Tankless Heaters and Hard Water
LESLIE: Dave in West Virginia is on the line and needs help with a water heater. What can we do for you today?
DAVE: Hi. I’m wondering if tankless water heaters last longer in hard-water areas versus a tank. Seems like I’m replacing a tank water heater about every 9 or 10 years.
TOM: The problem with tankless water heaters in hard-water areas is that sometimes the internal plumbing of the tankless water heater gets clogged by hard water. So you have to add a water softener on that that’s effective so that you don’t deposit those minerals inside the tankless water heater and have it jam up on you.
DAVE: So if you have a – if you do have a water softener, does it – do they last longer than the 10 years usually or less than you get out of a tank type?
TOM: Yeah. I think so. It’s more like purchasing a boiler than it is a water heater. So they’re pretty durable in that respect.
DAVE: OK. Because I was reading online – there just seems to be a lot of different opinions out there whether they’re good or not. And I guess there’s a lot of controls on them than on a regular water heater that can go bad. And I guess they’re recommending an annual service and things like that, where a regular tank type – you don’t really – once you install it, you don’t think too much about them.
TOM: I really don’t think there’s that much service to them. I do know there’s a lot of misinformation about tankless water heaters out there. You know, for many years, plumbers were putting them in wrong and then blaming the appliance. They would use the wrong-size gas lines and stuff like that. But I think tankless technology has proved out to be very reliable and something that I think I definitely would do if it was time for a new water heater at my house.
DAVE: Yeah. The problem is it’s in the 20s here and it’s failed so I don’t have much time to do much research to make the swap. Do you have any recommendations on making a tank-type water heater last longer, besides a water softener?
TOM: Well, I mean yeah. That’s really it. Conditioning the water is the hot ticket there.
DAVE: Yeah. OK. Well, thanks.