LESLIE: Shirley in Nebraska is on the line and has some issues with heating water. She wants to prolong water heater’s life. Tell us what’s going on. You’ve had 4 in 28 years? That is an amazing turnover rate and not in a good way.
SHIRLEY: No, it’s not a good one. It’s not. And when I talked to someone from our gas company – we have a maintenance thing with the gas company. And they said, “Well, the one thing is maybe” – I said, “I thought with a water softener, you were supposed to be able to prolong the life of your appliances.” And he said, “Well, maybe your salt level is too high.”
Our plumber does not think so, so I just kind of wondered what your take was on it.
TOM: OK. First of all, if you have city water, then you shouldn’t need a water softener; you should just be able to work with that water right out of the tap. I think you’ve had extraordinarily bad luck having to replace the 4 water heaters in 28 years. If you feel that the water, even the city water, is a little bit hard then, of course, you can use a water softener. And you might want to consider using one that is a no salt-water softener, if corrosion is a concern.
There’s a product called EasyWater that uses electricity to polarize the hard-water minerals inside and force them to not stick to the sides of pipes and faucets and fixtures. So that’s another option to try to prolong water heater’s life, as well.
But the next time you buy a water heater, I would look for one that’s got the best warranty, because you haven’t had very good luck with this and at least it’ll be covered.
SHIRLEY: OK. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.