Steve, you can't go tankless unless you have a softner. Lime will build up in the tankless too.
Replacing elements is a PIA. I use my shop vac and a small hose to suck the lime out. The last element was a big challenge to get out. Most of the time getting the element out is much easier.
There are lifetime elements, hi density that will last forever in lime. The last set, I ordered from amazon. They were less than $25 each. Ordering 2 elements meant free shipping. Besides you have a top and bottom element.
I will never go tankless.
What do you have to lose, fix yours.
Harbor freight sells water alarms for around $10. If you are worried about leaks, get an alarm.
I worry about plumbing leaks, because I have a well. My pump is in the basement. I rigged up an alarm with a switch. My alarm will kill the power to the pump. 3 months after installing the alarm, I had a leak, and alarm worked, Thank GOD.
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