tankless water heaters...where do you learn how to become a repairman for them????

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Master Plumber Mark, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. I am changeing my opinion about these little jeweles.....
    I think that their is going to be a skys the limit service and repair
    market for them someday.....

    according to my RHEEM rep the tankless units are supposed to have
    an isolater valve installed with them.

    The RHEEM unit is supposed to be FLUSHED OUT ONCE A MONTH!!!

    according to my rep he claims that Renni has already had problems
    along these lines on commercial units because they were not
    properly maintained......IT VOIDS THE WARRANTY!!!

    just read the fine print...

    Rheem is going to have a repair class sometime soon in this area.

    Now thats a market that is just waiting to happen...

    I have already called my SMITH rep and my BRAD White rep
    today and they are clueless about this issue....

    they " would get back to me" they dont have any idea


    I really want to learn about how to repair them......

    where do you go to do this????? Do any of the people that are
    selling them have any crash courses in this subject????

    I am sure that their is big money in this because you
    will be the only guy in town that knows how to do this...

    and you will literally be able to charge anything you wish to.....

    I could make the people sign a service contract with me
    to come out every month and DE-LIME their units for
    $100.00--+....thats not too bad...

    I would guess that if that circuit bard goes bad
    its gonna cost a pretty penny too....500+ labor........


    So who do you call when that 3500 tankless water heater
    goes bad, how do you diagnose them....

    where do you get classes in repairing any of them???

    Right now thier is literally no body out there inour town
    that knows how to service them, and my guess is most
    people arent willing to wait 10 -15 business days for parts

    Thats another angle I could take as a tankless reapirman!!!!!!

    once they see that the parts are gonna
    take three weeks to arrive and cost more
    than a conventioinal water heater I will most likely
    have a sale in changeing out the unit for a
    50 gallon Brad White........!!!!!!!!!!

    they will realize that it is cheaper than
    going to a hotel for showers...

    their is a silver lineing in every cloud,
    all ya got to do is look for it....

    what does everyone think???
  2. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Charge $150.00/Hr. and learn by OJT.

    If your lucky the repair will cost close to the install price.

    Then they will gladly let you put a 50 Gal. Brad.
  3. MPM and Cass,

    Do either of you troubleshoot/service PowerVent water heaters? Most common calls I get on them are the A.O.Smith ones, most are under warranty and majority of the time I farm out the service calls to another company in Cleves Ohio. They are the authorized reps for the units.

    That means they get paid for whatever time they invest in the call. Whereby I don't since A.O. Smith isn't paying me directly. I'll install/replace/move those units all day long though. I just don't want to keep $100's of dollars of parts for those on the truck and never use them along with going to a home and finding out that the parts I need are not the right ones, along with people refusing to pay the amount needed to fix it. NEXT!

    I dumped probably 60 calls last year to service these. I like quite a few plumbers give the work to the reps, the reps (they say) kick back the replacements when the tank is out of warranty.
  4. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Automatic, is that who you use?

    I don't cary parts for PVs but don't have to much trouble working on them.

    The early ones where horror shows but the new ones arent to bad. Rheem is either a brain box or ignighter.

    Now the new ones I haven't had to work on yet, and I might not want to, can you PM me with the name if it is not Automatic.

    Like you, I don't carry parts.
  5. power vents

    it amazes me what a pain they can be
    and they have to be easier to fix
    than a tankless unit......

    a.o. smiths are the worst by far......

    If the unit is out of warranty, I usaully try to sell them
    another one or referr them to someone who will come out
    and "diagnose " what the problems ins for $150...200.

    I honestly dont need the liability , I have had guys actually
    wanting me to sell them motors and parts off old units so they can
    make repairs with them..... I throw away the parts...

    I had another guy that actually jury rigged his smith power vent
    so that the FAN was constantly running.....
    It ran that way for about two years before it burend out....
    His water heater was constantly being cooled down......

    Then I had one customer claim some other plumber was going to repair his
    1995 power vent water heater for $550. We installed him a new
    one for 995.00

    I was told by my Rheem rep that Rheem will only carry parts
    (when you can find them in stock ) to go back 7 years..

    anything before that and you are out of luck..

    so you kind of get the feeling they want to make it rough on
    the repair guy. and make you change it out..

    with the tankless, its gonna be some real fun some day....

    Their is supposed to be a class soon on the Rheem
    tankless units some morning at their supply house...

    I might go if they have coffe and doughnuts....
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2006
  6. Cass, yes, Automatic. Had nothing but good experiences with them and no complaints in the past few years. Just don't care for their hours 7-3pm??? There is a KY rep but he's a plumber and I'm leery of sending any work to him since it would be easy for him to line his pockets with other work in the home.

    Anytime a plumber takes on A.O. Smith warranty work it is usually short lived; maybe a year, year and a half tops. Very degrading work and B-O-R-I-N-G. They have had 5 reps in the past 4 years.

    When I called the plumbing supply house I said, "Who is the A.O. Smith warranty rep this month?" lol, guy on the other end laughed.

    I'll catch up with this thread later on, gotta run
  7. Kristi

    Kristi Tradesman Plumber

    Vancouver, BC
    Master Plumber Mark, you are making me beam with pride :)

    You are coming around to the tankless way, after all those other posts shooting it down. I learn how to service these buggers the same way my dad taught me to service anything... get the info on it and call the company for advice or direction. Sure it's charging out for your learning curve, but it's a new item on the market (here anyways). As the MPM, you are the most likely candidate to figure out what the hells going on in there while flying by the seat of your pants...
  8. Sorry Kristi ----

    this thread was menat to be sarcastic about nightmares
    involved with the tankless units......

    we dont have enough of them around here to be profitable.....

    but like Rheem said in their fine print

    you got to flush them out onec a month or it voids the warranty...

    so someday their will be a market for them.......

    and it in theory be something I might do
  9. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    New Hampshire
  10. thank you for that post BOB

    I thought the Bosch was supposed to be
    a good unit , but I guess hoeestly none of them are

    reading the complaints makes you wonder what
    anyone could possibly see in getting into trouble with one
  11. Kristi

    Kristi Tradesman Plumber

    Vancouver, BC
    That is a serious rant Rugged, LOL! You should write a book... oh wait, you did! :)

    Here's what I think, nice and short and sweet:

    We know HWH's, we know them inside out and they're easy to operate, easy to service. They'll give you a decade of tireless service. Tankless units are in their early years, they are complex, and (like everything new on our market) take time to welcome. They have some work to do in proving themselves. We look to the other developed nations that need to use them for their service records, but then it becomes obvious that they must use this kind of system, they don't have the seemingly endless resources that we have over here.

    Now as I said, we have a lot available at our fingertips... a lot of on demand wants! Everything is getting bigger, badder, more more more! We need 3/4" supplying every room in the house, we need body sprays, we need home spas and gigantic bathtubs, more more more! We're upping our demands, and the poor old HWH can't take it anymore... what do we do? Run more storage tanks! Parallel, series, how many can we fit in there?!? The way I see it, tankless is going to have to take off, otherwise (like we were saying in the other thread asking about multiple shower heads) you are left cold after 5 minutes in your new $30,000 home spa, nevermind how many fills that huge tub is going to need... it's a comin', guys, it's a comin'! Just like that MPM's sarcasm! lol...
  12. braford white

    Just got off the phone with my Bradford White rep

    They sell a unit that is made for them by Renni

    They admit it must be cleaned out once a month for
    proper heat transferrance......

    he does not want to have a class on how to repair
    them in our area (Indianapolis Ind -- popuation-- 2 mil)

    because he does not want to fly someone into town and not
    have anynone show up for the class!!!!LOL

    He says they are waaaay too complicated for the
    average plumber to understand, only if you have a good
    background in circuit boards and some hvac knowledge is
    it worth even comming .......

    so considering that half the plumbers in this area
    cant hardley read and write they consider it simply
    a waste of time for them.....

    Its already happenned to them and they dont want to
    teach anyone at this time how to fix them!!!

    I told him to offer some free beer and pizza and maybe you will get
    the cream of the crop to attend!!!

    Aint that just grand and gloirous
  13. I agree with every statement you made Kristi. I blame my long rant due to Mountain Dew and a box of powdered white donuts. :D

    I just don't care for when this topic comes up and the pros support the positives and never consider the down the road anticipation. Tankless heaters are here to stay. Bigger homes, Car washes basically for showers in our homes. A tankless heater is perfect for this scenario, no qualms about it.

    I just hate the fact that members/lurkers of web forums seek information on these devices and go to the glowing websites that support them and find out that greener pastures aren't always green. The killer is price comparisons in tank to tankless. People normally want to spend as little as possible. Remember the VCR, the microwave 20 years ago? Couldn't spend less than $300 on one. Now, you can go to any store and pick one up for $50, and they work great! Little slow, but sufficient. Tankless will have this curve. I just try to make the spend thrifts and the ones who don't paralell themselves with pricing to be aware of the issues these units present.

    You buy one for a $150 more than a tank one, expect what you pay for; one fixture supply demand and the rest is lukewarm. Spend the big bucks and you will get the supply and demand, just at a significant price to tank heaters. They work good, supply what you need. Perfect for a large jacuzzi or shower room with multiple body sprays. By all means, those work for their specific need. Using a tankless in a long stretch ranch will have you upsizing a gas line the size of a large furnace to achieve that on demand luxury without a large tank sitting in the home. The common homeowner (if they have an adequately sized tank heater) will use their hot water in their home like it is neverending. It's a fact. If the tankless application is not properly sized, (Dictated by pricing) you have now created victims of good technology. Works great but only for it's *specific* situation.

    I compare them (right now) to birdfeeders that only attract a specific bird that doesn't even habitate in my area. Sure, I'll keep filling up the birdfeeder hoping the birds will come but until the winds of change blow birds of that species into my lawn, well, I'll keep watching with my binoculars.

    If I could get a tankless for free, I'd use it. I keep calling Rinnai and they won't let me have one. :( They hung up on me when I asked if it had to be periodically cleaned to keep its efficiency the same as the numbers notate on their website.

    I guess we'll never know.............

    I can't explain my excessive typing today. Something in that damn bacon egg cheese biscuit from McDonalds has me in turmoil. heh..

    I just did a horrible drain cleaning job @ $100 an hour and I feel violated by what I smelled and saw. bleeeeeeechkk!! yuk! P tooey! (hurls)
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2006
  14. calling the BBB in my town tomorrow....

    found out today their is someone who is
    selling Northstar tankless water heaters to people
    for about 4500 installed.......wow!!

    but they fail to mentioin during the sales pitch that the unit
    needs to be purged of LIME every month, for best performance
    just like the Rheem, and other brands out there need to do in our

    That is What I have been told by someone that got the whole
    sales pitch thrown at them.....and it sounds pretty deceptive to me....

    So first they are getting the units installed,
    then they are able to sell them a water conditioner,

    then they are selling them a service contract to keep it all
    working properly for $$ much a month...

    .cause once you got
    one of those pigs in your home, you are on the hook for life.

    aint that sweet of them???...
  15. GoingTankless

    GoingTankless Plumber

    tankless education

    Since my sunday is going to be spent on this forum what the heck.

    How many of you service hot water heaters? Do you follow the manufacturers directions on flushing the tank ,changing the anode rode .....anything? Do you have a contract with your customers for this? Have you replaced a hot water heater that had an extra 10 lbs of sediment on the bottom of the tank?Did you ever have a customer call you up because their tank flooded out the basement or damaged the flooring and/or furniture in the house? Do any of you really think that there is a benifit to a tank type heater over a tankless?Do any of you have a customer with a whirlpool that needs you to install 2 water heaters just to fill it up......(well sometimes it does)?
    If you find that a home needs a water conditioner, then that is what your customer needs. You as a professional should let them know what they need. They are looking to you for your profesional advice on what they should have installed. Selling a home owner on a tankless system is easy. Do your homework and you will see.
    As for which tankless to go with, I am partial to the Bosch line. I have installed many other and have found that Bosch makes a far superior unit.The best warranty in the industry. Very simple to work on if needed. Parts are readily avaiable. Customer service is very very good. They offer training at their training facility in NH.
    If you take your time to read some posts that have negative feedback on tankless units it is usually because it was installed wrong. I have hundreds of tankless units installed and I have not one customer that has complained to me. They work.

    Time for the pros and cons

    Tankless heaters can give you:
    Endless hot water
    Worry free from flooding your home
    30% to 50% savings in fuel costs
    $300 tax credit
    Efficiency ratings 78% to 92%
    Space saving
    Options in domestic hot water,home heating,snow melt
    Life span 20 -25 years

    Higher initial cost

    Tank type heater:
    Lots of water waiting to be used

    Lots of water waiting to be used
    Efficiency rating goes down over the life of the tank
    Tanks can fail after only 5 years of use (average life is about 10 years)
    Very low energy factor (most below .60)
    Bacteria in tanks that don't get used that often
    Takes up a lot of room
    Size and weight
    Leaking tanks that are usually discovered too late
    ETC. ETC. ETC.

    Here's a little buisness tip. Free of course.
    Learn how to install and service Tankless heaters. Bosch is one of the best companies I have ever had to deal with. Talk to them you will be very happy with the relationship and buisness that you can build. I have been doing plumbing for over 22 years and changed my buisness 6 years ago to just Tankless systems. That is all we do and it is very profitable. Its an untapped market. For those of you who bash tankless ......Thank you, your ignorance will continue to make me a lot of money.
    For those of you who wish to better yourself and your buisness try www.boschhotwater.com
  16. Takagi class on tankless

    went to a training seminar last night on the

    takagi tankless water heaters.......

    that was fun....

    I was not aware that when you vented one
    out the side of the house like a power vent
    that they used a Stainless Steel single wall
    vent pipe..... and it died outside just like a
    power vent with a metal Tee with screens on
    both ends .......

    Now the odd thing that the salesman tried to gloss
    over was the fact that the actual temperature of
    the tee and out going gases reached about
    300 degrees....

    they let you take this out the roof of your house
    in single wall SS pipe too!!

    I think that could set the Attic on fire some day
    or the , bushes or leaves on fire
    on the side of the house....

    not to mention branding the neighbors kid...

    Have you ever burnt youself on a motor cycle muffler
    or a lawnmower muffler???

    We asked him what happened if a kid or dog touched
    this hot as hell vent pipe and he did not have an answer..

    he said that they would only do it once.

    needless to say I was not too impressed...

    Last edited: Feb 28, 2007
  17. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    MPM... since I've never touched a tankless I can not have a qualified opinion. I think it is in my best interest to learn all I can about them because they are readily available and definitely being installed all around me. I'm glad that GoTankless provided the link... I've already emailed Bosch to learn all I can and hopefully be qualified to install and service their (and others ) tankless heaters VERY SOON.... I'd be happy if that was all I did.... I'm doing too many different things and would love to get into only one line of work so I can do a very quick and efficient job...and make a buck efficiently!
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