Should You Buy a Used Tankless Hot Water Heater?

Buying things used can save a lot of money and be a great value.  Other times buying used means buying someone else’s headache.  What about tankless water heaters? You see one listed for sale in the local paper and you wonder if it’s worth the risk.  Should you buy a used tankless water heater?  We at Tankless Guide will tell you up front that we don’t think it’s a good idea.  Here are some things to keep in mind.

A Used Tankless Water Heater May Not Have a Warranty

If a tankless water heater is installed in one home and then removed, the warranty is often voided.  Most limited warranties for all types of home products, not just tankless water heaters, apply to the original owner in the original home.  While many of the best models on the market work very well and never need their warranty, having the security of a warranty makes a lot of sense.

You Won’t Know Whether or not a Used Tankless Water Heater was Maintained

Like a car, an HVAC system, or a tank-style hot water heater, tankless water heaters perform better and last longer if they have been properly maintained.  This includes a good cleaning as well as a visual check of essential parts for wear and tear.  A unit that has been neglected may not be working very well – and that may be why its offered for sale.

A Used Tankless Water Heater may be Damaged by Hard Water

Very hard water can do the same kind of damage to tankless water heaters that it can do to traditional water heaters, washing machines, coffee pots, dishwashers, etc.  A mineral build-up can occur that diminishes water capacity, decreases performance, and shortens its life. If your used heater comes forma  hard water zone how do you know if the owner did an annual cleaning of the system?

There’s Almost No Good Reason to Sell a Good Tankless Water Heater

Homeowners rarely sell a tankless hot water heater unless there is something wrong with it.  Most of those who use them love the on-demand, continuous and very affordable hot water they provide.  There are very few used models on the market because it just isn’t an item people tire of or find they don’t really like after all.  When we see used models for sale, it definitely raises red flags about the quality of the heater or its condition.


In our opinion, you will be much happier in the long-run with a new tankless water heater.  You’ll be fully protected by the warranty.  You’ll likely already have  a water softener to protect it and your other appliances if you have hard water.  And you can maintain it regularly to keep it in top working order.  That’s really the best way to get the best value from the tankless water heater you purchase.

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