If you own a tankless it is important to service your system. A tankless is designed by engineers to have, first and foremost, the heat exchanger and internals scrubbed with a mild acid (vinegar). The vinegar reacts with a buildup that occurs in all pipes and watercourses (scale and lime deposits) effectively eating it away and clearing the heat exchangers and pipes. This scale acts as an insulator significantly reducing the transfer of heat to water. Engineers have also taken many precautions to ensure that internals and parts of a tankless have as few wear points as possible. This has increased the lifespan of a tankless water heater to over 20 years!
Direct Energy and several other large companies that rent water heaters are trying to reduce the tankless emergence. Currently if you’re renting a conventional water heater the system is designed to have a lifespan of around 10 to 12 years. After this point the water heater will have significant buildup inside severely reducing its efficiency. The thing is that none of these companies will push you to replace your system since you are the one paying the gas bill and it only affects your homes energy consumption.
What Can You Do?
That’s easy, call the company your renting your water heater from. They will tell you the buyout costs and the age of the water heater you have. If the system isn’t very old I would recommend you keep the water heater until it reaches its operational lifespan (10-12 years). If your system is already quite old you may simply need to schedule a removal with your water heater rental company. Then start getting quotes for a tankless system.
Once that new tankless is installed make sure you take care of it, have it flushed once every two years at the minimum (or flush it yourself). A flush is simple preventative maintenance that will ensure your system makes it past the expected 20 year lifespan while maintaining its 98% efficiency rating!