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Why Tankless Water Heaters Fail So Quickly

Why Tankless Water Heaters Fail So Quickly

Why Tankless Water Heaters Fail So Quickly

The idea of an endless supply of “instant” hot water that saves space (and money) is an attractive one. This is why tankless water heaters have gained such popularity in the last few years. If you have done any research though you have probably heard about some of the issues and even fast failures of tankless heaters. We are going to address one of the biggest issues that cause these and show you a long-term, proven solution that you can use for yours.

A Google search for, “tankless heater failure” returns several articles from independent review and sales sites, plumbers, even insurance companies (which makes sense since they are handling claims!)

Take a look:


We can learn a lot very quickly based on how Google fills in the blanks for us on a search. Another search including the word “warranty” quickly offers up a list that includes several manufacturer’s names — obviously a popular search:


As a consumer we tend to look to the producer of a product to give us some confidence in its quality and functionality. So digging into the warranty is a good idea. Many times though, it is an idea that comes too late — AFTER a failure has already occurred.

Most, if not all tankless heaters have a consumer warranty, but understanding what IS and what is NOT covered requires some interpretation. Without naming the manufacturer, let’s look at one popular maker’s section, What is not covered? See below:


There is a common theme…did you spot it?

It is the very subjective category of “water quality.”

Most water utilities send out annual reports that tout their high level of water quality that met or exceeded all EPA standards for the previous year. So how can that high quality water be at the root of so many failures that end up excluded from a warranty?

Well, I cannot speak to the catch all phrase, “any other cause” — but I can give you some specific insight about what does cause failure in probably 90%+ of the cases.

Two words…hard…water.

Hard water in itself is not poor quality, but the calcium in the water left untreated precipitates (falls out of solution) as scale when the water is rapidly heated — therefore the water is interpreted as being of “poor quality.”   Believe it or not, this is completely natural and water is hard enough in roughly 85% of the USA to be labeled as “poor quality” based on this conclusion…thus voiding a warranty!

I recently communicated with a manufacturer’s representative in the Las Vegas market who has been selling a particular line of heaters for over 15 years and he told me, “what is typical is that the scale starts to line the copper and acts as an insulator which can overheat the unit as well as it eats away at the copper causing it to leak. It also makes the heater less efficient as the flame has to heat the copper, then the scale and finally the water.”

So even before a failure, that new tankless heater starts to rapidly lose efficiency and reduce your planned savings!

Here is a picture of the tubes inside a failing heater in the Vegas market — note the tube on the bottom left:


When I zoom in, you can see the green-yellow scale coating the coils in the inside of the heater tube that is in the bottom left of the picture:


This will lead to the inefficiency and early failure as discussed.

What can you do if you still want the benefits of a tankless heater, but your water is hard?

We could list out several options, but we are partial to one… NaturalSof.

Not just because it is who we are, but because we believe it is the simplest, most efficient, lowest maintenance, proven solution available.   We recently concluded what was essentially a 3 year experiment to test our solution in the same Las Vegas water.

This heater was left untreated and not flushed or cleaned for over three years. We took it apart and cut it in half.

Here is a short video with the results:

Did you hear the same representative say that he hasn’t seen anything like it in 15 years across 30-50 heaters he has dissected?!

We guarantee your satisfaction.  To find out how to get NaturalSof in your “poor water quality” area simply visit our Contact Us page now.  We’re here to help!