Tankless Water heater problem...advice needed

Discussion in 'Tankless Water Heater Forum' started by jed1154, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. jed1154

    jed1154 New Member

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Texas
    I have several water heaters in the house. One for the master which is a 240v unit and a couple of smaller units in other places in the house. The master bedroom one is on the fritz, so we have been using the shower that is on one of the smaller tankless units. The nightly routine is usually to bathe the child, then the wife and i take showers one after the other. The water is scorching hot until about 10 mins before the last person showers. It seems to get cool, then luke warm....maybe it will heat up a little, but its not near as hot as it is when the routine starts. By that time the water has been running for maybe 30 mins or so.

    Whats the deal? Why would a unit work great for so long, and then just peter out like that? Im on a well, but it doesnt have problems usually.

    Any ideas? The unit is 5 years old or so...
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,889
    Location:
    New England
    Is it possible that the thing has an internal overheat sensor, and after running for an extended period, it shuts itself down? If so, it should be described in the manual.

    If the water gets extremely hot, it sounds like you do not have a tempering valve installed on the outlet, or if you do, it is malfunctioning. From what I've read, this is a requirement. You may want to check that.

    It's also possible that after you've used up all the water in the bladder tank (that's had a chance to warm up from the deep well water's temp), the now much colder water directly from the well means the tankless just can't raise the water to the same temperature. Say the water in the tank warms up to room temp, that's around 70 and the water from the well is say 50, the tankless can only raise the temp so many degrees as it passes by and now it's starting out 20-degrees colder.
  3. jed1154

    jed1154 New Member

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Texas
    I guess thats possible.

    What is a tempering valve? I mean its scorching hot because i have the temp dial set that way.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,889
    Location:
    New England
    A tempering valve goes on the output of the WH. You set the max temp, and if the incoming water is higher, it automatically tempers it by adding enough cold so it never gets above that maximum. A typical setting is 119-120 degrees, but it is adjustable. A tankless, depending on its sophistification, can vary the output if the flow changes before it can react and can produce dangerously hot water. The tempering valve solves that and protects users. It is required in many places and is probably specified by the manufacturer to be installed on your tankless system.
  5. jed1154

    jed1154 New Member

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Texas
    Im not aware of anything like that on any of ours, unless its internal somehow. Im not really interested in it anyhow, more interested in the problem im having with the unit.

    I love my THW heaters, but the one in the master bath has been replaced once, neither unit has lasted longer than 4 years, but thats a whole separate issue.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,889
    Location:
    New England
    Look at the installation instructions, I'm betting it specifies one should be installed. What do you have the output temperature set to on the tankless system and how hot does it actually get? Don't take safety issues lightly, hot water can kill older people or children as their skin is much thinner and burns can happen in moments not counting the fall that could occur if a spurt of excessively hot water came out of the shower.
  7. jed1154

    jed1154 New Member

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Texas
    No clue how hot it is, hot enough not to want to stand under it. It has a thermostat....the temperature on it is uhm......red.


    Its just a rheostat whose gauge looks like this:

    -.............+


    I turn it to plus.

    Any more thoughts on the luke warm water after 30-40 mins of showering are welcome.

    Thanks for the help so far!
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,889
    Location:
    New England
    If it is overheating and shutting itself down, turn the thermostat down so you are using mostly hot water rather than mixing a lot of cold in and see if it will run longer. The way you have it is asking for an injury if someone unfamiliar with the system were to visit.
  9. jed1154

    jed1154 New Member

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Texas
    In all honesty, if any of my friends visit and turn the water to hot and jump in without testing it first....they deserve what they get, and i will laugh at them for the rest of teh weekend.

    Ill try turning it down and see if that solves anything. I guess i dont see how a heater can overheat if it recieves cold water. Even if the tank outside was recharged with cold water from the ground, i dont understand how it can still go from hot to cold to luke warm to cold, etc.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2008
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,889
    Location:
    New England
    It might be funny until you get sued...then you find out who your real friends are. Unless you are using this as a commercial item where they dictate a minimum water temp for say a dishwasher, there is no point in running it at max. That's like turning the house thermostat up to 100, and opening a window if it is too hot inside - the furnace or whatever is just working much harder than it needs to. One of the beauties of a tankless is continuous, which you're not seeing. Plus, replacing one like did in what, 4-years?, means it's not providing you with the service you expect. you're spending much more for this than needed, IMHO.
  11. jed1154

    jed1154 New Member

    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Texas
    I havent messed with the thermostat because thats just what it was set on when i moved in....Ill try turning it down. Either way, regardless of the setting, it should maintain that temp for any amount of time. It makes no sense that it works great for 40 mins....and tehn trails off. in fact, now that i think about it, it quits working at about the same time every night so far. I can't say it hasnt always done this as this unit feeds a shower, a dishwasher and the kitchen sink. the shower is hardly ever used, and the rest arent used for that long, except the dishwasher, but i have no way to tell how its performing.
  12. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I venture to say your whole problem is probably due to the high temperature setting. It might work okay in the winter with colder incoming water temperatures where you are using more hot water, But, This time of year the cold water is quite warm and you are mixing a small amount of hot water to have a hot shower. The amount you are using is so low that the flow switch is barely activating. Set the temperature to the lower temp and use more hot water and I'll bet your problem disappears.
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