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My tankless water heater is making noise and shutting off, why?

   If you’ve lived in Colorado for more than a year you are familiar with the annual invasion of the Miller Moth.  Some years seem to be worse than others but even the mildest infestation seems to be too much.

Utility costs have risen in recent years, prompting many homeowners to look to more efficient ways to heat their homes and domestic water.  One solution that has been well accepted is the use of Tankless High Efficiency Water Heaters.  These heaters only heat the water that is being used at any given time.  They are typically direct vented and sealed so that they are very safe to the homes occupants.  Most of the time they work wonderful with just an annual cleaning and maintenance regiment.  What does this have to do with the Miller Moth?

Unfortunately, tankless water heaters on Colorado’s Front Range in the spring and summer months have an enemy to their efficient operation.  What is it? That dreaded Miller Moth! (http://www.chieftain.com/news/region/no-place-is-safe-from-miller-moths/article_c7997f20-8e92-11e1-b5c2-0019bb2963f4.html)

Why do these otherwise harmless creatures cause so many problems with tankless water heaters?

Because they are attracted to warm places and light, they tend to gather around the exhaust vent of the tankless water heater where they are often sucked into the combustion air intake during the units operation.  When this happens they are chewed up and fill the orifices of the burner chamber with their dead bodies.  This causes the combustion fan to make excessive noise and may even damage the burner preventing it from operating normally.

Once this happens the only solution is to disassemble the unit and give it a thorough cleaning and inspection.  This can be quite involved and costly.

The better solution is to be proactive against these small nuisance insects.  This can be accomplished by having a bug guard installed on the intake of your tankless water heater to prevent bugs of this size from entering and causing all the problems.  The water heater manufactures have begun to develop these screens that work quite well and do not hinder the operation of the unit.

If you are having problems like this give Patterson Plumbing & Heating a call and we will be glad to evaluate your situation and correct it by cleaning the unit and then installing a bug guard to help prevent the problem and inconvenience in the future.

Call us at 719-544-4922.

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