How Long Does a Tankless Water Heater Last? Get the Truth!

Last Updated On June 12, 2024

Updated on April 17, 2023



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the average lifespan of a tankless water heater is around 20 years, but this depends upon factors like maintenance.

How long does a tankless water heater last? It’s an important question to ask, as the lifespan of your water heater can affect its efficiency and overall performance. 

Understanding what affects the longevity of a tankless water heater and being able to recognize signs that it needs replacing are key components for making sure you get maximum value from this major home appliance investment. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the average lifespan of both gas and electric tankless water heaters, factors that may shorten or extend their life expectancy, and common indicators that might need some attention soon. Let’s dive in!

What's In This Guide?

      Average Lifespan of Tankless Water Heaters

      Tankless water heaters are becoming increasingly popular among homeowners looking for an energy-efficient and cost-effective way to heat their home’s water. But how long do these gas or electric tankless units last? 

      While there is no definitive answer, tankless water heaters have an average lifespan of 10-20 years with proper maintenance. This is twice as long as a traditional water heater with a storage tank typically lasts.

      The longevity of a tankless system depends on the type of fuel used to power it: electric or gas. Electric tankless water heaters generally last longer than gas models due to their simpler design and fewer moving parts that can wear out over time. 

      With regular maintenance, electric models can easily reach 15 years or more before needing replacement. Gas powered units may only last 8-12 years because the combustion process causes corrosion in pipes and other components over time, leading to premature failure if not regularly serviced. This time frame is in line with conventional water heaters.

      Proper water heater installation is a key factor. Use a qualified technician with experience when installing this type of equipment, as poor installation can lead to inadequate venting which may cause hazardous levels of carbon monoxide build-up within your home. 

      Additionally, incorrect sizing or wiring connections could result in inefficient operation and even fires if left unchecked for too long. Ensuring proper installation will not only maximize the performance of your unit but also ensure its safety and longevity over time.

      Regular maintenance is essential for extending the life expectancy of your tankless system; most manufacturers recommend having them inspected every year by a professional plumber to check for any potential issues such as leaking valves or clogged filters. We know that sounds excessive. Here are two things to monitor. 

      Check the inlet screen water filter periodically. It’s also recommended that you flush out mineral deposits from within the unit at least once per year. You can use a vinegar solution to prevent scaling buildup which can lead to decreased heating capacity and shorter lifespans overall. You can also use a flush kit

      Finally, be sure you use high-quality replacement parts whenever necessary during repairs; inferior components often fail sooner than expected leading to costly repair bills down the line. Always opt for original manufacturer-approved replacements. 

      By following these simple steps, you should be able to enjoy many years worth of reliable hot water without worry.

      The lifespan of Electric Tankless Water Heaters:

      Electric tankless water heaters generally have a longer life expectancy than gas models because they do not require combustion, which can cause damage to parts over time. 

      With proper care and maintenance, electric tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years before needing replacement parts. Additionally, electric units tend to be more efficient than gas models since electricity isn’t first converted to usable energy as with gas units.

      Lifespan of Gas Tankless Water Heaters:

      Gas tankless water heaters usually have a shorter lifespan than electric models due to their reliance on combustion for water heating purposes. However, with proper care and maintenance, these units can still last up to 15 years before needing a full replacement.

      It’s important that you regularly check your unit for signs of wear such as corrosion around the pipes or valves in order to keep it running efficiently throughout its lifetime. 

      Additionally, make sure that all necessary safety measures are taken when using a gas model such as ensuring adequate ventilation and installing carbon monoxide detectors near the unit itself if possible.

      Overall, while there is no definite answer as to how long a tankless water heater will last; with proper installation techniques and regular maintenance both electric and gas varieties should provide many years of reliable service before needing replacement.

      Key Takeaway: A tankless water heater can last 10-20 years with proper installation, maintenance, and use of high-quality replacement parts.

      Factors That Affect the Average Lifespan of Tankless Water Heaters

      When it comes to tankless water heaters, the lifespan of these units can vary greatly depending on several factors. These are:

      • Hard water buildup
      • Poor installation practices
      • Lack of maintenance 

      These are all things that can affect how long your tankless water heater will ultimately last.

      For gas-powered tankless water heaters, hard water buildup is one of the biggest threats to their longevity. Hard water contains high levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium which can build up inside the unit over time. Select a unit rated for hard water usage.

      This buildup can clog pipes and reduce efficiency, leading to shorter lifespans for gas-powered models. To avoid this issue, homeowners should install a whole house water filtration system or use a descaling solution regularly to keep their systems clean and running efficiently.

      Poor installation practices are also something that can lead to reduced lifespans in both electric and gas powered units. If not installed correctly by an experienced plumber with knowledge about local building codes, it could cause serious issues including leaks or worse yet – fire hazards. 

      Make sure you hire someone who knows what they’re doing when installing your new tankless system so you don’t have any problems later on down the road.

      By understanding the various factors that can affect a tankless water heater’s lifespan, you can be better prepared to identify signs of wear and tear before they become more serious problems.

      Key Takeaway: The longevity of tankless water heaters can be greatly affected by hard water buildup, poor installation practices, and lack of maintenance; it is important to install a filtration system or use descaling solutions regularly and hire an experienced professional for installation.

      Signs of Wear and Tear on Tankless Models

      Signs of Wear and Tear in Tankless Water Heaters


      Strange noises coming from the tankless water heater can be a sign that something is wrong. It could mean that the heating element needs to be replaced or it could indicate an issue with the flow rate. If you hear any unusual sounds, contact a professional for assistance.

      Reduced Hot Water Output:

      A decrease in hot water output can also be indicative of wear and tear on your tankless water heater. This could mean that there’s an issue with the heating element or flow rate, which will need to be addressed by a professional technician.

      Increased Energy Bills:

      An increase in energy bills may also point to problems with your tankless water heater. If you notice higher-than-normal utility costs, check your unit for signs of wear and tear such as corrosion or leaks around pipes and connections. 

      You should also inspect the heating element for any damage or discoloration as this could lead to increased energy consumption if not properly maintained.

      Heating Element:

      The heating element is one of the most important components of a tankless water heater as it helps regulate temperature and maintain consistent hot water output throughout its lifespan. 

      Over time, however, these elements can become worn out due to age or heavy use leading to reduced performance levels and decreased efficiency overall. 

      Regular maintenance checks are essential for keeping your unit running at peak performance levels so make sure you have yours inspected annually by a qualified technician who can replace any worn-out parts before they cause further damage down the line.

      Key Takeaway: Tankless water heaters can suffer from wear and tear over time, leading to reduced hot water output, increased energy bills, and problems with the heating element. Regular maintenance checks are essential for ensuring your unit runs at peak performance levels.

      Are you considering going tankless? Here is a video discussing what to know…

      FAQs on Tankless Water Heater Lifespan

      How long does a tankless water heater last?

      Tankless water heaters typically have an average lifespan of 20 years. However, with proper maintenance and care, they can last up to 30 years or more.

      What factors affect the lifespan of a tankless water heater?

      The most important factor that affects the longevity of your tankless water heater is regular maintenance and inspection. Other factors include usage patterns, environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity levels, quality of installation, and type of fuel used (gas or electric).

      How often should I inspect my tankless water heater?

      It’s recommended to inspect your unit at least once per year by a qualified technician. During this time it’s important to check for signs of corrosion on any exposed metal parts as well as check for leaks in all connections. Additionally, you should flush out the system every year to remove sediment buildup which can reduce efficiency over time.

      Are there any other ways I can extend the life expectancy of my tankless water heater?

      Yes! You may want to consider investing in an anti-scale water filter system if you live in an area with hard water. This will help keep mineral deposits from forming inside your unit over time which could lead to premature failure down the road.

      Final Thoughts on Lifespan of Tankless Units

      The average lifespan of a gas or electric tankless water heater can range from 10 to 20 years depending on various factors such as maintenance and usage habits. However, with proper care and regular inspections, you can extend the life of your tankless water heater for many more years. 

      Be sure to watch out for signs of wear and tear that may indicate an impending need for repair or replacement so that you can enjoy hot showers for as long as possible.

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      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about "all things plumbing," helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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