Anyone used these cheap gas tankless Chinese heaters? Having a problem with mine

Discussion in 'Tankless Water Heater Forum' started by blenderbender, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. blenderbender

    blenderbender New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    pa
    Due to budget constraints, I bought a cheap Chinese tankless heater on ****. I just need something to warm up a little water in the garage for cleanup. It looks decent enough, considering it cost just $85 including shipping. There's lots of em on **** under various brands but they all look like they have the same controls, burner, knob layout, etc. I'm guessing the burners and controls are all made by a single manufacturer. Some are listed as LPG and others as NG. Mine is supposed to be NG and I just finished installing it today. It has battery ignition (2 D cells) as it's also intended for RV, campsite use, etc. It's unvented, but they can be vented to the outside with a small fabricated hood and associated duct work. In any case mine will not hold a burn. It ignites briefly, fizzles, ignites again, pops out, and after the third try shuts down via auto safety controls. So for some reason it won't stay ignited. Something seems to be shutting down the gas after the initial ignition. I have another gas fired unit heater on the same supply so I'm thinking fuel isn't the problem. The manual is of absolutely no use as it is one of those brief and very poorly translated affairs. I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps they sent me an LPG model. There is nothing discernible on the heater or in the manual that says NG or LPG. Another thing that tends to make me think it's LPG is the supplied fitting for the gas connection was 1/2" FP x 3/8" barb..... i.e. propane hose? I obviously have addressed this issue to the **** seller, but it's Chinese New Year and he's out of touch for a few days. Likely at best is maybe an exchange. Thought I'd throw this out there and see if anyone else has any ideas. Thanks for any thoughts!

    Gary
  2. houptee

    houptee Member

    Messages:
    186
    Location:
    Monmouth County, NJ
    I bought 2 of those a few years ago they sort of worked but would not maintain constant temp water, it kept scalding, then went warm, then all over the map, so I took them out and noticed on one unit the entire heat exchanger was scorched and burned a hole thru the thin sheet metal surrounding the flame area.
    They had a yellow sticker on mine at the gas connector that said NG nat gas and it was a standard 3/4 male NPT fitting so it does sound like you got a propane version.
    Either way I think using it in a garage or campsite is all I would expect from those units with one shower or sink connected max.
  3. blenderbender

    blenderbender New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    pa
    Thanks.... that's what I'm thinking too. I think tomorrow I'll borrow my propane grill tank and see if stays lit running LPG
  4. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,445
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Them units are made for Radio Active water.

    For $85 dollars what did you expect ?

    I would not trust to use one in my home.

    They do make some good electronics, but a gas appliance, ??? Not so sure.


    Good Luck.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  5. blenderbender

    blenderbender New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    pa
    Don.... all I expected was it would stay lit and warm up a little water. I knew I wasn't buying a BMW.
  6. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,445
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    I understand.

    I did not mean to harsh your mellow.

    It is what it is.

    Gas is not a play toy.

    At least their electronics have fuse protection.


    Not sure about their gas products.
  7. blenderbender

    blenderbender New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    pa
    The heater works flawlessly after connecting to propane source. So I guess the good news is it wasn't a bum heater, just a bum seller who listed it as NG instead of LPG.
  8. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,445
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Great that you have it working.

    If you decide to keep it and still have the listing, maybe the seller will refund some of your money.
  9. blenderbender

    blenderbender New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    pa
    I'm hoping he has the proper NG model to exchange for. I get free NG but have to pay for propane so that's a no brainer.
  10. houptee

    houptee Member

    Messages:
    186
    Location:
    Monmouth County, NJ
    Was it shipped to you from China or a USA seller?
    I recently bought some LED outdoor weatherproof 20 watt lights to replace the 2 broken halogen lights on my work light tripod stand and they shipped from China.
    The price was very good and they had free shipping. They put out decent light at only 20 watts, and do not get scorching hot like the 500 watt halogens.
    Sometimes its worth a shot to try these items if the price is right but there is risk involved.
    And who would you turn to if the unit bursts into flames or blows a internal pipe leaking all over when your not home etc.
  11. blenderbender

    blenderbender New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    pa
    It was shipped from California, but the seller is in China. If I were putting it my house I would be a little more concerned. But for just light occasional use in garage for cleaning up I think it will be fine.
  12. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,445
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    The seller should pay the return shipping cost.

    If it was their error.

    It is bad enough that you have to replace it.
  13. blenderbender

    blenderbender New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    pa
    Well this has been an eye opener. It ain't quite over but I thought I'd catch folks up in the event anyone is considering one of these units for themselves. After 2 weeks of negotiating with seller on a daily basis, I opted to keep the propane heater sent and seller agreed to a partial refund to compensate me for shipping wrong product. I plan on strapping it to a hand truck along with a propane tank to use it outside in mobile mode for washing dogs, etc. I then purchased another heater from another seller after contacting him prior to purchase to make certain they would send me an NG heater. He of course said "no problem". As soon as the heater arrived it was clear that he didn't follow through as both sides of the box are clearly marked "LP". I'm in the process of negotiating again with a Chinese seller who has a limited command of the English language. I'm not profiling here, it's just plain and simple that with the 2 of 2 that I've dealt with here are difficult to communicate with. Now this guy is telling me "no worries, the boxes are mis-marked LP". I will attempt to run the heater on NG and I will be pleasantly surprised if it works, but I don't have high hopes. As I really need a heater asap, I've contacted a third seller in the event that I decide to purchase a third before I get this second one resolved. He told me, even prior to purchasing, that the boxes are not labeled correctly and I should not be concerned if the box says LP on it. Gee whiz..... I wonder what would happen if a guy actually ordered the propane model. More to follow.....
  14. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,445
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    That does not sound so good.

    Do you have a link to the one you are buying ?

    They may have a adjustable gas valve, and both units are the same, But calibrated for the different gas types.


    Good Luck.
  15. blenderbender

    blenderbender New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    pa
    I see nothing in terms of an adjustable gas valve, and there is no mention of anything of the sort in the poorly translated user manual. If you search **** for "tankless water heater natural gas" and sort by 'lowest price first' you'll see a bunch of them. A couple different ones but seemingly all the same except for the sheet metal cover and rated capacities. I'm off to the garage to test fire this latest one to see if it'll burn NG.
  16. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,445
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    That is interesting how they are listed.

    They mix things up in the Description. Typical for China sellers.

    I guess a person needs to really do some homework to make sure they know what they are ordering.

    I buy a lot of electronics from china, And I always buy a sample to test, because their description rarely makes sense in English.

    They may call LP NG because it is made from "wet" natural gas.


    Very Interesting, I hope all comes out good for You.
  17. blenderbender

    blenderbender New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    pa
    Well, go figure! This one works running NG! So pleased I don't need to go through anymore challenging communications with seller. For what it's worth, I did visit a couple of the Chinese manufacturers websites and they all list these heaters as available in LP or NG varieties, so they must know there is a difference. But why this one works and the other one refused to I am not clear. At any rate I've got a dedicated outside mobile LP unit and an NG unit in the garage all for a total of $150 including shipping.... I'm happy with the outcome.... finally.
  18. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,445
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    That is great.

    Please report any problems that you have if any. That could help others.

    They look like they would be great for RV or Camping travel.


    Enjoy.
  19. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    329
    Location:
    California
    Pretty brave burning gas in a cheap Chinese appliance.
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