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ericadami 11-23-2008 07:02 PM

tankless water heater maintenance
Got a rinnai tankless water heater installed last year when we had a gas line brought inside the house and so far so good. It freed up a ton of space in our tiny house as we located it in our attic, and our electric bills have dropped substantially. Also we have many house guests and we never run out of hot water.

However, I have read about many people having trouble with tankless heaters, and wondered what tips, in addition to the manufacturer recommended annual vinegar flush anybody might recommend to keep this running clean and for a long time. I'd hate to have troubles down the road I could have prevented.

majakdragon 11-23-2008 10:41 PM

I have heard nothing but good things about the Rinnai heaters. If that is all the instructions mentioned to do, that should be all you need. Hard water is a tankless heaters worst enemy since they contain small tubing to do what they do. Many Plumbers that install them, do not do maintenance on them since the technology is "state of the art". You chance ruining any warranty you have by going further than recommended.

ericadami 11-23-2008 11:24 PM

Yeah I am really happy with the Rinnai, its been good. I'm keeping up with manufacturer maintenance. It's just a little new to me still and I want to make sure to treat it right. I understand we don't have particularly hard water here. Would a whole-house water filter help to reduce scale from the supply line on the way in the house? If it extends the life of the water heater I would install that for sure.

Mike Swearingen 11-24-2008 07:33 AM

Calcium and magnesium in the water supply make for hard water scale, and a good water softener will remove both (not just a filter).

majakdragon 11-24-2008 10:43 AM

I am guessing that you are on "City" water. If it is not considered "hard water" you may just want a filter. While the water is pretty clean when it leaves the water plant, it can pick up things in the pipes on the way to your service line. This can also happen when line repairs are made by the City and "junk" in the lines break loose when the lines are pressured back up.

ericadami 11-24-2008 01:04 PM

Interesting. I do like the idea of catching any solids that come through the supply lines with a filter before they can reach the coils in the water heater. The recommended vinegar scale flush definatley yielded quite a bit of murky whitish/greyish scale, and I had to give the water filter a good scrub to get rid of the small amount of scale it had accumulated, though it wasn't nearly obstructed.

ericadami 11-24-2008 01:04 PM

And yes we are on city water.

majakdragon 11-24-2008 01:31 PM

There are some things that you can do overkill on. Protecting a high cost investment is not one of them. Besides needing the heater repaired, you would also be without hot water for a period of time. I am sure the filter and a bit of maintenance on it is still cheaper and easier than replacing the heater.

gregsauls 11-24-2008 01:42 PM

We installed a Rinnai R75lsi back in August and have been very pleased with it. On the front of it I put a sticker that says "Next service Aug '09" as a reminder to do the "vinegar flush". At the same time I will clean the small inlet filter after the flush. We are on city water and I don't anticipate any problems from our water in regards to the life of our water heater. When I installed it, the 40 year old existing copper pipes were very clean on both the hot and cold sides.


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