Did You Know You Can Avoid Tankless Water Heater Problems by Servicing?

tankless water heater problems

You might have tankless water heater problems if you don’t perform service.

When was the last time you serviced your tankless water heater? If you’re like many people, probably never until it stops delivering hot water. Do you have tankless water heater problems? We never did until the other day when our control panel for our Rheem gave us an E1 76 error message. No hot water.

Of course, the nice thing about a tankless water heater, especially those that are mounted outside, is no concern about it bursting and flooding your house or, in the case of gas water heaters, exploding, and burning down your house. The downside is you waste water by letting it run in the sink until it gets hot, water that needs to be saved during our drought and recycled elsewhere. Tankless water heaters also do not deliver hot water on-demand, but instead provide an endless supply of hot water without the hassle until the day there is none.

It’s not quite a Klaatu Barada Nikto moment, when you have a tankless water heater problem, but it’s right up there.

Our Rheem was so weird that it only gave us difficulty in the morning and refused to work at 7 AM. However, by 8 AM, it began working again. My husband surmises it’s because the sun has warmed the tank by that time, and our plumber is still in the dark about that freaky situation.

We had the plumber over yesterday to first service our tank. In my Googling for tankless water heater problems, I discovered that we are supposed to perform routine service: a) clean the filter every month (a little cylindrical doohickey) and, b) de-lime the tank annually (descale and flush). We’ve done nothing, and our tankless is 7 years old. Gah! On top of this, the guy who installed our tankless did not install a “completion unit” below the unit itself that would allow us to attach a hose and flush it out ourselves. Without that unit, the whole thing has be taken apart to de-lime. Oh, crap!

With any hope, our plumber is returning today because we’ve lost water pressure on the hot water side since he was here yesterday, although all of our pipes are now copper in our 1948 house. He said I sounded too calm for an “old person” whose water pressure is messed up and water heater still isn’t working correctly. Hey, I sell Sacramento real estate. I’m not a looney tune. I deal with worst stuff than this.

I’m also NOT the guy having to stand in a cold shower at 7 AM.

Our plumber reckoned the problem is either the heat sensor or the control panel, in case you face a similar problem. Or, you could ask your plumber to call the manufacturer. Rheem said the issue is related to a faulty PBC board, a motherboard that costs about $500, but since we’ve never called about anything ever, Rheem will send it overnight for free. But hey, get on that annual service for your tankless. It’s not magical after all.

And I now know more than I ever wanted to know about tankless water heater problems.

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