During the winter season, a nice hot shower is a perfect cure to a long cold day. There’s nothing worse than when you go to take that shower and find the water is cold. Tankless water heaters are meant to heat water quickly, so you don’t face issues like running out of hot water. What does it mean if your tankless system doesn’t get hot?
At The Otter Guys, we get questions about winterizing tankless water heaters a lot. Here, we’ll share some information on why your water heater may not be working properly, and how you can fix it.
Signs Your Heater Isn’t Working
There are many ways to tell your tankless water heater isn’t working the way it should, or that your pipes have frozen, including:
- Cold water while you’re trying to run hot water
- Strange noises coming from pipes
- No water coming from pipes
If your tankless water heater isn’t warming water, don’t try and force it. Your pipes may need to thaw before you can safely use the system. We recommend speaking with a plumber about thawing pipes.
If it’s not a pipe problem, and strictly a tankless water heater problem, call your heating and cooling or plumbing experts to have somebody come take a look at the heater. There may be a reason, aside from winter frost, that keeps the tankless heater from operating the way it should. It’s always better to let a professional deal with your heater when possible to avoid breaking the system.
Freezing Weather Leads to Frozen Water
Extreme cold temperatures can cause problems for pipes and water heaters. A problem area for this type of weather is during the night when homeowners turn the heat down and aren’t regularly running water.
Tanks are also prone to freezing if the power goes out, or if you leave your home on an extended vacation.
For cabins and rental properties, especially, winterizing your tankless water heater is important. Many seasonal properties don’t see as many visits during the cold winter season. This leaves your pipes and heater to freeze while heat is off and plumbing isn’t being regularly used.
If you’re nervous about losing power or experiencing an icy winter night, you may want to invest in solenoid valves, which protect your tank from freezing. The valves work by draining the water from your tank if it loses power.
Winterizing Your Tankless Water Heater
Whether you’re going to be away for a particularly cold weekend, or your rental property doesn’t have a winter tenant this year, you can winterize your tankless heater to prevent it from freezing.
- Drain Your Heater: To begin winterizing, you should remove all residual liquid from the tankless heater before it has the chance to freeze. To do this, simply turn the water, gas and temperature control off. Ensure it is disconnected from your electrical system, put a bucket under the heater to catch water and remove the drain cap. Once you open the valves, take off the inlet filter and remove the drain plug it should drain into the bucket.
- Turn off Water Heater for Season: If you’re not home, you don’t need to leave your heater on. Follow the above steps and don’t return the gas or water to flow. Instead, leave everything disconnected so the heater can’t refill and freeze. Leave your heater until you’re ready to use it again.
- Turning Your Heater Back On: Plug the water drain, pump drain and condensate trap and put the valve drain plug and inlet filter back as well. Open cold and then hot water tapes and turn on your electric power to the heater. Turn on gas (make sure your temperature control is still off when you turn on gas). Once gas is on, turn on temperature control and you’re good to go!
Your Pipes and plumbing may also freeze when temperatures drop so low that tankless heaters stop running. To protect your plumbing, you can wrap pipes with insulation or heating cable. Heating cable is a particularly affordable option and protects up to minus 50 degrees Celsius.
If you’re unsure about how to protect or wrap external pipes, we recommend contacting a plumber for help.
Call Us Today to Learn More
The Otter Guys is a leading provider of tankless water installation here in Charlottesville, VA and the surrounding areas. Want to know more about The Otter Guys and our water heater services? Give us a call today to speak to a member of the team. We’re always happy to hear from new and returning customers.