Common Problems with a Tankless Hot Water Heater

Tankless, on-demand water heaters’ maintenance requirements are based on the same differentials as conventional, storage tanks. Maintenance depends on your water heater’s age, water hardness, and use. We’ve reviewed the many benefits of electric tankless water heaters vs. gas, but what are some common problems of tankless units? Before you buy, you need to know.

4 On-Demand (Tankless) Water Heater Problems

Colorado journalist and DIYer (do-it-yourselfer) Steve Graham tells us upgrading to a tankless water heater is like upgrading to a new car. You get more whistles and bells, but all those new-and-improved electronics can pose additional complications. With good maintenance,


tankless water heaters should last 20 years. But problems can include:

  1. Combustion shutdown – Tankless water heaters have very hot exhaust that should be vented quickly and easily. If your venting tubes are too long, venting may be restricted and the computer might shut down.
  2. Corrosion – The good news is, tankless water heaters are less like to corrode than tank-types. The bad news is, if your water heater wasn’t properly installed, the heat exchanger could be vulnerable to corrosion. The replacement is usually expensive.
  3. Demand overload – If you’re running the dishwater, washing clothes, and showering all at the same time, your natural gas tankless water heater’s computer may fail.
  4. Mineral buildup – Hard water that is mineral-heavy can decrease efficiency and damage or even break the water heater. Most warranties won’t cover that type of repair.

Code 3!

No, you don’t need to put lights and sirens on your police car, but you do need to grab your tankless water heater owner’s manual. Technology allows these appliances to diagnose their problems, but instead of using words, they use codes. Two common codes include Code 11 (ignition problem) and Code 16 (over-temperature problem), but every manufacturer is different.

Your Patronage is a Gift

It’s that time of year when we say “thank you” to our friends and neighbors here in East Texas. We hope you don’t ever need emergency services, but if you do, call Bradbury Brothers.   We’ve been here for many years and are looking forward to a happy spring and fantastic summer!