When Should Healthcare Facilities Maintenance Their Water Heaters?

Water heater manufacturers discuss maintenance frequency for water heaters.

By Jeff Wardon, Jr., Assistant Editor

Maintenance is an important part of keeping any system working as it should. Water heaters are no exception to this, and any failures could cause chaos for a healthcare facility. In this manufacturer roundtable, Healthcare Facilities Today speaks with water heater manufacturers about how often water heaters should receive maintenance. 

How often should healthcare facility managers maintenance their water heaters, and does maintenance differ depending on the type of water heater? 

“Tank-type water heaters (gas or electric, residential or commercial) have the same maintenance procedures: Flushing the water heater, which should be more often in commercial than residential, and replacing anode rods when necessary. How often the water heater requires maintenance depends on usage, temperature setting, recirculation and other factors.” 

— Mike Henry, Trainer III, Rheem 

“Maintenance needs vary by manufacturer and differ between tankless and tank-style units. We recommend consulting your manufacturer’s product literature for details. Beyond regular inspections and filter cleanings, there are several generalities we share: 

  1. Intellihot’s proprietary telliCare maintenance software is a Wi-Fi enabled, prognostics and predictive maintenance service. This pre-installed service allows Intellihot water heaters to be monitored remotely or on-site through a mobile app, providing useful maintenance advice before any issues become urgent. 
  2. On average, properly maintained tankless units tend to have longer lives than tanked units. 
  3. Tanked units often require regular draining of their tanks to reduce sediment build-up. 
  4. Tankless units used to require an annual descaling to maintain the units’ peak performance. However, Intellihot units have eliminated this maintenance need by using expandable 316L stainless-steel heat exchangers that vibrate and contract freely when in use, eliminating the potential for scale build-up.” 

— Amy Turner, director of marketing, Intellihot 

“There are a lot of factors to consider here including system, level of use, water quality and more, but your plumbing contractor and manufacturer’s product manual should be able to guide you proper maintenance for the water heating product you select. Often, the call is for annual maintenance under normal and proper use conditions for the capacity of the selected hot water appliance. Any variations in the product’s manufacturer defined normal limitations may require modifications to your maintenance plan and schedule.” 

— Dustin Bowerman, senior director of field services, Bradford White Corporation 

“As with any major appliance, it is important to conduct regular maintenance to maximize the lifespan of the product. It is recommended by both tank and tankless manufacturers that the water heaters be flushed to remove scale build-up. Flushing is a simple process, and the frequency depends on the quality of the water where the application is in use.” 

— David Frederico, senior director of marketing, Rinnai 

Jeff Wardon, Jr. is the assistant editor for the facilities market. 

July 21, 2023

Topic Area: HVAC

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