how long do tankless water heaters last

How Long Do Tankless Water Heaters Last?


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Have you ever turned on the tap, hoping for a warm shower, only to get a rude splash of cold water? With a tankless water heater, you can get an endless supply of hot water whenever you need it!

Unlike the big, bulky traditional water heaters that store hot water, tankless ones heat it up on demand. This article dives into how long these tankless water heaters last and what you can do to make sure they serve you for years to come.

What is a Tankless Water Heater?

A tankless water heater, as the name suggests, doesn’t have a big tank. Instead of storing hot water like traditional water heaters, it heats water instantly whenever there’s a demand for hot water.

Imagine it as an “on-the-spot” hot water supplier. When you turn on the tap, cold water flows into the tankless heater, gets heated, and voila! You have your hot water ready.

Expected Lifespan of Tankless Water Heaters

life expectancy of a tankless water heater

Most tankless water heaters last between 20-25 years. That’s quite a bit longer than many traditional water heaters. But why does a tankless water heater last this long? Several factors play a role, like the brand, how it’s used, and how well it’s taken care of.

Key Factors Affecting Longevity

  • Quality of Water: The type of water in your home can affect how long your tankless water heater can last. Hard water, which has more minerals, can be tough on your heater. It can lead to build-ups that make your heater work harder.

  • Maintenance: Just like a car, tankless water heaters need check-ups too. Regular tankless water heater maintenance can help them work better and last longer. So, make sure to give it some TLC every now and then.

  • Usage: Think about it: if you use something a lot, it might wear out faster. If your tankless water heater is always on, supplying hot water, it might not last as long as one that’s used less.

  • Installation: Setting up a tankless water heater isn’t a DIY project for most of us. Getting a professional to install it can make a big difference. A well-installed water heater can last longer and work better.

  • Brand and Model: Not all tankless water heaters are made equal. Some brands or models are built to last longer. When choosing one, it might be a good idea to do a bit of homework and pick a reliable one.

Signs that Your Tankless Water Heater Needs Replacement

Just like any other household item, tankless water heaters don’t last forever. They definitely have their advantages over the traditional tank water heaters, especially when it comes to providing water on demand. But, even these modern marvels can show signs of wear and tear. Here’s how to tell if it might be time for a new water heater:

1. Decreased Efficiency and Water Temperature Inconsistencies:

If you’ve started to notice that your hot showers are turning lukewarm or the water takes longer to heat up, it might be a sign. Tankless heaters, compared to the bulky traditional water heater, are all about giving you hot water on demand. So, when they can’t keep up with that promise, it’s often a hint that something’s not right.

2. Frequent Error Codes or System Shutdowns:

Imagine watching your favorite show, and it keeps pausing or buffering. Frustrating, right? Similarly, if your tankless water heater is frequently giving you error messages or shutting down unexpectedly, it’s like its way of saying, “Hey, I might need some attention or even a replacement.”

3. Visible Damage or Leaks:

This one’s a bit obvious but still worth mentioning. If you spot any visible damage, like cracks or leaks, or if there’s a puddle of water around your heater, it’s a clear sign. Just as you wouldn’t ignore a leaky faucet, don’t let this slide. Water damage can lead to bigger problems. It might be time to consider a new tankless water heater installation.

When to Consider Replacement?

Got a tankless water heater? They’re great, but they don’t last forever. Here’s when you might think about updating:

  • Repair Costs vs. New Purchase: If fixing your current heater costs nearly as much as buying a new one, it might be smarter to go for the upgrade. A new unit can be more cost-effective in the long run.

  • New Tech in Recent Models: Just like phones get upgrades, so do tankless heaters. Newer models can be more efficient, save you on bills, or offer better features. If your heater’s pretty old, you might be missing out.

Maintenance Tips to Prolong Lifespan

Keeping your tankless water heater in tip-top shape isn’t rocket science. With a bit of care, you can ensure it lasts and serves you well. Here’s what you can do:

  • Regular Descaling and Cleaning: Just like your coffee maker needs a good clean every so often, your tankless heater does too. Descaling removes mineral build-up, helping it run smoothly.

  • Check for Leaks or Damage: Make it a habit to take a peek at your heater now and then. Spotting a small leak or damage early can save you big headaches later.

  • Optimal Settings: Make sure your heater is set just right. Not too hot, not too cold. Finding that ‘Goldilocks’ setting can help it work efficiently.

  • Professional Check-ups: Think of this like a doctor’s visit but for your heater. A yearly inspection by a pro can catch issues before they become big problems.

By giving your heater a little love and attention, it’ll keep providing that warm, comforting shower you look forward to!


In wrapping up, tankless hot water heaters are a modern marvel for those who treasure a consistent stream of warmth. With the right care, these devices can last up to 20 years, making them a worthy investment for any home.

While traditional hot water heaters have their merits, tankless water heaters typically offer more efficiency and longevity.

So, if you’re contemplating a switch or simply maintaining your current unit, remember the benefits and durability of the tankless option. Your future self, standing under a perfectly warm shower, will thank you!

Looking for a local expert? Our tankless water heater installation and repair services may be just what you need!