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Navien NR-240A: Four Week Roundup

January 4, 2012

Well, I’m back after a brief holiday hiatus…  It’s been almost four weeks living with the Navien NR-240A.   Here are my high-level results:

  • No issues after the initial fault reported earlier, which apparently was due to a bad hose inside the unit.
  • I had a third-party energy efficiency audit done on my home the week of December 19, and the technician confirmed that everything was installed correctly.  He did comment that the Navien was outputting a lot of carbon monoxide — twice that of my furnace — but then, the burners in the Navien are 2.4x that of my furnace so I don’t find that surprising at all.
  • Interestingly, I did notice that the installer used steel clamps on brass plumbing, so I’m going to change those out to brass to avoid any corrossion.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the Navien.  I do enjoy having unlimitted hot water — my kids are still of an age that we bathe them together in the tub, and I no longer run out of hot water during the process, for example, and it’ll be great to not worry about timing showers when we have overnight guests.  In the four weeks that we’ve had the unit, I’ve only experienced two “cold water sandwiches” — and one of those was really a “warm water sandwich” (i.e., tolerable). 

My main complaint is that I do find it difficult to fine-tune the water temperature.  For example, my wife takes a hotter shower than I tend to, so despite having a faucet that lets you “set and forget” the temperature setting, it gets adjusted daily…  For my wife I don’t imagine it’s a problem — she turns the temperature to its hottest setting (120 degrees) and showers, but I like to back off the heat, which usually involves turning on the water at its hottest setting (where my wife left it) and then backing it off.  I do find that if I try to adjust the setting just a bit, there is no change in the water temperature, so I end up having to over-adjust toward cold, waiting a second, and then trying to hit the right sweet spot from afar (as opposed to just inching the control).  Not a huge deal, but disappointing when you consider that the Navien cost significantly more than a traditional water heater.

I’ll also confirm that I would only recommend this type of heater (for a typical home installation)  if you go with one that has a circulation unit to avoid the minimum flow requirement.  On the Navien, that means the “A” suffix in the model number.   As I believe I mentioned before, I did not bother with the external circulation plumbing — which would have added “instant” hot water but also have brought the downside of warmer cold water.


From → HVAC

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