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Best guess on why the HTP Phoenix light is non gas convertible?

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Teemok
Teemok Member, Email Confirmation Posts: 511
My customer had an 8 year old tank leak into the HX. No warranty and there's not a replacement LP unit for thousands of miles around and a conversion kit is not even made.
Typical HTP. Why, why? I fear it's by design.

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  • Teemok
    Teemok Member, Email Confirmation Posts: 511
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    Not word? ...wait; do you all work for HTP?

    No, I doubt that. I admit it, it's boring. The frustration was fresh. No more complaining.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,254
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    There was a period of time when many of the boilers had to be ordered as LP or Nat. Manufacturers did not want field conversions. But now kits are available to field convert them. I think Lochinvar sends the kit along with caution stickers to be added?
    Some brands it is the flick of a lever, and I thought I saw a brand recently where the control adjusts between fuels.

    And was a time when peening and re-drilling orifices was acceptable. The fuel providers would often do it for you. At least in my area.

    In the early HTP days, Voyagers, Munchkins, you could get a Co detector from them to check levels. It was an AIM brand belt clip model as I recall. Came with a tube to stick into the flue pipe.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Teemok
    Teemok Member, Email Confirmation Posts: 511
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    I remember those times. I had a Bacharach brick. I got to the point that I could tune by flame color and shape on some equipment very close to spec. and then check with the tool obviously.
    This appliance uses three LP specific parts. Two silicone pre-burner gaskets, cheap enough to include in a kit and a specific control board. Not so cheap. Why there's not a dip switch is pure......... I was happy to be able to swap the 8 year old parts to get my customer hot water fast and the guys at HTP assured me the parts warranty would be whole for a year.
    To add insult to irritation, when I saw that the previous installer ran the recirc. line to the Aux. port at the top of the tank, I said, well that's wrong. Now when the existing recirc. line check leaks by, it has cold water leaking by instead hot from the top of tank. It takes 8 mins. in the shower for the cold water to reach them diluting things. Call back, easy fix. Smile, it's only an hour drive.
    Why there are zero LP units available in my dealers network probably has some HTP drama behind it that I don't want to know about. Next time: NO, I will not install the same HTP thing. I will not trust the well meaning person at the counter on Sat. that says, oh yes, the PH7650 comes with the LP conversion kit like most other units on the market. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. :D
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,737
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    So ultimately you bought the kit as separate pieces but since one of them was different firmware it was kind of pricey?
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes Member Posts: 4,043
    edited October 2023
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    Ariston bought HTP. Could be they are just streamlining and not supporting older equipment.

    To add insult to irritation, when I saw that the previous installer ran the recirc. line to the Aux. port at the top of the tank, I said, well that's wrong. Now when the existing recirc. line check leaks by, it has cold water leaking by instead hot from the top of tank. It takes 8 mins. in the shower for the cold water to reach them diluting things. Call back, easy fix. Smile, it's only an hour drive.
    So, you replaced the check valve and all was fine?
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • Teemok
    Teemok Member, Email Confirmation Posts: 511
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    @mattmia2 No LP conversion kits were available at all, anywhere, ever. I was replacing the exact same unit that was 8 years old (leaking HX). They wouldn't warranty it because the customer was never informed about registration. The application is well suited for this type of water heater, low crawl space, very long recirc. and fast tub fill needs.

    I looked up the differences in part numbers and swapped them over.
    I offered, recommended, pleaded with the customer for a tank-less install but the customer wanted the same unit. She had cold water sandwich fears due to the very long recirc. It worked well for 8 years.
    Fixed? Tell you in a few hours.
    HTP has always had a certain mode of operation with design, problems and parts. It's not an easy business, making condensing gas appliances. It's very easy to be a cynical critic.
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes Member Posts: 4,043
    edited October 2023
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    Why not an electric low boy?  Recovery rate is not great, but OK for one or two people. 
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • Teemok
    Teemok Member, Email Confirmation Posts: 511
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    4,300 sqft sprawling hill side ridge home. E. panel on the other side of the house/hill side. Would need two-three E. short boys.
    It was the existing check. Must have failed between the voyager and the first incorrectly piped phoenix.
    Never assume a check checks. Check if it checks, before you get the check.
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
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    A 4,300 square foot house without a proper mechanical area for the water heater. 

    Architects have often asked me how much room we need for our equipment and I usually double what I think and then get half. 
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
    TeemokGGross
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes Member Posts: 4,043
    edited October 2023
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    Is it a gravity recirc. or is there a pump?  How did you figure it out? Did you just put your hand on the return to feel it get cold with the hot water running?
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • Teemok
    Teemok Member, Email Confirmation Posts: 511
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    SS 009 on a push button on demand system.

    Got the call. Said I'm very sorry, that's strange. The tank was at temp on standby we she check on it just after the event. Not a supply issue. Told her I'd needed to check it out.
    Hung up and started diagnosing not on the job. (tisk, tisk) What changed from the previous install? I didn't even adjust the set point, it being the old board. I suspected the check or cross bleeding somewhere. Why all of a sudden now? It would have done it before. Did a bit of copper reaming get stuck in the check? Is this crazy customer stuff? Then it dawned on me. I moved the recirc line from the Aux. port on top tank where it was incorrectly piped, to a T on the cold. The check leaked before. It just leaked hot water from top tank backwards and no one ever noticed it. Now it has cold bleeding slowly backwards to the furthest point and eventually to the customer in the shower. The recirc line is 3/4 (why plumber?). It took 8-10min. of shower to be noticed. All the puzzle pieces fit.

    Convinced I was correct, I called and told'em I had is sussed.

    Today on-site: I activated recirc. till the line was hot. Called the customer to turn on shower. PROOF! The line's got the backwards creeping cold. Water off, pop relief, 2xmalexpress into ip brass spring check, cut pipe, double press, bleed, insulate and I'm out.
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
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    Nice troubleshooting.

    I always run my recirc. in 3/4" copper. Why? Less pressure drop on the pump and it adds to the capacity of the water heater.

    Have you tried the Caleffi check valves? Expensive, but easy to service.

    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • Teemok
    Teemok Member, Email Confirmation Posts: 511
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    Those checks are nice. Haven't seen a repair kit cost for them. I'm guessing the value is size, being able to get in there and easy original cost swap. They are the move in spots with no pipe for future couplings. $24 gets me a removable spring check for the cost of a future coupling. $48 adds an ip x press union with swap out valve cost of $13.
    I suppose 3/4 or bigger recirc. line that's continuously on is kind of usable heated water volume. It's defiantly more lost heat when it stops. I've seen apartment buildings with 1/2" recirc's that work very well. Different configs, heads, heat losses, and control ideas. We make our calculations and or guesses. I find 3/4" loops in multi branch residential unnecessary. Bar where loops manifold together.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,254
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    That check has a pretty standard off the shelf Neoperl check inside. Similar to what you see in circulators. It is a low pop check .35- .50 psi depending on the size. It is also a 100% bubble free check. Most brass spring checks are not that tight. This is a hydronic specific design.

    A DHW recirc loop is basically a hydronic loop. The tube size is determined by the gpm you need to move to over come the heat loss of the loop. insulation makes a difference in flow rate and pipe size when you start looking at heat loss.
    Steps for sizing a DHW loop tube and pump here.

    https://idronics.caleffi.com/sites/default/files/magazine/file/idronics_21_na.pdf
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Alan (California Radiant) ForbesLarry Weingarten
  • Teemok
    Teemok Member, Email Confirmation Posts: 511
    edited October 2023
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    hot_rod said:

    That check has a pretty standard off the shelf Neoperl check inside. Similar to what you see in circulators. It is a low pop check .35- .50 psi depending on the size. It is also a 100% bubble free check. Most brass spring checks are not that tight. This is a hydronic specific design.

    A DHW recirc loop is basically a hydronic loop. The tube size is determined by the gpm you need to move to over come the heat loss of the loop. insulation makes a difference in flow rate and pipe size when you start looking at heat loss.
    Steps for sizing a DHW loop tube and pump here.

    https://idronics.caleffi.com/sites/default/files/magazine/file/idronics_21_na.pdf

    How tight does a DHW check need to be? LOL. The low pop really is great. They flow well and generally make little noise and when they are healthy they close well.
    About the guts. I guessed as much about what's in them. "Similar" doesn't make the truck stock list. The expense would be taken if the repair plastics were $3. I see retail for those pump plastic checks at $40 commonly $25, if the right brand size and supplier $11. Caleffi's are price right generally. Is it this guy NA10405? Why they are not listed on the spec sheet? Oh, cheeky.
    I like Caleffi and always have. The micro switch thing sucked and I've been finding lots of bad mix valves. Those things are hard to make durable and 8 to 10 years is a good run for a small part in hard service. Still use them.

    The plastics are not removable without trashing them for most designs. By design. I find them crumbling and or with debris in that attempting to clear could render them micro plastic particles. Not saying they are bad. They have their advantages. Why you can't separate the valve and seat when the plastic is fresh and new looks like... well, not "evil" engineering but maybe indifferent? Negligent? Self serving engineering? I know, making them better would make them more expensive, bigger and not work as well. Said jokingly: We can't have nice things.