Tired of Rheem Ecosense, need suggestions for new tankless

Discussion in 'Tankless Water Heater Forum' started by springboard, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. springboard

    springboard New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    oakland, or
    I've had a Rheem tankless for 3 years and it has never performed well. Bath water would need to be turned on to get kitchen sink to get hot water. I've run the gamut with Rheem and their local choice for plumber (he wanted to sell me something different and wouldn't do any work on the Rheem). I've cleaned it, replaced what I could, and it still doesn't heat consistently.

    I'm not new to tankless heaters. I ran Palomas in the 80s and 90s, no electricity and they worked great. I know the downsides.

    Here's my question: I'd like to get a tankless without bells and whistles, preferably no electric parts, and can run a household with four teenagers. Our Rheem is outside and I would need the new one to be there also. Price is not the objective, though a good quality heater at a good price would be great! Any suggestions?
  2. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    California
    I just installed a Noritz NRC-1111DVNG tankless. It will start up even at low flows, like a half-on bathroom faucet. It is specified to operate at outputs as low as 16,000 BTU, less than any other brand.

    I have never tried other brands so can't offer a comparison.
  3. tarjan

    tarjan New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    VA
    The rinnai rc98i shows .4gpm and 9600btu as minimum.
    http://www.rinnai.us/tankless-water-heater/rc98i-ka3237ffud-us/ click on specs

    The newest ecosense rheem shows .4gpm to start but can drop to .26gpm to continue. 11kbtu minimum draw
    http://www.rheem.com/product/condensing-tankless-tankless-h95-direct-vent-indoor

    The nrc-111 natural gas is also 11k btu as per the web page, but the owners manual lists 16k and .5gpm. One of the two is wrong, probably the manual that was written a while ago and never updated to take into account updates in the hardware.

    So I think any of the new condensing top of the line units would do it? They all have outdoor versions though I linked the indoor ones.
  4. springboard

    springboard New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    oakland, or
    Thanks for the reply. From looking around at specs and performance, it looks like Rinnai and Noritz will probably be my best bet. Simple would be best but I haven't seen large ones without a lot of electronics.
  5. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,812
    Location:
    01609
    Takagi's outdoor units aren't bad either. The vendor with better local support in terms of local factory-certified installers and proximity to distributors is probably more important factor in choosing a manufacturer.

    In Oakland OR it gets cold enough that you could run into freeze damage issues on clear cold night should you ever lose power during sub-freezing temp. Most have resistance electric freeze protection. The thermal mass is low, and the heat exchanger works both ways- it doesn't take sub-zero weather to destroy the heat exchanger if the power goes out- a light wind at 28F can do it. Building an air-tight & insulated bump-out to accomodate an indoor-unit might be a better way to go long term.
  6. springboard

    springboard New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    oakland, or
    Thanks, I haven't looked at the Takagis yet. You're right about looking at local support. The Rinnai local installer is the same outfit I was disappointed with on my Rheem and I'm not looking forward to using them again.

    I hadn't thought of building an insulated bump-out to use an indoor unit. It is probably better long-term and increases my selection possibilities. Is there a price difference in ext/int heaters?
  7. tarjan

    tarjan New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    VA
    A few days or so ago I tried to reply but included a few links so it is in the process of being moderated. That being said, take a look at all of the top of the line units by any of the manufacturers. They all have between 9600 and 15kbtu minimums (including the 111 mentioned, the manual has one number and the brochures another, I think the manual was printed a while ago so your unit is better than you assumed :) ) not to mention rheem's condensing units are up there with similar specs as well. Which one do you specifically have? Do you have the specs for it?

    I think it is probably best to get into detail on what is going on vs just throwing a new unit at the problem, though it may be the best solution. Does the Rheem have any sort of mechanism to show what it believes is the flow rate? You could try to compare the estimated flow rate to the actual flow out of the kitchen sink. Just turn on the tap to hot only, see what it says the flow is and while that is going get a bucket with a known size (a gallon or so) and time how long it takes to fill.

    If you get 1gpm out of your tap but the unit only shows .5gpm, then the problem is probably the sensor or circuit board.

    If it is the same you might want to check to see what temperature it thinks the water is. If the sensor there is bad it could make it go wonky.
  8. springboard

    springboard New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    oakland, or
    Sorry it has taken me a bit to reply, it is a busy season and the water heater has been ignored for a bit. Thanks for your time in answering, tarjan. You are probably right about trying to fix the problem rather than throwing a new heater at it. My frustration has been my inability to get service from the local provider. I have even tried to get out of area plumbers, but they don't want to come way out here or step on other's toes. I have a limited amount of free time and have spent a lot of it on this heater already.

    Specifically, I have a PTG-74X, built by Paloma for Rheem. I can't find a way to know what the sensor thinks the flow rate is, though there might be a way to find it (not on the remote). The household water flow rate has not changed and the water heater did heat the kitchen water for the first year or so that we had it, so maybe it is the flow rate sensor. Occasionally, none of the hot water works and the water must be turned on and off several times to kick the water heater on. The water heater is complex for my abilities and even cleaning it takes a couple hours of disassembly and reassembling.

    The local service provider has the contract for working on most brands, so I may not gain anything by getting a different type.
  9. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    California
    Turning the water on and off to get it to work is suspicious. One would think the flow sensor is suspect. Do you have hard water that could deposit calcium on the sensor and impair it's function? Have you tried flushing with vinegar, or something stronger? It should be possible to diagnose, although that does not mean your local yokel is competent enough to do so.
  10. springboard

    springboard New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    oakland, or
    I did try flushing with vinegar, over an hour last time. My water is a bit hard and does leave deposits. Do you have a suggestion about anything stronger than vinegar?
  11. springboard

    springboard New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    oakland, or
    An update on our water heater and a kudo for Rheem: After many calls to Rheem and messing with possible fixes, Rheem sent a new water heater to replace our old one (it was out of warranty but I called them before warranty expired about the same problem). I was surprised that they suddenly gave up on finding a solution. I assumed they would want to try and replace the flow sensor. It arrived yesterday and I installed it today(didn't even bother trying to get the local service provider involved). Tonight the shower, dish washer, and kitchen sink were running full hot at the same time. That's nice.

    Was the unit I had a bad one or is the model just not that good? I don't know and time will tell whether the new one lasts or not. Either way, Rheem as a company stood behind its product and did a good thing. Thank you, Rheem.
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