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Question DetailsAsked on 1/26/2015

How do I best protect my new tankless hot water heater from the sediment/rust particles coming from my old pipes?

After we got a tankless, propane fueled, Rinnai RL75 hot water heater, another plumber said that the tiny rusty bits & discolored water coming thru our old pipes would damage our tankless.
We had well water since 1975 until 1 1/2 years ago when we got city water but debris continues to come through our old pipes. Will the Rinnai filter in the tankless be enough to protect it or... should we get a filter to clean the water before it goes into the tankless ...or replace the pipes? HELP!

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Voted Best Answer

You could get a well water iron filter from Pelican or many other sources for about $1000-1500, installed probably on your incoming line so the whole house gets the benefit from it. Or you could go with a cheaper disposable cartridge type, needing more frequent maintenance, for closer to $500 range installed.
Or put that money into replacing your water line, which depending on frost depth in your are, distance to street, and whether the water company charges you a lot for the hookup at the curb stop (utility shutoff valve) could pay for from possibly the entire line replacement to usually at least about half. Actually, if you converted from well to city water, a good portion of your line is probably new - so only the connection point for the city water into the house and to the water heater would need replacing - maybe only a few hundred $ worth if only 20 feet or so. I would recommend doing the water line replacement if you can afford it, because if your line (presumably galvanized) is shedding quantities of rust flake, it is probably nearing its failure age anyway, so I would just go ahead and replace it and eliminate the need for the filter. You would have to replace the line into the house, plus the line from the shutoff valve to the water heater, which is probably not much further. I would at the same time replace the household lines (if same age metal) to the boiler if you have steam/hot water heating, as well. And of course, if the interior lines in the house are same age metal, they are probably in similar shape - but when you replace the lines to the hot water heater (and maybe boiler) looking at what comes out should give you an excellent idea of their condition. Other things you might replace at the same time - main shutoff valve (they tend to go bad from lack of use in 20+ years), and if crudded up with iron accumulation or significantly corroded, the pressure regulating valve and backflow preventer, if you have those. Pressure control tanks and pressure relief tanks I would leave till they fail.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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