If you've opted for a tankless water heater in your house, it's important that you keep up with the routine maintenance required to keep it clean and functioning at its best. Here are some tips for cleaning and caring for your on-demand water system to get rid of contaminants.

Clean the Inlet Screen

Shut down the water flow to the heater, and turn the heater itself off. Then, disconnect the inlet tube to get access to the screen on the inside of the inlet. Remove the screen and rinse it thoroughly to clean any debris off it.

Flush the Heater

While the system is shut down and cooled, close the main water valves on both the cold and hot water lines. This will prevent any inbound water into the heater. Then, open the drain covers on each of the purge port valves. You'll know these valves by the small "T" shaped handles.

Attach the hose from the outlet port on the hot water line to a drain bucket. Then, do the same on the inlet line with another drain bucket full of vinegar. With the hoses in place, start the water pump on the heater. It draws the vinegar in through the cold water line and out the hot water line, flushing it through the heater.

How Long Do You Let it Run?

The actual period for flushing will vary based on the condition of the water heater. Run it repeatedly until the vinegar coming out of the hot water line is clear. That tells you that the system is clean and free of particles and debris inside the pump.

Flush Out the Vinegar

Once the vinegar is running clear, you'll need to flush out the residual vinegar from the pump. The best way to do this is to run two or three buckets of clean water through in the same manner as you did with the vinegar. You'll know it's flushed out when you don't smell vinegar in the water coming out the hot water line anymore.

Depending on the condition of the system, you may need more water to flush it. Since vinegar isn't toxic, it won't hurt your shower water or laundry water if there's some residue left in it.

This process will help you keep your hot water heater free of bacteria and debris. If you are uncertain about the needs of your tankless hot water heater or you believe that there may be a problem in the system, you should call a plumber who specializes in on-demand water heater repair.