Tankless hot water heaters are relatively new and still not commonplace. If you are experiencing a lack of hot water, strange sounds, or are wondering about flickering lights on the unit, you cannot just call and ask your neighbour or a friend because they have a traditional hot water heater with a storage tank. Here are a few things you should know about your unit that will keep the hot water flowing and stop you from worrying there might be a problem.
What to Do When You Get No Hot Water
Since the unit is probably fairly new, it is unlikely that it has quit working. Check to see that the standby light is on. If it isn't, the unit is not getting electricity to power it. Make sure that the plug is tight in the outlet and then check the circuit breaker. If everything seems to be good, try plugging something else into the outlet to see if it works. A lack of electricity is most likely the problem. If not, the unit could be bad and need replacing; hopefully it is still under warranty.
If the standby light is on, but the other lights do not come on when you run the hot water, a heating element could be bad. Contact a repair company such as Wallace Plumbing, Inc to come and replace it. This too should still be under warranty.
What to Do When You Hear Clicking Noises
As water rushes into the heater, it opens a flow valve internally. The valve then closes when there is no demand for hot water. This valve makes a clicking noise. If you do not hear it, do not think there is a problem. It is common to become accustomed to the noise and automatically ignore it. In addition, most people never notice the sound, especially if you have a whole house unit and it is in the garage. As long as you have hot water, hearing the click or not is not important.
What to Do if You See Flickering Lights when no Hot Water is Running
When there is no water running in your home, the pipes going past the water heater are full, waiting for someone to open a faucet. This can put a bit or pressure on the flow valve in the heater. When someone turns on the cold water, it relieves the pressure on the valve so the unit thinks the demand was changed. This causes the lights to briefly flicker even though no hot water was needed.
What to Do If You're Not Receiving Enough Hot Water
If you find that suddenly you are running out of hot water to fill the bathtub, it is because the demand is too great for the unit to keep up with. This could be because there are other appliances or faucets in the house that are using hot water at the time, or because you have the faucet too open. The simple fix for this is to slow down the flow rate for the bathtub. While it might take a bit longer for the tub to fill, it will be at the right temperature.
A tankless hot water heater is more energy efficient than a regular heater because it does not need to keep heating water that is in storage. As long as you have a unit that is rated for enough flow for your home you should never have to worry about having hot water when you need it. The most important thing to be aware of is how much hot water is being used at one time. Adjust the flow slightly, and everyone will be happy.