from your water heater by means of the cold and hot water valves. Remember, if you don’t feel comfortable performing this task, you can always schedule Fred.

Tim Smith writes for Modernize.