An inlet filter is a common part of many water heaters. Most tankless water heaters feature an inlet filter. Like all filters, however, inlet filters can become clogged. Over time, sediment may build up within an inlet filter while restricting the flow of water. How do you know if your water heater has a clogged inlet filter exactly?
The Basics of the Inlet Filter
An inlet filter is a filtration device that’s found on the incoming water line. Before entering a tankless water heater, the cold water must pass through an inlet filter. There are different types of inlet filters, but they are all designed to remove debris like sediment from the water. Most inlet filters consist of a cartridge with a mesh screen. Water will be able to travel through the mesh screen, but sediment will not.
Why Tankless Water Heaters Need an Inlet Filter
While some tank-based water heaters feature them, inlet filters are particularly common with tankless water heaters. Tankless water heaters need an inlet filter to operate properly. It will catch and remove sediment in the water.
Traditional tank-based water heaters may or may not have an inlet filter. Even without an inlet filter, sediment will collect at the bottom of the tank. Tankless water heaters don’t have a tank; they only feature a heat exchanger or element. With their smaller and narrower passages, they are more susceptible to sediment buildup.
Signs of a Clogged Inlet Filter
Low water pressure is a sign of a clogged inlet filter. If the water is just trickling out of your faucets, you should check the inlet filter. A clogged inlet filter will restrict the flow of water. Less water will reach your tankless water heater, resulting in lower water pressure throughout your home.
Even if the water pressure in your home is fine, you may be dealing with a clogged inlet filter. It can have a negative impact on heating performance. All of the sediment within the inlet filter may interfere with your tankless water heater’s operations. Rather than producing hot water, it may only produce lukewarm water.
Your tankless water heater will become less efficient if the inlet filter is clogged. The clogged inlet will result in increased energy consumption. Your tankless water heater will have to consume more electricity or gas to supply your home with heated water. Along with low water pressure and poor heating, increased energy consumption is a sign of a clogged inlet filter.