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How to Keep Your Tankless Water from Freezing

While the average wintertime low in Central Arizona is well above freezing, that doesn’t mean a cold snap can’t send temperatures plummeting below 32 degrees. If you have a tankless water heater, you should take proper preventative measures to protect it against cold weather, especially if the unit is mounted on your home’s exterior. Follow these steps to ensure your hot water keeps flowing when you need it most.

Insulate the Plumbing

The most important part of protecting your tankless water heater is to keep incoming water from freezing in cold conditions. To do this, install low-voltage pipe heating wire in a spiral pattern along the pipes that feed into your tankless water heater. Pipes located outdoors, along exterior walls and in uninsulated basements, are the most susceptible to freezing.

Afterwards, install self-sealing pipe wrap made of rubber, fiberglass or polyethylene around your water lines. This passive insulation helps retain heat from the electric wire running along your pipes.

Drain the System

If you’re leaving home for an extended period of time this winter, drain your tankless water heater before you leave to prevent damage. This winterization step should be completed by a professional or with the manufacturer’s guidelines in hand.

In short, the process goes something like this:

  • First, turn off and unplug your tankless water heater. Then, shut off the gas and water supply.
  • Next, open a hot water faucet and let the water drain out.
  • With the pressure lowered, disconnect the inlet and outlet water pipes before placing a bucket beneath these pipes to catch residual water.
  • Make sure to blow all outstanding water out with an air compressor.
  • Finally, cover the vent termination to prevent leaves or other debris from getting inside.

Other Considerations

Most modern tankless water heaters have built-in freeze protection for cold, winter days. Some exterior mounted models can work as far down as -4 degrees Fahrenheit. This is more than sufficient for Arizona’s climate, but remember — this short-term solution protects the unit only, not your plumbing.

For more tips on how to keep your tankless water heater from freezing and other ways to care for your tankless water heater, please contact Wolff Mechanical. We proudly serve Phoenix and Scottsdale area residents.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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