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Buderus indirect H/W ST200, 7 years old, coil shot, installer says Bosch won't honor warranty?

Hi everybody,

Something about this situation strikes me as just not right. The guy who services my boiler (who is a good friend employed by the guys who installed my boiler) tells me my coil has a leak, I'm gonna have to buy a new heater. I don't doubt the coil is leaking, becasue when I vent the pressure on the system with the water supply to the tank shut down (but supply to the boiler open) the pressure remains constant, but as soon as I turn on the feed to the tank the boiler's pressure valve jumps from 40psi to 60. We replaced the pressure valve and expansion tank to the w/h becasue its pressure valve was leaking last year, but suspected we had a pinhole in the coil. New symptoms confirm.

THe only reason we let it go since then was he tells me my lifetime warranty is no good. I'll have to buy a new one. WHAT! the pricey top of the line W/H that I bought BECAUSE it has a warranty and now, in les sthan 7 years its junk and you're telling me I'm SOL?

He says yeah, but we've been having the same problem all over, Bosch bought buderus and won't honor the warranty, the guy who owns the company and does the installations is stuck, there's nothing he can do, it's happened before, you're going to have to buy a new one.

Now this doesn't make sense to me becasue Bosch bought buderus in 2004, 4 years before my installation, so Bosch WAS the company the issued the warranty. I don't do HVAC, but I do a lot of construction and I've had excellent interactions with their customer support/warranty on their power tools.
Anyone else have any trouble with Buderus products/warranty replacement? Installer is a licensed contractor, 3 generation mom and pop shop (although I don't let the kid touch anything, lol, grandpa did my instal) who's been working with my family for 40 years, install service and oil delivery.

Comments

  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    Yep had problems with Buderus indirects but forget model number.Only twice mind you but on both occasions customers were not happy.Installs were done correctly but company would not step up.Very disappointed.
  • Turbosaurus
    Turbosaurus Member Posts: 6
    Thanks Jonny,
    Were yours this young? supposed to be full replacement within 8 years.

    If we can't get them to honor warranty and I have to buy a new one, they're obviously not getting my business a second time. Who's indirect heaters do you recommend?
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    Yes unfortunatly they were this young.Everyone has their preferencesI have an Alliance in my house which is ok,Superstore is popular where I live.Burnham Alliance is made by Vaughn I believe just with a different jacket.
  • Turbosaurus
    Turbosaurus Member Posts: 6
    Any idea who's warranty means something?

    I'm trying to go through the fine print from various manufacturers and I notice a lot of legal-ease, some guarantee the TANK, but don't say anything about the coil, some (like buderus) say they guarantee it, but then won't, some cover labor and some don't and some even want the old tank shipped back for inspection at the owner's expense - not to mention I have tenants below me who are flippin out, I might have to put them up in a hotel until this is solved, so I can't really afford a protracted battle.

    I like my boiler contractor- but last time he made assurances it turned out he didn't do his "due diligence."
  • Michael Welch
    Michael Welch Member Posts: 43
    The most common reason that Buderus does not honor a warranty is because the anode rod in the tank has not been properly maintained per manufacturers specifications. If you follow the recommended inspection and replacement of the anode rod you will not have any warranty issues.
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    who said anode rod was not replaced.I havent seen a rep come to a site for a visit.And no I will not send it to them on my dime.
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,782
    edited May 2015
    I have had the same issues.... S120 indirect. Pinhole in coil. Blows PRV on boiler. Anode is still intact & fine.
    Buderus wont do anything....
    I have had lots of issues w/ their Ariston mini tanks too.. goes by the name Trionic now. . Junk.
    I have now pretty much have stopped using their products... oil boilers (115 series) , gas greenstar boilers and panel rads.

    For Indirects I have been using the new Bradford White Power stor ( 3 anodes) and the HTP Pro...all stainless.
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,385
    We have replaced quite a few Buderus tanks, the warranty is basically useless. after 6 or 7 yrs you only get very little. I pretty much always steer customers away from getting the pittance and go to stainless indirect. Usually Lochinvar SIT indirect or sometimes superstor by heat transfer. Just has proven to us to be better over last 10 yrs of using these. Good luck
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,417
    Try the NTI Trin n Stor or Viessmann VitoCell 300 tanks. You won't have replacement issues.
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,589
    Had a 4 year old S120 a couple years ago that warranty became an issue . Manganese levels after the tank . Where did it come from . This tank and GB142 were serviced regularly . Customer took water samples from water meter , boiler water and after tank . Tests are inexpensive when you think about what you will spend on new tank . He sent results supported by hard numbers to Londonderry and within short order had a new tank . He did upgrade to an SST120 . But the point is that if you don't hold them accountable the expectation of results is a pissing match . Send them results from water on all sides of that coil and they'll do the right thing . If not , you're just one of thousands of fools that did not take the proper precautions or perform the maintenance. Invoices from the maintenance visits and water quality verification can't be beat . Not a bad ideas to know what your water is like either , even if it is city water , you'd be surprised .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    Rich said:

    Had a 4 year old S120 a couple years ago that warranty became an issue . Manganese levels after the tank . Where did it come from . This tank and GB142 were serviced regularly . Customer took water samples from water meter , boiler water and after tank . Tests are inexpensive when you think about what you will spend on new tank . He sent results supported by hard numbers to Londonderry and within short order had a new tank . He did upgrade to an SST120 . But the point is that if you don't hold them accountable the expectation of results is a pissing match . Send them results from water on all sides of that coil and they'll do the right thing . If not , you're just one of thousands of fools that did not take the proper precautions or perform the maintenance. Invoices from the maintenance visits and water quality verification can't be beat . Not a bad ideas to know what your water is like either , even if it is city water , you'd be surprised .

    How many of you change anodes and do water tests annually? In a perfect world there would be an anode meter on the tank and a push to test water quality meter. Until then, manufacturers will just lose customers to other manufacturers by not honoring warranties. Once you lose a customer you rarely get them back that goes for both contractors and manufacturers. How you handle an issue is what can make or break you.
  • Turbosaurus
    Turbosaurus Member Posts: 6
    Thank's Michael. So you've dealt with their warranty claims and gotten results?

    Johnny, mailing the anode seems like a major PITA, but not unmanageable. I've been reading warranties, some companies can require shipping the entire w/h on the customer's dime. Even then we're still talking about $1,800 + labor replacement (retail) without warranty.
    I'll pay the $50 to overnight the annode. I get that they have to protect themselves too.
    The idea I'm gonna bite a $3-4k bullet without the exact details of the why and who that's holding the gun in my mouth? not gonna happen.

    I plumbed a hose to the pressure relief valve to the exterior so I can run supervised hot water for a couple hours every evening and morning without flooding the house- at least temporarily so I can't be pressured (no pun intended) to just buy a new one for convenience sake.

    I'll let you know how it goes, but I am still interested in other people's experiences- sucessful and not, with Buderus
  • Turbosaurus
    Turbosaurus Member Posts: 6
    THanks everybody for your feedback- here's the end result (that took FOUR WEEKS to get a response, no one at Buderus or the wholesaler would talk to me) and its some pretty effed up math.

    Turns out my math was wrong, its 8 years and 3 weeks old, which puts in in its 9th year. In the 9th year there is a limited lifetime warranty. 60% paid by purchaser- which you think would mean I'd pay 60% of a new unit- but that's not the case.
    The purchaser is responsible for 60% of LIST price, so what Buderus does is give the wholesaler a discount equal to the difference between the wholesale price of the unit and 60% of the RETAIL price of the unit, a $205 discount.
    So I will pay 60% of RETAIL (which includes the mark up) to Buderus, PLUS the full retail mark up to the distributor who got paid the full mark up on the original unit, PLUS full boat to the installer, all in, just shy of $2,000.
    The net effect is that I went a month without working hot water in order to find out I will pay 90% of what a new boiler without a discount would cost me, AND I will not get a new warranty- The BEST part is they tried to convince me to buy the new unit and install it then submit for warranty coverage without explaining the farkakte math in advance. Glad I didn't do that.

    So, I love my boiler guy, but I don't see how after this debacle he can expect 100% of the cost of a new install, the wholesaler can expect 100% of their mark up on a new sale and Buderus can expect 60% of cost PLUS 60% of retail mark up for a new unit. The idea that I take in it the keister and everyone else reaps the rewards of new business is preposterous. Everyone (except me) will benefit from faulty materials is a clear conflict of interest, so I am hiring a new installer.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,208
    It wasn't always like this.

    In the late 70's I owned a pair of EPI 100 speakers that were pretty well thought of in the 70's. I also owned a Revox A77 tape recorder that had a faulty filter that allowed high frequency bias to ride on top of the audio output. The 80 watt amplifier I was using had flat output out to about 100KHZ; without realizing why I fried the tweeters on my loudspeakers.

    Once I realized what happened I repaired the tape recorder (tarnished relay contacts) and I contacted EPI to get my 9 year old speakers fixed. I explained exactly what happened and asked them to examine the speakers and tell me how much it would cost to fix them, I enclosed a complete explanation when i shipped the speakers back to Newburyport for repair.

    About 10 days later I got a call from my shipping department telling me the speakers were in shipping. i opened them and found a note telling me the speakers had been fixed under the 10 year warranty and they told me I could submit a bill for the cost of shipping the speakers back for repair they would cover that as well.

    I called them and told them I had shipped them from work so there was no cost to me and I thanked them for their great service.

    There was time when companies stood behind their product and would do anything they could to keep the customer happy. That was before they all got owned by bean counters who worship the bottom line above all else.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Turbosaurus
    Turbosaurus Member Posts: 6
    I feel bad, becasue Frankie is a good guy, and I'd like to give him the business.. BUT- I certainly learned a lesson from all this, and I think its important everyone learn something. Namely- if you pass along a promise to your customer, saying I only mislead you because they mislead me, or I didn't read or understand the fine print, Sorry! is not going to get you repeat business. After this, I'm sure he will stop using Buderus (which he says he's already done) and maybe Buderus will learn something - or end up out of business.
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,589
    Bosch-Buderus will certainly not end up out of business . Problem is that most manufacturers are acutely aware of the lack of qualified installers in the States . They are also aware that the required maintenance does not regularly happen . The contractor should take responsibility for his lack of product knowledge and quite possibly that he has no clue what he is doing , his grandfather either being as this business has evolved a whole lot . Quality contractors visit factories , know process and materials quality and choose to install quality stuff as opposed to what the local supplier has on the shelf and will have to do . Plain and simple fact is anode rods need to be replaced , hat exchangers need to be cleaned , water quality needs to be verified , glycol ( if used) needs to be changed . If you are not doing these things , you are up Schitt's Creek . If you're contractor does not tell you these things the water in the creek is deeper . Bosch-Buderus is a quality company who makes quality products . You have the S120 prbably because budget was a concern and/or your contractor wanted more profit so sold you the glass lined budget tank as opposed to a quality SS unit .
    Do car manufacturers give you a new car or even pro rate the warranty when no oil changes , tune ups , lubrication has been performed on the vehicle you bought from them and drove because it had a 100,000 mile warranty ? NO . And they should not , you also have a responsibility . I have gone through this with manufacturers , I sent them service tickets , water test results from periodically and pictures of the installs , at that point their defensive stance is removed and you get new stuff . Our customers are all told that these maintenance issues need to be addressed and they ask if we will remind them . they are told no because I would have to hire another full time employee to make those reminder calls and keep up with all that , then my price needs to get raised .
    Remember , if you call 100 heating contractors you may find 3 who know what they are doing and willing to do it right . here is the problem , they will be the most expensive guys and most will not hire them because of this . Then they too will be here complaining about a quality 275 year old company and how they suck .

    Good luck to you .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
    Canucker
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,417
    I'd generally agree, Rich. Although I'm not sure how Buderus defines "quality". I've replaced most of the Buderus steel tanks we installed in the early to mid-90's. I learned that just because it's German, doesn't necessarily mean "forever". Only stainless tanks, and particularly those made from 316ti have long service lives. Since better tanks cost more and only Viessmann makes theirs from 316ti, many consumers and contractors assume it's just not worth it. There are always choices to be made and selecting equipment can be fraught with making an investment in higher cost products. That's why Kia is able to sell cars in the US.
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,589
    So you agree Paul . i think that is basically what I stated .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • 2knackered
    2knackered Member Posts: 3
    Hi All, came across website when searching for indirect domestic water heater. I have an Orlan boiler, works well but should have bought larger model. Any how, I generally agree with getting what you pay for but would have expected a little more co-operation from Buderus. Back when i was processing milk the municipal water acquired and delivered contamination which basically wrecked my boiler. I had used water quality testing and treatment for several years and insurance inspector was well pleased with annual inspections until this one time when extraneous scale had built up causing overheating damage so he shut it down. I sued the water co. and they shelled out big bucks for a new 750 pounds/hour boiler.
    On another note, back in the 1970's i hired a good outfit to install 2 natural gas/ water central heating systems. The 150K Btu boiler was becoming obsolete and less efficient than recent models so was changed for efficiency and serviceability reasons and apart from that both systems contain the original water and corrosion inhibitor. Put another way.. cheap is often expensive and vice versa.
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,223
    We try to recommend anodes for our customers with Buderus tanks. I'd guess 6 out of 10 will take us up on our advice.

    We've replaced Buderus water heaters maybe 3 times over the years, the full price was eventually credited and we sent the money back to the customer. So we just charged labor. We haven't had a leaker in years, but now that we have this thread going....

    Seems like the plumbing heating guy is at an interesting cross road, if the product fails the home owner knows they can send more grief to the local working man then the manufacturer.

    I've adopted a simple philosophy, people who buy a system and have annual maintenance from us are tippy top, we do warranty stuff at reduced costs or sometimes 100% free. Then the install customer but we haven't heard from them in years, we pull strings but not the level of the tippy top. Then the Service Only customer, pays the normal rates.

    It's an interesting world, it would be cool if there was a way for homeowners to know when it's good and when it's not so good to hire the cheap guy.

    Several times a year we get that special call, "Gary gave me a quote two years ago but I went with a cheaper option. The installer can't/won't come and fix the issues, can you guys come please?". 9 times out of 10 I politely decline their invitation.

    Gary
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,865
    It has to do with water quality, maintenance, operating temperature and product quality

    Plenty of glass lined indirect and direct fired tanks live 20 years.

    Certain water quality conditions will cause stainless tanks to fail, read the installation manual for those limitations. Pay particular attention to chlorides with SS
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    SWEI
  • dsavage1913
    dsavage1913 Member Posts: 1
    We have a Boderus furnace and the Boderus ST-200 water heater. Since 2007 we have paid our oil company to service our heating system annually. We assumed the water heater was part of this annual service plan? Our water heater has now failed and needs to be replaced. Doesn't look like Boderus will stand by their warranty? We did replace the annode rod last year but nobody every mentioned this should be replaced regularly or even inspected regularly. We thought we were doing everything right but obviously not.
  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,290
    We've replaced every ST series Buderus tank we installed with the exception of an ST-300 in a 6 unit apartment building.
    Every single one developed holes in the coil. The tank did not perforate.
    In some the anode was gone, in some it looked like you could wipe it off and sell it for new.
    Buderus wouldn't honor any warranty other than the percentage off LIST price...which is ginormous $$$$.$$

    Needless to say we don't install them any more because to me, the number of failures indicate there was a problem with or in the manufacturing process.

    As to responsibility in this case, I think 100% of it lies with the manufacturer. My reasoning is based solely on the fact that so many failed. I wouldn't hold your installers feet to the fire for something over which he had no control.

    On another note.... anode rods seem to be an industry wide problem. There are no on shore manufacturers left in the US from what I've been told. Everything is coming from Asia and quality control is poor at best. This is popping up across the oil field and refining industry, process heating systems, and others related to water and chemicals.
    kcopp
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    Went through this with a friends customer.Coil was shot after 6yrs but sorry to tell you Buderus gave customer a free tank but would not warranty labor claim.It also helped that my friend knew the people at Buderus quiet well and that helped a lot.Needless to say I would not touch one after this and a few other episodes.
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    Unfortunatly the lady is in her 80's and 6yrs ago Budures had a good name.If it was not for my friends involvement they would have wanted tank back then you buy the same tank and if they find fault they will reimburse.Really considering going back to water heaters and atmospheric boilers.But that is for another thread.Bottom line to get your warranty pushed through quickly you have to know a rep very well at least thats my experience/
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,865
    being an un-fired vessel, an indirect really should long out live a gas fired HW tank. Either material quality or assembly issues, or very aggressive fluid?

    I have seen the stone lined Vaughn and Ford tank go 30 years or more.

    Just lifting a modern day 50 gallon WH feels like some metal and glass thickness has been removed? Maybe they truly have engineered a 5 year tank :)
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    SWEI
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,865

    hot rod said:



    Just lifting a modern day 50 gallon WH feels like some metal and glass thickness has been removed? Maybe they truly have engineered a 5 year tank :)

    6 year.............that's the warranty. They fail at 6 years and three months. ;)

    Was a time when some extra bucks would buy you a 10 year warranty tank. Best I could tell nothing changed in the tank, just the manufacturer playing the odds.

    Then contractors caught onto that profit center and offered the 10 year warranty and put the up-sell bucks in their pockets.

    Odds of the same people being in that house 10 years played into their favor also.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,782
    Brad-White offers a lifetime on their Indirect WH... 3 anode rods. It is pretty heavy.
    jonny88
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    hot rod said:

    Was a time when some extra bucks would buy you a 10 year warranty tank. Best I could tell nothing changed in the tank, just the manufacturer playing the odds.

    At one time, the longer warranty got you two anode rods, versus one in the standard tank.
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    I'm seeing Buderus drying up in my area. My main wholesaler has stopped stocking units of any kind. I've seen the winds change since Bosch took over. Boy, they really came hard out of the gate 10-15 years ago.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,865
    Shameless plug.
    The Caleffi solar/ indirect tanks are built in the US
    12 gauge tank 7 gauge heads, 15 mil porcelain coated, 2" spray foam 21- 24 gauge jacket. And 30- 36 feet of 1-1/2" smooth coil. There are a few other brands still offering heavy, quality, US built tanks.

    Still, you need to know the water conditions in the tank and in the coil to assure the tank has a reasonable chance of a long healthy life.

    In some water conditions, stainless may be a better answer, just watch the chloride levels that the manufacturer lists.

    The amount of water passing through the tank, as well as the operating temperature range all play into the life expectancy.

    High operating temperatures present more expansion and contraction and some minerals precipitate out at a higher rate at elevated temperatures. That is the case in the boiler water side and potable.

    If it wasn't for that pesky bacteria issue a properly size tank operating at 120, and the mod con boiler driving it at 140 SWT, you would have an efficient and potentially long lived tank.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream