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Taking out a 3 yr old Navian..

heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
Install date- 3/2010 and the unit is not worth repairing... I have repaired this unit before, it had a board issue and a noise issue both of which we fixed and the parts were under warranty at the time. Now it is leaking and needs an HX, but the customer has had enough {I havent looked at the unit myself yet} but my tech says it looks brand new, just leaking... So the customer is going to have us replace the unit with a rinnai ru98i and a solo 60. I spoke with him on the phone, I am going to change the HX for free when we get it in, then he can EBay or c-list the Navian to recover some of his costs, he was happy about that...

Another one bites the dust, I also have a call on tomorrows book for a WM ultra the customer is sick of fixing and wants to replace {I'm not sure how old it is, but they haven't been making them for that long so it has to be way before its expected life...}

Its that time of the year when everyone that just wanted to get the season out of their system is calling in to get a new boiler/furnace/ect.... But I am seeing more and more customers that are sick of cold nights and want to switch to something more reliable than what they have.... The customer with the ultra wants a std cast iron gas boiler installed, he said he would prefer standing pilot lol, so the WM did a number on him, to go from HE to a bioler from the 70's...


  • TonySTonyS Member Posts: 849

    What are the water specs? PH /hardness /chlorides?
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    failed mod/cons

    make it harder for the good guys to attract customers.

  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    I have te water here to test, haven't done it yet, BUT

    they have city water, I was told they have never had any problems with hardness, taste or odor... That was the first thing I asked, before I replace a mod con with a mod con, I am going to make sure the water is not the issue... Although I am pretty familiar with this area and I am fairly certain water will test fine..

    Swei, I agree... You wouldn't believe how many customers Takagi and Bosch {older units} turned off of tankless water heaters, years ago, they were dying and having constant service issues {some of which was installer error} and the customers gave up on the technology through fear of being burnt twice, when there are decent units available.....

    I know my customer with the WM Ultra will never go High Efficiency again, he has been through the ringer, started with a not so great install, but nothing blatantly wrong that couldnt be fixed, I had to repipe a couple things. Then he also had board issues, and he had Indirect water tank issues with a bad super store {failed after 14 months}, I also tested his water after the SS leaked and it was fine {well water maintained by rain soft}... But I have to admit even with our best efforts he went a few nights with out heat, huddled next to an electric heater....

    The first call I went to his house for was the Super store because the original installer had enough with nuisance calls {I guess he called him out 3 or 4 times because the unit was not working and it was always a "loose wire"} and stopped returning his calls... So I replaced the tank and about a month later he had no heat, I went out there and there was hardley any gas psi, so I checked the meter and it was fine just no gas from the street, I checked the curb stop and everything was open just no gas, called national grid and it turned out the gas line had to be dug up because they did work down the street and debris made its way up to his line... I knew rite then he had bad heat luck, and its been a long road and a lot of bills for him, he had enough.... so back to a cast iron clunker he goes, I am going to make sure he never goes with out heat lol, I am installing back up circulators and an audible system alarm....
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 3,480
    Old design

    I truly don't understand how these giovanni and aluminum designs are holding on to such a big chunk of the market.

    The TT, Lochinvar, and Veissmann's are so much better.

    Do people just see the WM or Burnham names and jump right in?

    Utilities and contractors that push old designs are doing the industry and their customers a disservice.

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • ced48ced48 Member Posts: 383
    So, Assuming a Good Install-

    Will I, or not, regret replacing my old school boiler with a Lochinvar fire tube?
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 3,480
    Will not...

    We have TT units that have been in the field for 8 years.Aside from some minor control glitches on the early models they have been bombproof.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 11,337
    With issues like this

    I would have to disagree. If the units aren't holding up why do we want to put our customers thru this?

    True, in Europe they don't fix anything older than about five years, they completely replace it. But that's Europe, not America. Things are different here, including customer expectations.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    no worries

    That TT HX has a fantastic track record and Lochinvar supports what they sell.  Always liked their controls, but never really got comfortable with the Giannoni HX -- they really suffer with our hard water out here.
  • ChrisChris Member Posts: 3,056
    You Cannot Compare

    Mod/Cons built with Giannoni HX in them here in the US to those across the pond. Boilers are installed in much different applications and much friendlier design conditions never mind controlled differently over there.

    Here is the US we like on off, bang bang and bigger is better, (though we are getting better at the bigger is better theory. ) We like to abuse our heating equipment, not install in correctly and use a venting material that in my opinion adds to the wear and tear of the HX.

    There is much more to why a boiler fails or doesn't live out it's life expectancy then just it's construction type.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    much more to why a boiler fails

    absolutely -- could not agree more.

    Assuming the company behind it is worth having a relationship with, I'll go for the better/simpler/smarter design when I can.

    To give ced48 credit, he did say "Assuming a Good Install" which puts him light-years ahead of the pack.  Another truly unfortunate situation...
  • ced48ced48 Member Posts: 383

    What is the problem with venting/exhaust materials? What is the best material to use?
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    edited April 2013

    Lochinvar makes very good equipment, I prefer Triangle tube for a few reasons that have nothing to do with longevity or performance, more to do with my personal business plan...

    When the Ultras first came out I did install a few, and I have to say I did it 100% correct, and they had their problems, but I learned from my mistakes and moved on to another company, I installed Buderus GBs for a LONG time with very little issues, but now customers are asking for Stainless Steel and they go online and research Buderus and see people dont like the aluminum HE, so I now push the Triangle tube units, and so far so good, they are very solid, the old controls were trashy, but the new stuff is top notch, I wish they did 3 zone controls built in but 2 is better than one... Besides that there isn't much I would change about them, from a service stand point they are nice and easy to work on, the HE in my opinion is a really nice design, with the plastic collector and high flow makes it self cleaning, and in some cases being able to direct pipe it is very nice. Cant do it in all installs but when its possible I like to do it.. Plus the TT looks good, kind of big but its a good looking unit and control...
  • TomTom Member Posts: 455
    I see a few...

    Guys on this thread I would like to answer this question... If the customer is swapping a boiler and has 180 degree designed baseboard in the house and doesn't want to touch it, is a Weil Mclain GV90+ (of course assuming Btu's are spot on) and an on demand a good suggestion? I specifically mean is the GV a good choice? It's been bullet proof for years and it runs at 91-92% all the time. I get a lot of these jobs and feel for reliability and bang for your buck it's a good choice. Ideas?

    Sorry to highjack the thread a bit.
    Montpelier Vt
  • knotgrumpyknotgrumpy Member Posts: 207
    edited April 2013
    How in the Sam Hill

    Does 5 years out of a $3000+ boiler make any sense?  I saw Dan mention 10 years and out in Europe on his report on the ISH on mandated condensing appliances.

    If the goal is efficiency, does not seem very efficient to do this.  If the goal is environmentalism - same thing.

    I am stumped, but still Knotgrumpy.

    Link to Dan's article:
  • ChrisChris Member Posts: 3,056
    How Did We Determine

    That the baseboard was designed to run 180? I will assume there was a heat loss and heat emitter calculation done and compared to the heat loss by zone to determine the water temp so I'll give my 2 pennies.

    First, baseboard would only need 180 degree water on the coldest day of the year so that happens about once a season but I'll give you twice. You didn't mention that the boiler was on outdoor reset so I take it you don't have it running on ODR.

    I'm not a big fan or get too caught up with combustion efficiency because it means nothing when your system efficiency is poo poo. When system efficiency is poo poo then that combustion test is a liar because your not running the boiler under real time conditions and more then likely never making it to steady state on a normal call for heat. It's not a modulating boiler so the same btu/hr is made in Sept as it is in Jan and if you can't use it you wasted it and the boiler is short cycling.

    This has nothing to do with the boiler of choice. It all has to do with design and installation.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • ChrisChris Member Posts: 3,056

    In my opinion Chlorides leach back. If the melting point of PVC is 176 then it's more then probable they play some role in the derogation of a stainless HX. I'll hang my hat on those rocket scientists in the Viessmann Germany lab's thoughts and stick with the Polypropylene.

    There has to be a reason why a mfg who produces 400,000 units in condensing wall hungs alone in a year just out of one facility doesn't want it.

    PS.... The entire US market is only 400,000 boilers a year combined. The Viessmann Allendorf facility produces 2,000 condensing boilers a day with 200 working days in a year and we haven't counted the plant in China that produces for Asia..
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    edited April 2013
    Tom to answer you question, unlike Chris..

    LOL, Chris is very intelligent but like me sometimes {OK, almost all the time}, like to either answer questions with 5 more questions or tend to rip the question apart into 5 layers that aren't really there... But in either case, to answer your question about the WM gv90, to me when you go high efficiency, go high efficiency, people that install navian, gv90's, ect that top out around 91% get all the down falls of a 90+ {down fall may not be the rite word} with only a small piece of the benefit.... So I know the GVs are X amount off the shelf, the TT solo boilers are only around $800 more and will give you it all {"it all" may be the wrong phrase}...

    So to answer your question, NO, I don't think its the best choice, in my honest opinion I would go with a WM CG series boiler and have something that needs no maintenance, can be installed by a monkey, costs about as low as a boiler can cost, loves 180* supply temps with high returns, and will last longer than most anything else on the market, not to mention it will get you 86% pretty easily, and can be setup with ODR and all the toys, on really big loads you can cascade them and run them in stages, they also go about as low in the output scale as you can get a boiler {cgi2.5's output is like 35K, perfect for more properties than you would think, I like them lil boilers, I bet I installed over 100 of them, I did an 8 family property with 9 of them all in one boiler room, 9 boilers installed in 1 day :) FUN...

    OK, that is another bad habit of mine, I tend to get off track and ramble, sorry... Hope I answered your question...

    PS as Chris said, the most important factor in a good boiler is the install. The key to that is a good installer, he or she will pick the rite boiler depending on a lot of different factors {unit location, size, emitters, budget, water quality, uses, expectations, heat loss, ect}, then he or she will install it using quality and time proven materials, with isolation valves and place the unit and components in a safe, properly vented, location that makes them easily serviceable. After all of that is done he or she will tune and place the unit into service checking every function from start to finish... And even after a well trained quality tech does all these things you will still get problems...

    I installed a Rinnai unit Thursday, did everything rite, installed a filter before it the unit, mounted the unit on a painted back board with valves and copper to the ceiling that has 2 sets of painted unistrut holding it to the board, installed a surge protector, installed a co detector and firomatic with a new power service with a switch/outlet receptacle and made sure everything was perfect {my Rinnai installs look like they came out of the flyer, just add the women with the towel wrapped around her and the steamy bathroom}. And I still got a call back, the breaker I installed in the panel flipped, I go back and it wont stay on, I checked the lines for shorts, put a new breaker and it has been fine ever since, just a bad breaker, when I took it back to the supply house where I bought it earlier because it was an odd ball I didn't have {thats why I bought 2} he said they have had problems with them... So you can do everything rite, and still have something go wrong...
  • TonySTonyS Member Posts: 849
    Lets not forget

    We also have condensing furnaces, lots of em. All vented with PVC and I see alot of them go over 25 years. You can easily measure the Chlorides in water. I am sure the condensate coming back in PVC pipe is well below what would be considered damaging to stainless steel.
  • ChrisChris Member Posts: 3,056
    Your Right Tony

    But one misleading factor, stack temps in a furnace are down in the 120 range consistently. Well below the melting point of PVC. In a boiler application you spend more time then you think with a stack temp above 176. Domestic Hot Water for one. Stack temps in a condensing boiler tend to track 20-25 degrees above boiler return water temp in a clean boiler.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • ChrisChris Member Posts: 3,056

    Come on Heat. Must be something in the water in RI. I am a fellow born and raised member of the Red Chicken Club . Use to love going to the Civic Center to watch them when I was a kid..Miss good ole Rocky Point too..
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991

    except now the civic center is the Dunkn donuts center {which makes no sense everyone knows donuts have no center} and Rocky Point is long gone {My uncle actually now owns the old bull ride that used to be there}... And Buddy is no longer mayor, lol {who would have thought that could happen}....

    I no longer live in RI, although work there and still own more rental property than I would like to there.. Now in CT just about 35 minutes from Providence, nice and quiet and my taxes arent $2K a month...
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    I also prefer TT

    for several reasons.  It started with their decision almost a decade ago to buck the trend and start from scratch with good engineering on a new HX design.  The way they handle their contractor and rep relationships has been good, especially the business model they now use for their factory training program.  Top notch all the way.

    The recent influx of me-too firetube boilers has validated the superiority of their HX design and made those benefits available to much wider audience, which may cost them a bit in the short term.  Lochinvar's controls are now paired with the original TT HX in the WHN/WHP models, and offer options that even the new TriMax does not (specifically boiler pump speed control and a soon-to-be-available BACnet card.)  Lochinvar also has a lower minimum firing rate (11k) on the WHN055 (versus TT's 16k on the PTS60.)  The underlying reason is that TT has a single spares kit that covers almost every boiler they make.  This makes it super easy for a small contractor to properly service and support his customers, and I applaud them for doing so.

    There's also the new TT HX design.  When I look at their history and speak with their engineers I believe they may well be raising the bar yet again.  In a few years we will know for sure.  I hope they do.
  • ChrisChris Member Posts: 3,056

    My father and grandfather were portuguese fisherman out of Stonington. Spent many a day on the ocean hauling lobsters and many a day making those pots the old fashion way, lads, cement and funnels we made by hand. Miss those days.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Venting materials

    Jumping in here after this thread forked at least three ways...

    Engineering consensus these days points at polypropylene being the best currently available venting material for condensing appliances.  I tend to agree, but its newness and lack of competition here have created some real market challenges.

    I suspect the cost delta between Category III and IV venting currently drives more condensing appliance sales than differences in performance do.
  • TomTom Member Posts: 455
    Thanks for the input

    I have a really hard time not putting in a known bullet proof reliable boiler at 92% efficient, or a 95% efficient boiler that will need attention in the first 5 years. That is a pretty general statement I know but it seems the case in MOST high efficiency boilers.

    Do you really think at design temp of 180 degrees in a cold climate with just baseboard and domestic the higher efficiencies are worth the difference? If it's my house I am leaning toward bulletproof and get what I can I get for savings.
    Montpelier Vt
  • ChrisChris Member Posts: 3,056
    I Do But I Don't

    Understand your logic about maintenance. Look in the driveway at the worst investment we make as a consumer. Do you shop for the car that needs the less maintenance? Do you make sure your oil changes and tire rotation happen like clock work? They both have a serious effect on your fuel consumption.

    I just feel the maintenance argument is over stated and penny foolish. All boilers need annual maintenance and every installation manual I know states it. A good installer know matter the type of boiler installed should do a first year maintenance after a new installation. At that time he may determine based on what he finds that he may wait 2 years for the next maintenance and then after that visit determine whether an annual is needed.

    Every installation is different, unique to it's own environment and should be treated as such in my opinion.

    As for the 180 degree water at design. That might happen twice a year. If you did a heat loss, calculated the needed water temp at design, pulled the last three years of weather data you'd probably find that the boiler would operate in the 150-140 degree range for the majority of the season.

    There is a study that was done by Brookhaven on just this subject which is attached.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • HomeOwner1HomeOwner1 Member Posts: 134
    Which model?

    We just installed one, so wondering which model this was? Was it the copper or stainless model? CH-180, 210, 240? ASME or non-ASME?

    We spoke to some folks familiar with them and back at that time they had two different flavors offered during our research. One for residential with a copper heat exchanger and inferior construction. Then a commercial version was offered with stainless. We were told they got rid of the residential version and made updates to the commercial. We were also advised to stay away from the CH-180 and keep with either the 210 or 240.

    Supposedly, the early units had some issues and folks with the older units were upgraded to the ASME commercial version for free at this point. Not sure of any details though, just hearsay. From our understanding, the 2010 models may fall into those early growing pain years during initial market introduction.

    Any observations with the newer ones manufactured in late 2012 and 2013?

    Good luck and thanks again.
  • TonySTonyS Member Posts: 849
    I dont know exactly who

    the Europeans are, Germans , French, Greeks, Italians. But I do know that if we are talking about Germans, they still use a significant amount of Buderus cast iron boilers.
  • ced48ced48 Member Posts: 383
    What About CPVC

    Won't it's higher melting point eliminate any chance of breakdown?
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    has much higher working temps than PVC, but contains even more chlorides.  A few manufacturers specify it for the first X feet of exhaust flue, which is probably a good idea for many installs.  It costs a LOT more than PVC does, sometimes more than PP.  I hope the PP prices come down a bit.
  • GordanGordan Member Posts: 891
    I'm sure that specifics matter, but...

    What boilers have this wide a gap between return water temps and stack temps? I typically see a few degrees difference max on fire tube designs.
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    stack temps

    within a couple degrees of SWT are the norm here as well.  That said, 186F for DHW is the TT default, and I do notice the PVC getting a bit yellower on high temp systems.
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    edited May 2013

    I on a new install I offer a free 1 year service and checkup... Heres how I see it.... If annual service averages $200 a year {which is fair for a wm ultra or any oil fired unit, ect}, but when I install a conventional gas furnace or a gas boiler, the truth of the matter is they may go 20 years with out needing a thing, no cleanings or check ups... Now if the customer wants that peace of mind that is fine for both of us, but if they ask my honest opinion I have to say conventional gas boiler or furnace can go 20+ years with out service so that 20X200 is $4000 saved over the life of the unit... Me coming out to look at it and wipe the dust off the jacket is just a waste of time and money... Chances are if a circ or control is going to go, I am not going to see it on its way out..... so boiler preventive maint, is kind of a joke, now of course some equipment like oil and the ultras ect need yearly service and parts changed, but to me that $4000 makes up for the eff. difference in a gas boiler....

    Chris I can not count, how many gas boilers and furnaces I did 20 years ago and have not touched or needed to be touched. I just changed a boiler we did in 1987, in all them years we only went back once to change a circulator, high vent, and pressure relief valve {also installed a lwco at that time}, the boiler wasnt even leaking yet, but they wanted it changed and they got a WM cgs for the new boiler, and Im confident I wont be back for another 25 years.... If I said that about a mod con my nose would shoot off my face and grow a leaf....
  • ced48ced48 Member Posts: 383
    Okay, What About

    running the first 10 feet in PP, finishing with PVC?
  • TomTom Member Posts: 455

    This is northern Vermont, 180 degree water temp is seen a bit more than a day or two a year. I think we see periods of cold dropping to -10 or lower for weeks at a time. I agree if heat loss was done by me on the initial install and I sized it for lower water temps it would be a high efficiency unit, but the fact is the baseboard is in place and more often than not they don't want that touched. I guess I like the simplicity and reliability of the GV, coupled with the price, and the ease of install it makes a pretty cost effective and nice option for a low budget boiler swap.
    Montpelier Vt
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991

    If your design days are -10 up there sometimes them houses will have way too much baseboard....

    But I think you would be better served with a boiler getting 86% vs the gv90, they seem to have their share of problems, and with temps in the -teens you cant go long waiting for parts to come by mail with out pipes freezing, although most houses I seen up there have aux, wood, coal, ect, its still a pita...

    With a regular cast iron 80+ you will spend a little less on the install and have that reliability and peace of mind, plus less service in general....

    now if you are having great luck withthe Gv's you know better than me, I never really got into them, but I do read a lot of problems online and heard a few local thins around here as well as had to repair a few myself...

    Weil McLain is a good company, but they burnt me with the Ultras {I learned fast though}, the gold oils were a joke {plug up if a cat walks by the burner}, and their WM burners left a lot to be desired.... But I do like their small gas fired cast iron boilers, they work well and last a long time.....
  • ChrisChris Member Posts: 3,056

    This product is not that expensive. No where need the price of AL24C pipe. Can't discuss pricing so we will have leave it at that.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
This discussion has been closed.


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