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Navien NR-240A – Day 3 Results

December 10, 2011

I should preface this post — from what I can tell from the public records, my house was built in 1997, and I’ve lived here for about five years.  For all that time, and especially in the winter, it has taken at least a minute for the shower in the master bathroom to get hot — and if you didn’t turn the water all the way up, it never got hot.  I think I’ve noticed that with the Navien tankless water heater — which has a built-in circulation pump (which is what the “A” in the model indicated — not all models have a circulation pump) — I get hot water much faster.

I was travelling for business, so I had to get up at 4:15 this morning (it’s the end of day 3 as I write this) in order to catch a 6:30 flight.  I turned on the shower  and brushed my teeth — my usual routine since it has historically taken so long for the shower to get hot (I have to update my routine so as to not waste water).

To my surprise, the water was cold.  Dead cold.  I ran down to the basement, and sure enough, the Navien had another “03” ignition failure error.  I rebooted the water heater (yes, I rebooted it) and it started working again. 

My wife and house guests were able to take take showers with no issues (or they were too polite to say anything to the contrary).  I was out of town on business so I didn’t get to ask them myself.

I got home a bit after 5:00 PM and the installer was already working on the unit (remember I had called yesterday and reported the error).  He knew I was interested, and so he showed me that the unit was set up correctly (had the DIP switches and valve set to utilize the internal circulation pump per the manual) and we agreed the most likely issue was the flow of natural gas to the burners.  I was concerned that demand from my furnace (also natural gas) might be impacting the ability of the tankless water heater to operate normally.

After about three hours (with two faucets running the whole time) the technician determined that there was plenty of gas getting to the unit, but that there was a fluctuation in pressure inside the water heater itself.  Turned out that a 3-4 inch black hose had a hole in it, and when the fan kicked in it was enough to open it a bit to cause a drop in pressure (not to mention the release of natural gas in my house).  The tech replaced the hose with at no cost to me.

I have to say — I’m shocked that the Navien has what appeared to be a rubber/plastic hose inside.  I’m certainly not an expert, but that a new unit could have a defect of this nature is pretty scary.

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