Any TANKLESS WATER HEATER professionals/installers? Help please! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-18-2015, 02:45 AM Thread Starter
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Any TANKLESS WATER HEATER professionals/installers? Help please!

Kind of unrelated, but sort of related (need the hot water -and heat-).

I don't use too many forums, so thought it would be worth a shot asking here.

Does anyone have a lot of knowledge with/installing tankless water heaters (for houses)? Need some help.

I have Navien NR-210 running on natural gas.
NR-210 | Navien
Installed about 4 or 5 years ago. I think it has a recirculating pump and there is this separate little tank (I think it holds some hot water on stand by).

Well it recently stopped working. A plastic part (black housing where the water filter is) developed a big leak, spraying water everywhere. Upon inspection, it seems nearly every metal connections is pretty rusted.

I looked up reviews on this model and Navien in general and they aren't looking too good. When we replaced our old tank for this tankless system, this Navien was pretty new to the market and at the time was said to be one of the best along with Rinnai.

Well now the igniter isn't lighting.

And what's uncommon about our set up is that our house also heats the house using a natural gas furnace, but it is somehow linked together with the water heater (always has been, even with our old water heater tank). And so with the water heater not working (it shuts off and throws the error code saying the igniter isn't igniting), the house heater won't work. So the house is getting cold and the water is ice cold.

We paid over $5000 to have that tankless system installed expecting it to last and "save" us money in the long run (long lasting, energy/water efficient).

Haven't called a repair man yet, but we know it's probably going to cost a lot. And with the amount of rusted connections, those are probably bound to leak soon, making it a money pit, along with the poor Navien reviews, I am seriously thinking of getting a new unit (so much for tankless lasting 15+ years, yes we maintained it yearly), most likely switching over to a Rinnai.

So that brings me to question which Rinnai unit would be a direct replacement with this Navien? I am fairly handy so I should be able to figure most of it out when installing, but help from those experienced is very much appreciated.

Or are Rinnais set up completely different and would require re-plumbing new lines?

Open to other suggestions or brands. Would even temporarily fix the Navien. Seal leak. The igniter is in a metal casing, haven't opened it up. Error code says ignition failure, power is on, gas is open, just no spark I guess. Wires look fine, haven't tested with multimeter though, maybe "spark plugs"/igniter are corroded? Can I manually light with flame?

Just want to get this fixed or replaced with a longer lasting unit soon. I am up for doing a replacement of the entire unit myself if it is not extremely challenging. Really don't feel like paying thousands more for a repair man to do it if it is simple nor do I want to repair the current unit for quite a bit of money, just to have it develop more leaks/problems soon down the road.

Either way, I will have a repair man come take a look and give an estimate. Probably won't cost too much to fix the igniter problem and replace the leaking plastic housing, but those rusted connections look prone to leaking soon. What would cause the rusted connections? Something in the tap water? Some chemical the installers used during assembly? Vinegar flushes? Or just poor quality parts from Navien?

Sorry for the long post. Thanks to anyone who has read this far.
Any help is very much appreciated.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-18-2015, 04:58 PM
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I dont have too much first hand experience with something like that; but I believe most of the newer tankless systems have a sort of "checklist" that they go through before it allows it to be fired. Sort of like a systems analysis. I believe there is usually some sort of way to follow along with that either by watching a series of LED lights on the control board (which I assume would show green for good and red for bad) and/or potentially a little display of some sort. Might be able to at least figure out where exactly the problem lies.

Other than that I tend to frequent The Garage Journal Board - Powered by vBulletin for most of my homeowner type problems. Really good community of people who have done it all over there! At the very least someone there might be able to point you towards a plumbing specific type of forum.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-19-2015, 04:19 AM
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If you're just replacing it with another gas unit it's a piece of cake. If it was hard plumbed in and you wanna do it yourself buy the shark bite kit which will allow you to move the water lines. Then buy a flexible gas hose which will allow you some movement in the gas line. Then just hook it all back up.

That being said all of the tankless heaters I've messed with are huge pains. I'll keep using my gigantic water heater any day.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-20-2015, 03:47 PM
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DO NOT TRY TO LIGHT IT BY HAND! There is a very high voltage spark that might start working when you're in there. (Not very pleasant) And you have the possibility of getting burned if the unit uses rectification as a flame proving method.

For a replacement you're going to have to look carefully at the requirements of the new unit. Many of the tankless water heaters have a flue system that is unique to them and the components have to put together in a very specific configuration.

I'm certainly not saying it doesn't exist, and things are done differently in different parts of the country....but I've never seen a system that the water heater going out would cause the home heater to not work, unless there was a problem with a common flue vent or the gas supply.(and I've been working on furnaces since 73!)
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