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Old 04-19-2012, 06:50 AM   #21
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For a tankless type water heater, there got to be an on-demand mechanism to ignite gas burner for heating water as already pointed out by REWahoo and bld999.

Could this be possibly related to the packing grease you found in hose H1? I know you said you didn't find any grease in the inlet filter. Can you tell the packing grease's viscosity, and do you think it's possible for any grease to pass the inlet filter (based on how fine the filter is and the water pressure)? Also how long it was working fine for "all afternoon", couple of hours continuously? Not sure packing grease, if any left inside, could be the cause, but I would suggest to get a big pail of boiling hot water, and run through the system for at least 10 mins just like what you did with vinegar yesterday to see if it will make any difference before calling for pros. Be sure to let boiling hot water to run through the pump inside out at first.
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It's Working Again!
Old 04-19-2012, 09:25 AM   #22
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It's Working Again!

Before going to bed last night, I tried it again, and it worked fine. This morning it's still working. My hypothesis is that something was blocking the flow somewhere, and it was intermittent.

I called tech support and talked to a technician who was perhaps the dumbest person I've ever talked with. The conversation went like this:

Me: (described what happened).
Him: Well, the flow to the unit may have been impeded, so that it didn't sense it, and didn't turn on.
Me: OK. I noticed that the flow to the faucet was normal, does that tell me anything?
Him: Again sir, if the flow to the unit was impeded, it wouldn't sense it, and wouldn't 't turn on.
Me: I was just wondering if strong flow at the faucet indicated that the flow was OK at the heater.
Him: Again sir, if the flow to the unit was impeded, it wouldn't sense it, and wouldn't turn on.
Me: OK, thanks, I understand that. Is it possible for flow at the faucet to be strong if it is impeded at the unit?
Him: Again sir, [slower] if the flow to the unit was impeded, it wouldn't sense it, and didn't turn on.
Me: OK, well I'll just keep an eye on it. By the way, the instructions were very good, but there may be an error. They recommend that you restore water flow to the unit and then remove the inlet filter.
Him: Those instructions are meant for a licensed service technician.
Me: Yes, but I just thought I'd pass that on, since it could cause problems.
Him: Again, sir, those instructions are meant for a licensed service technician.

Note that in the past, a technician told me that I could do the flush procedure myself -- didn't need a licensed tech.

I'll have to decide in a year whether to do it again myself.


The grease was the consistency standard grease that you'd get at an auto parts store.
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:41 AM   #23
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Quote:
Well, the flow to the unit may have been impeded, so that it didn't sense it, and didn't turn on.
He said it multiple times, that makes it true, no?

I think you are fine with the DIY. One thing that might help in the future - before disconnecting everything, set the valves to run out the hose on the outlet side, then flush several cycles that way. With a large diameter hose that should give max flow, and flush out anything that might have gotten in the flow sensor or anywhere else.

I'd be tempted to back-flush it, but since they don't do that in the instructions I'd hesitate, there might be a back flow preventor or something that could be damaged by back flow?

Are there certain parts that are most likely to fail? You might want to stock up on replacements if they are DIY. I keep a spare thermo-couple for my furnace & water heater, and kept a spare belt for the old furnace (newer ones are direct drive).

-ERD50
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:45 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Are there certain parts that are most likely to fail? You might want to stock up on replacements if they are DIY. I keep a spare thermo-couple for my furnace & water heater, and kept a spare belt for the old furnace (newer ones are direct drive).

-ERD50
I don't think there's anything inside that I could replace myself. This is what it looks like (from the web):

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Old 04-19-2012, 10:03 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
I don't think there's anything inside that I could replace myself. This is what it looks like (from the web): ...
Looks pretty scary.

IIRC, this thing made sense for you due to the cost of propane. I honestly can't see turning in my old standard NG bulk water heater, it's 26 YO and going strong with about zero maintenance (I don't even flush it anymore, afraid the pressure-depressure might cause problems) for one of these tankless units. Far too many points of failure plus the annual flush effort. And failures look expensive. I wouldn't be surprised if one service call wouldn't cost close to an entire new standard water heater (<$400). I doubt I'd ever see a payback, installation would mean running some bigger gas lines to that spot.

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Old 04-19-2012, 10:41 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
I don't think there's anything inside that I could replace myself. This is what it looks like (from the web):
Al,
Not sure you have this, but I have something similar for my Trane gas furnance, my unit blinks a red light when the safety is triggered and causes a fault, so I have to count them to find the fault. Your unit looks easier since it's an actual numeric code that's displayed to help with your problem:

http://www.rinnai.us/documentation/d...er_Heaters.pdf

May be handy to have around to help even if you need to have a tech service in the future.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:58 AM   #27
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Nice save, Al. Those domestic appliances come with a sharp & sour penalty if they refuse to wake up on the operating table... No hot water!

The phone techs have the problem of trying to figure out whether they are talking to their cerebral brother, in which case they are certain you are about to blow yourself up and sue them, esp with gas equipment. Some mfg will actually void warranties if anybody but a trained service person works on them.

You might be able to find a pdf installation/setup manual for that if you don't have one. does it display trouble codes? If so things are a bit easier, but I still make sure I know how to find somebody talented to bail me out if the road gets bad.

Cheers to your effort, Al The Tool Man. Taking care of your own kit is getting harder and harder, but I'm all for it.
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:45 PM   #28
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So now I'm just curious how this heater has worked out for you T-AL.

From what I've read, the actual savings are pretty small, but larger with your relatively expensive propane. But if someone had to pay a service guy $100 to do this once a year (and many would, you were even considering it), that would wipe out any savings, and put a lot of people in the red. After spending big bucks.

I've also been reading that a lot of people have issues regarding the triggering to get it to turn on. If you run a little warm water, it might not trigger. So they turn it hotter, it turns on, but is now too hot, so they turn it to warm and it goes cold. Have you had any of those issues?

-ERD50
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:38 PM   #29
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It has worked perfectly, except for yesterday's glitch. It has always turned on when desired. It takes longer to get hot water to the tap, but you get used to that.

If you include $100 to flush it annually, you must do the same for a standard water heater, since those should be drained once per year.

I'm confident it has saved us money.
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