Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Navien Tankless, A BIG MISTAKE!

scottieb123
scottieb123 Member Posts: 7
Okay, so tankless water heaters have taken the next step to 98% efficient making all things fine and dandy, right? Navien is NOT the way to go. Out of the last 7 we have installed, 2 have required replacement due to failed heat exchangers and 1 required a new "updated" control board and flow control valve. After waiting on hold for over 30 minutes for a technical support representative to answer and say that someone would call me back, I think I have had enough. I am so thankful that Rinnai has announced their new line of 98% units!

BE SURE TO PASS THIS ALONG!
Scott Brown



"Don't wish for less problems, wish for more knowledge"

Comments

  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    I have a half dozen in

    I heard of some of the problems, Grey fittings have to be replaced, board change needed in some A model and early flow switches made of aluminum...now stainless. But I have to say I havent had any trouble. Navien gives the part and pays labor. What I have seen is horrible installs and lack of training. Undersized piping is rampant, Its hard to believe how many contractors cant size gas pipe, especially csst. The Navien gas system is unique and gas pipe sizing is absolutely critical. Well systems must have a constant pressure devise either a cycle stop valve or a PRV.



    Do you have any pics of your installs and failure?
  • EJ hoffman
    EJ hoffman Member Posts: 126
    only problems we have are installer

    I have over 30 installed.  I have had a few problems but never a heat exchanger. Their customer service is the best.  They have overnighted parts to me, paid labor promptly, most of the problems I have seen are installer caused usually undersized gas, improper flushing of the system.  I will not stop using because you had one bad heat exchanger.  If i followed that advice everytime I saw a toyota on the road I would hide.
  • scottieb123
    scottieb123 Member Posts: 7
    edited March 2010
    TECHNICAL SUPPORT?!?

    Turns out, these are the latest models, the NR 240 LP not the CR so I do not have the grey plastic fitting situation I don't think. I was so frustrated that I completely neglected to take any photos but will be certain to post some when I return to the site tomorrow, now that I have to rip it off the wall. So I finally got a call back from technical support @ 7:20 p.m. Eastern time after waiting on hold for 30 minutes for a guy to answer and say a technical support agent will call you right back. I have yet to be paid for my 2 recent RGA's submitted to Navien. Parts, yes, but a labor rate of $75 does not cut it to repair what is supposed to be a brand new piece of equipment. I can assure you it is installed to Manufacturer's specifications that were provided, we pride ourselves on precision installs.  As I said, I will post photos once I go back. TO BE CONTINUED!
    Scott Brown



    "Don't wish for less problems, wish for more knowledge"
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,487
    I edited your post to remove the link to your company.

    We reserve that right to the professionals who advertise with us (see the rules above). You'd certainly be welcome is you'd like to get listed.



    Thanks for understanding.
    Retired and loving it.
  • joseph_3
    joseph_3 Member Posts: 3
    I have to agre

    Scottie please tell me a little more about your problems with the Navien.  You can contact me through my email.  I have had a big problem with the Navien 240CR that I put in  a salon after consulting with my Rep and also Navien. They both sais that it would take car of the problems that I was having.  This created more problems.  Please email me so i can talk to you more and lets see how big this problem really is?  I need to talk to someone higher up in Navien and if you have any contact info that would be great.

    thanks
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,487
    Joseph,

    I clicked on your name to see your previous posts here on the Wall. There are just two but I sense that you're not not a professional. Is that the case? 
    Retired and loving it.
  • Timco
    Timco Member Posts: 3,040
    names?

    I have had BIG problems with BIG name mfgs, and really think it is in poor taste to name names and rant. Tankless WHs are prone to many install mistakes...x-contamination of vent / intake, 1/2" pex lines in & out, 1/2" or 3/4" gas lines run for miles and feeding a furnace and tankless, and so on. Not saying your issue is your install, but I have seen nearly as many bad tankless installs as boilers. Many names have been severely bashed here through the years, and it really does little good in my opinion. Just ensures that rep or brand will not participate in any meaningful discussion...



    Tim
    Just a guy running some pipes.
  • scottieb123
    scottieb123 Member Posts: 7
    Sorry Dan!

    Sorry Dan, I meant no harm and completely understand you removing the address and yes, I am very interested in posting an ad!

    Okay, so some of you have never experienced a failed Navien heat exchanger, please take a look at the attached photos. This unit was installed in November 2009 and required replacement January 2010. We are not talking about an "installation" issue here, we are talking about a brand new, out of the box unit that has a bad fitting inside which sprayed water all over the inside of the unit, control board and all! Joseph, I will reach out to you on Monday to talk.

    Tim, so I am trying to help those people out there trying to make a decision when it comes to selecting a tankless hot water heater to present to their customers. I would value the information gathered here from like professionals and wish only to aid those who take great pride in their work. Why are you protecting the MFG? It is the MFG who doesn't get hurt in this situation where I have to replace a BRAND NEW piece of equipment due to poor MFGing and quality control. I would only hope a rep would actually stand up for their piece of equipment and stand up and say something productive in a thread somewhere, do you ever see it happen?
    Scott Brown



    "Don't wish for less problems, wish for more knowledge"
  • EJ hoffman
    EJ hoffman Member Posts: 126
    wondering

    Where do you have this installed? and what is it doing? In the sense of commercial buiding residence? water supply and air intake? chemicals around it?
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,487
    I agree.

    Swaggering in here with a sneer and fists flying rarely accomplishes much. Reasonable people won't judge an entire company by one installation. Everyone makes mistakes and there are always reasonable (and polite) ways to work things out.



    If you had an angry customer, would you want that person coming to the Wall and telling everyone not to deal with you? Have you ever had a dissatisfied customer? Does that one person define your whole company, past, present and future. Probably not, right?



    I think you need to calm down.
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,487
    Good questions.

    And well asked. Let's use the Wall to look for solutions rather than vengeance.



    Thanks.
    Retired and loving it.
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    Show us more of the installation

    Besides the questions that EJ ask, here are a few more. What is the water quality? There are places where the ground water has very high concentrations of sodium. Stainless does not hold up well in these situations. They are not common but you should be aware. The unit is still under warranty including labor, situations like this happen, as long as the company makes good that is just part of this business. Tankless water heaters are always heating fresh water, this is a large task compared to a heating system that is fed a continuous supply of of airless, treated water. I have had a few tank water heaters that have leaked right away, the manufacturers know this percentage of failure, its just when you get one you feel you should have played the lottery that day. Ive already had circulators not work right out of the box. still buy that circulator because I know it happens to all of them. How many copper exchangers do you think get destroyed because the installer didnt realize the well was acidic, this is very common. Navien is a fairly new company in the USA. They have changed the ball game in Tankless. They have made prices come down across the board and its nice to have an energy tag on the appliance that shows that there is nothing of higher efficiency. Companies who have been making these things for years are now playing catch up. I have to ask... did the automatic water shutoff work when the unit started leaking? Navien seems to choose their suppliers carefully, what is your wholesaler doing to help?
  • scottieb123
    scottieb123 Member Posts: 7
    Resisdential Installation

    So the photos posted are from a prior, residential installation performed in November, not the current commercial install issue I am having at this time. The install was at my Sister's house (thank goodness) who is on a well with a water softening system that is maintained on a monthly basis. I guess I could go ahead with another water sample but in three months time, to get a service call at night to find water in the GFI switch inside from water dripping from the heat exchanger, it seems a bit extreme. I am not maliciously attacking Navien here, I have around 10 of these installed in my area, 2 of which I have been called back out on and 1 of which I could not even turn on due to the fitting failure. As soon as I return to the commercial job at the golf course I will take additional photos. I worked close at hand with the local representative on this project who would like to do a case study since it is one of his first Cascade installations with three CR-240 units.

    EJ, the photos are residential, no chemicals in the room, there is a York 80% gas furnace sitting in the same mechanical closet. Exhaust and intake all piped to outside as per Maufacturer's specifications.

    I switched from Rinnai to Navien due to the energy efficiency ratings and the ease of installation with the PVC venting along with the built in recirculating pump. Those who know me, know I stand behind everything I install. I am seriously contemplating my future unit selection and only wish that others would advise me in the selection process with useful, real life situations like I am experiencing. We are all in this business for one purpose, to make a profit. I do not make a profit on call backs even if they do offer a labor reimbursement of $75.00 an hour when you are used to charging $125 an hour? Hot water is a luxury item, when you install a piece of equipment that is new, you expect it to work and not fail in the first couple years, right? With failures and problems in the first couple months, yes, you have upset and irate customers when they can't take a hot shower!
    Scott Brown



    "Don't wish for less problems, wish for more knowledge"
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    Scott

    is the unit at your sisters leaking too?
  • HDE_2
    HDE_2 Member Posts: 140
    edited March 2010
    Better than nothing

    I often read about complaining of the tankless water heater industry labor rate.

    What the labor policy of a furnace, faucet, sump pump  ...... Umm nothing.

    Callbacks are part of the business, and figured into overhead, be happy you get something to get near even.



    I know why the one above doesnt work, no vent, no drain and not plugged in. hehe
  • Timco
    Timco Member Posts: 3,040
    Protect mfg?

    "Tim, so I am trying to help those people out there trying to make a

    decision when it comes to selecting a tankless hot water heater to

    present to their customers. I would value the information gathered here

    from like professionals and wish only to aid those who take great pride

    in their work. Why are you protecting the MFG? It is the MFG who

    doesn't get hurt in this situation where I have to replace a BRAND NEW

    piece of equipment due to poor MFGing and quality control. I would only

    hope a rep would actually stand up for their piece of equipment and

    stand up and say something productive in a thread somewhere, do you

    ever see it happen?"



    I actually do see it happen, right here. Laars and a few other big names lurk here and are glad to help customers with issues, even when they start off rude. I chose my brand of tankless (authorized Rinnai service person) by doing some research and attending their class, not the next cheapest thing to come along. I also install 2-3 of a new product, and see how it flies before installing a dozen. I am not taking the mfg's side, I am taking the website's side by simply stating that name bashing doesn't help anything. I am sure glad that the customers (2) that got bad early versions of a boiler I recommended and sold them did not find the first heating forum they could find and smear my name over it. Does Navian make their own HXs or does another company provide them? Point is, it may be a issue with another mfg, not Navian, and tossing them under the bus will not solve your issue, but not purchasing another unit will...just as I told the mfg I had an issue with. My issues were gas leaks that could have sent my customer's house to the moon if I had not used a sniffer and analyzer, and I never mentioned their name here. I was not even paid for my return trips to make them right until nearly a year later. There are more professional ways to approach a reoccurring problem.



    Tim
    Just a guy running some pipes.
  • TonyS
    TonyS Member Posts: 849
    It looks as though your air intake is inside

    this is permissible but bad practice. Wind, negative pressure inside such as bathroom or kitchen vent can draw freezing cold air right across the exchanger and freeze that unit up. If you live in a warm climate , no big deal. But in cold climates definitely  use a balanced flue configuration.
  • Seattle Ron
    Seattle Ron Member Posts: 5
    My experience

    I got to swap out a Navien a while ago myself.  Leaking heat exchanger gasket.  The new model was free and has a better design.  I wasn't happy to spend a Saturday morning working for $75, and I would think twice about selling more of these units.

    I am very interested in the new Eternal tank less units and will be installing my first one this week.

    I have a Rinnai in my house and am very happy after two years.  I also use a recirc pump and suggest the same to my customers.  It saves a lot of wasted water.

    I am right now installing a spring timer that will disconnect the recirc while we are in the shower, because the recirc changes the water temp at the shower, and it is not pleasing...
  • EJ hoffman
    EJ hoffman Member Posts: 126
    imperfection rate

    Nobody is perfct (sic) and thanks to Mr. Hooligan (spell check) and this website we try to obtain closer to perfection installs and possibly manufacturing, but we all have weaknesses and failures.  You have a sodium based water softener on one that leaks, any way you might have a water softner that sometimes sends high concentrations of sodium through it? What else is in the water?  Keep in mind I am not pointing fingers but when ever I have a problem I always look at what I missed first, directions and knowledge are our weapons to fight problems. 

    The other unit is on a golf course?  Store alot of fertilizers nearby or is the intake position in such a manner or exhaust for that matter that those chemicals can get to it. 

    There is no one item that is perfect for every situation sometimes products fail because they are not suited for certain situations, sometimes manufactures don't know it until they have a failure.  I learned about freezing exhaust as someone else already pointed out from another manufacture and now protect all my ondemands from this situation, I don't always install Navien, sometimes I use Noritz or bradford white(rinnai) but I treat the exhaust the same.

    And then again you may have just received two products that weren't put together correctly. Happens in manufacturing.  I would give Navien a shot again and see how the rep deals with you and the situation.
  • Supply House Rick
    Supply House Rick Member Posts: 1,404
    edited March 2010
    Navien vs RINNAI

    I'm takin' what they're given' cuz I'm working for a livin' (harmonica intro)

    Rick
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,487
    Rick, in fairness,

    and I realize you're trying to sell RINNAI here, how many complaints are we hearing about in this thread?



    I know you have your competitive juices flowing, but please keep in mind the rules about selling stuff here on the Wall.



    Thank you.
    Retired and loving it.
  • seabee570
    seabee570 Member Posts: 89
    problem

    It has been discussed before,if your sister had a water softner using salt for regeneration,it could have caused the problem. I worked at aa large commercial facility where a softned water was used to feed the water heater,and it caused tremendous damage to a lined tank. you should check with navien to see what the acceptable limits for softned water are. most manufacturers do not want soft water below a certain hardness...I mentioned this to someone else,and sure enough the water was below the recomended levels of hardness causing big problems.
  • scottieb123
    scottieb123 Member Posts: 7
    Case of the Mondays.....

    You all have to know that feeling when all did not go as planned on a Friday afternoon to complete a job that you thought for sure you were going to complete that day? That was the story of my Monday. Anyway, I was fortunate enough to get in touch with my local representative for Navien who was out on Friday with an illness that may have been a lot of the reason for my frustration vented through this thread. He assured me that we would get the unit replaced (pictured below), and not try to make me make endless repairs on a brand new, out of the box unit. Best news was that since the unit had never been operational and out of the box defective, he told me to have my Distributor handle the RGA homework which in my mind, saves a TON of aggrevation on a Monday. As you will see in the photos, there is clearly a split in the plastic 90 degree elbow and these photos are taken with only PARTIAL water pressure since it would have gotten all over my camera if I turned it on all the way. I am not trying to stir the pot here and get anyone in an uproar, just wanted to share an experience and pass this information on to those who find it useful. My name and integrity are held to high standards in my area of service and do not wish to have a Manufacturer demise the quality of work we provide with poor workmanship on their part. As I said, I have 10 out there, been called back on 3 to date, thats 30% call back rate which in my book is not very good. I will state that my local Representative and Distributor made for a much nicer Monday even though I never did get a call back from Navien America from the message I left this morning. 
    Scott Brown



    "Don't wish for less problems, wish for more knowledge"
  • scottieb123

    That looks like a definite "no-slouch" job,,, from what I see the install looks first-rate!  
  • scottieb123
    scottieb123 Member Posts: 7
    Thanks Dave!

    Many thanks for the comment, Dave! It has been a great little conversion, taking a long time customer from a "flooded" 500 gallon hot water storage tank piped into a summer/winter oil boiler to a new tankless setup like this makes everyone excited. We are anticipating a start up later this week when the replacement unit comes in, cannot wait to see how it performs! Perfect timing, the weather in the Northeast is going to be a golfer's delight so we will find out first hand in the next week on its performance. Thank you again!
    Scott Brown



    "Don't wish for less problems, wish for more knowledge"
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,487
    Thanks.

    And so you know, I contacted Navien last week to make them aware of this thread. They're following it. I hope that helps you.



    A lot of productive things come from this site when good people work together and keep their heads cool.



    Thanks.
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,487
    Scott,

    the guys who advertise in Find a Pro get to list their company names on their signature lines. As I said earlier, I'd welcome you as an advertiser, but in the meantime, please change your signature line. That's the fair thing to do for the guys who support the site by advertising with us, and it's also in keeping with the rules of this place.



    Thanks for understanding.
    Retired and loving it.
  • You`re welcome Scott,,,

    but remember,,, defects are a "fact of life",,, and crap-"for want of a better word"- happens,,,, I REALLY DON`T think you should get anyone`s back-up over this.
  • We cris crossed Dan,

    But I know what you meant ;-)
  • scottieb123
    scottieb123 Member Posts: 7
    New to "The Wall"

    Sorry Dan, again...... First time I have been on here in a very, very long time. Did not mean any harm, wanted to make sure I was not hiding behind anything I post on here. 
    Scott Brown



    "Don't wish for less problems, wish for more knowledge"
  • Timco
    Timco Member Posts: 3,040
    install

    Classy install, looks tight. Nice job! Let us know how this turns out, and if you will be using Navian again...



    Tim
    Just a guy running some pipes.
  • EJ hoffman
    EJ hoffman Member Posts: 126
    Awesome looking install

    You do nice work.  I bet they see savings exceeding 40%. 

    Are you neutralizing the condensate  and dumping or is the golf course saving the water?
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,487
    No worries.

    And even though you made the same mistake twice within this thread, I won't condemn you and tell the world that they should never buy from you. :-)



    We're all human, Scott. Everyone needs a little slack now and then.



    Thanks for understanding that.
    Retired and loving it.
  • NEO
    NEO Member Posts: 1
    ch180 problems

    THIS IS MY SECOND UNIT AT ONE LOCATION. I KEEP GETTING CODE 12 FLAME FAILURE IVE HAD 4 RGA NUMBERS ON TWO UNITS. IVE HAD REPS COME OUT TWICE AND VERIFY THE INSTALL MEETS SPECS. STILL NAVIEN SAYS I HAVE FUEL PRESSUDE PROBLEMS. ALL THOUGH IN THEIR MANUAL IT CLEARLY STATS IN HIGH FIRE YOU MUST HAVE 5-5.5" W.C. NG WHICH I HAVE 7.25" , THEY SAY THE THEIR IS A GAS PROBLEM. THEY SAY THE INLET PRESSURD CANT DROP MORE THEN 1" ON HIGH FIRE I DROP 1.5" NO WHERE IN THERE MANUAL DOES IT STATE THIS 1" SPEC. I HAVE PUT IN MANY DIFFERENT MANUFACTURES OF TANKLESS, BOILERS AND COMBI UNITS AND HAVE NEVER HAD TECH SUPPORT BE SO PERSISTANT ABOUT SOMETHING THAT DOESNT EXIST IN THERE SPECS. IF ANYTHING COMES OF THIS POST IS HOPEFULLY MORE ACCOUNTABILITY ON MFG SPECS
  • Henry
    Henry Member Posts: 996
    Instant heaters

    We learned our lessons in 2006! We do NOT install any instant hot water heaters or combos of such! They might work in Italy and the far east but NOT here!
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    They all work fine when

    They are installed and maintained properly. Physics works the same in Canada, Scotland, Italy, and even In the U.S.A. . As long as you follow the laws of physics you will do fine. As for specific codes and error messages you would be better posting that in it's own thread so it is seen by more eyes.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    proper application

    is the key IMO.  We see so many cases where a tankless was sold without really understanding either its capabilities or the customer's use pattern -- and that's without even counting the substandard installations.  We do recommend them for specific applications where we know they will meet expectations.  Once you explain to the customer what they can and can not do, and what to expect, they can make in informed decision.



    Out here in chunky water land, the small HX surfaces are quite unforgiving of anything less than proper maintenance.  If the customer is not willing to either pay for or perform that work on a regular basis, there _will_ be problems.
  • ColoradoDave
    ColoradoDave Member Posts: 54
    Rinnai

    I had the same issue with a Rinnai tankless a few years ago, Neo.

    Sure enough, I replaced the gas PRV and the unit's been flawless ever since.

    I'd start out with plenty of gas pressure, and as soon as the unit fired, it would drop by about 1.7" wc..... the longer the unit ran, the lower and lower the gas pressure would drop over the course of several minutes.  At the 3 minute mark when the unit would cycle to refire, I'd be down about 2.4" wc.

    The 1" drop in pressure at high fire is pretty common amongst the tankless water heaters and high efficiency boilers (Triangle Tube and Munchkin that I know of, but am told by tech reps that it's pretty standard).  YES, they should print that right in the manual, but they don't.
  • neo1
    neo1 Member Posts: 6
    ch180 UPDATE

    SO TODAY ANOTHER THE TOP REP COMES OUT TO SEE THE PROBLEM NAVIEN AND SAYS ITS OK TO HAVE THE 1-INCH PRESSURE DROP IN HIGH FIRE AS LONG AS I 'M NOT LOWER THEN 5.5-IN .MY INSTALL IS TO SPECS AND NOW THE UNIT WHINES LIKE A PIG I THINK SOME ON THE ASSEMBLY LINE FALLS ASLEEP ONCE IN A WHILE AS THEY ARE BEING PUT TOGETHER. I KNOW SOME MANUFACTURES HAVE GROWING PAINS . NAVIEN WILL HOPEFULLY REPLACE UNIT WITH NEW NEGATIVE PRESSURE GAS VALVE. I DID POINT OUT THE MFG SHOULD BE MORE DETAILED IN MANUALS. I ALWAYS LOOK AT THE SPECS OF THE UNIT I AM CONSIDERING TO INSTALL SO I BID THE JOB FOR ANY UPGRADES SUCH AS UP GRADES TO THE GAS LINE AND METER SET. I CAN THINK OF MANY OTHER UNITS I COULD OF PUT IN AND WALKED AWAY AND NOT HAVE A PROBLEM BESIDES ANNUAL P.M ,BUT I LIKE TO TRY DIFFERENT EQUIPMENT FROM TIME TO TIME TO KEEP UP WITH TECHNOLOGY. LUCKILY THIS WAS INSTALLED AT A FRIENDS DETACHED GARAGE SO HE IS SOME WHAT UNDERSTANDING. I WILL POST WHEN I GET THE NEW UNIT IN FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED
This discussion has been closed.