Navien Installation Quote

Discussion in 'Tankless Water Heater Forum' started by Robenco15, Mar 12, 2021.

  1. Robenco15

    Robenco15 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Hello,

    Had someone out yesterday to look at my Navien CH210 and it was determined that given it’s age and all of its issues, a new one would be a better decision.

    So I got a quote today for a new Navien and the installation. ~$7.5k.

    The new Navien (NCBE210) is around $2.4k so the installation is around $5k.

    They did mention needing to change the exhaust from a PVC to a CPVC, so maybe that added to it, but does $5k sound about right? I’m located in Fairfield County, CT.

    Thanks.
     
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    You can download and review the installation manual for your new tankless...the instructions specifically state that either PVC or CPVC solid core piping can be used for the venting. Now, they also suggest replacing the piping, but if what’s there is in good shape, it should be able to be reused if it’s either 2 or 3”.

    One potential big cost can be if they need to upsize the gas supply line.

    $5K in labor implies a fair amount of time. Without being there, it’s hard to say how much work it will take. There will be some more in parts than the device itself, but pvc pip is relatively cheap.
     
  3. Sponsor

    Sponsor Paid Advertisement

     
  4. plumber69

    plumber69 In the Trades

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2014
    Location:
    Prince Rupert, British Columbia
    How old is your navien. Here we would replace a hot water tank with a navien for about 5500 canadian. Watch mikey pipes on YouTube. He recently did a video on a flaw navien has
     
    automaton likes this.
  5. Robenco15

    Robenco15 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    Location:
    Connecticut
    My Navien is old. 8-10 years, maybe a lot more. Don’t know because it was there when I bought the house and I can’t see the sticker on the side because it’s against the wall.

    The exhaust pipe is black on the inside and covered with soot. When it does exhaust, it smells heavily of propane. It’s been getting an ignition error code and when that happens the pipes start dripping. Nothing comes out of the condensation line. There’s a burn mark on the inside of the front cover. The heat exchange could be replaced but they said given the age in another year it’ll be something else that costs thousands of dollars. There’s corrosion inside. It runs dirty apparently. It’s a mess.

    I spoke to the boss or manager or whoever and apparently some of the actual piping in how it was configured isn’t great eitherand they also recommended a Utica over a Navien as the Utica is more reliable.

    To install the Utica would mean to change some of the piping, aka fix it, and probably brings the quote to almost $9k. They’d also need to rearrange the piping because the Utica is larger and it’s already in a tight spot.

    I want it done right, but that’s a lot of money. Going to try to have someone else take a look and let me know what they think.

    Apparently Naviens are not easy to take apart and work on so what may take an hour on the Utica takes 3-4 on the Navien.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    You realize that you could probably have a decent tank-type WH installed for way less than what they propose for a tankless. Today’s tanks are required to be more efficient. You may even be a candidate for a hybrid electric unit what with the price of propane these days, may end up cheaper to run.

    If you fail to do maintenance on a tankless system, it can quickly degrade performance and efficiency. While a tank can benefit form maintenance, the vast majority of them never see any until they fail.

    Tankless systems have their good points, but tanks do, too such as full hot at whatever the number of users (until it runs out, though!). Which can make filling a big tub much more feasible. The ground water inlet temp in CT may not be super cold, but not much further north, I’ve measured mine at 33-degrees after a cold spell...that makes a tankless much less desirable.
     
  7. Robenco15

    Robenco15 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I have another company coming Monday to take a look. I’ll talk to them about other options too. Given the extent of moving the piping around, I can’t imagine going away from tankless will be much cheaper. We’ll see I guess.

    It isn’t just my hot water, it also heats my home so I’m not sure if a normal tank WH would be able to do that for a better price.
     
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    Things get much more complicated when you have a tankless system as your boiler to heat there house, too.

    But, a small, wall-hung boiler with an indirect water heater might also be an option. One thing that often happens is a boiler is way oversized. When you have an indirect, it generally doesn’t need to be upsized for heating the water for the tank.
     
  9. automaton

    automaton I just like reading manuals

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2021
    Location:
    New England
    Robenco has a combi boiler, so more piping involved. I talked to several pros and if you bring up modifying or adding equipment, price goes up, even if you go to another tankless but the same brand. I had a couple quotes not too long ago to swap out a CH on warranty and they were about 10K not including the boiler, but that included redoing the near-boiler piping plus supplies/other hardware. So 12.5+K with a boiler! I'm up north in MA which is pricey but I'd think CT is not that much cheaper. As pricey as it seems, your quote actually doesn't seem too bad in comparison. Is your unit out of warranty? Oftentimes Navien authorizes replacement of the whole thing due to heat exchangers failing (unit only, you have to pay for labor).

    Regarding your piping, I'm not a pro, but here are some things I see that might need potential fixes (pic is a bit small so hard to see).
    • The air scoop is squished between elbows - my understanding is you need 18" of straight pipe before it for max air elimination. But then again, yours probably worked fine, just less efficiently for a decade. So has mine. I would still want a Spirovent-like device in my next install just because I don't like the idea of iron pipe anywhere near a mod-con boiler.
    • I don't see any condensate drain line, unless it's the white tube going into the tupperware (doesn't seem to come from the right place?). You want that going into a condensate neutralizer, then into a pump. Or an all-in-one. Seems pretty easy to hook up with PVC pipe as a DIY to be honest. Moot point, because it's not condensing, but if they are going to charge you $500 for it with a new install when you can hook it up for $100...
    • Hard to tell what's going on with your primary loop, but are there any service ports near the boiler? You'd want those for the new one to flush the exchanger, at least once in a while. The 'closely-spaced' Ts might be too far but it might just mean you have less-than-ideal hydraulic separation, not necessarily something to fix.
    • Hydronic loop fill line? I think I see a small take-off from the DHW side, hidden behind the gas line. You'll need a backflow preventer and likely a pressure reducer on it. Some like to hardwire it into the loop directly rather than into the tankless. Or both.
    • Many install magnetic/dirt filters these days on the return.
    PVC exhaust... if your vent is black/sooty, I'd definitely want it replaced, makes little sense to take that chance. That's probably a bit of work although looks like DuraVent has some 3" polypro that's easier to work with and doesn't require glue, seals with clamps and gaskets. Comparing the install manuals, the exhaust vent on the NCB is slightly further away from the intake (0.9"), DHW cold line is 0.3" further away from the hot, and the cold fill line moves but the rest of the ports look to be in about the same spot (except gas, that does need to be moved to the center of the unit). MikeyPipes claims he can do a Navien in 4 hours, though that's just boots on the ground time, there's supplies, pickup/dropoff, overhead, preparation, I'm sure he doesn't charge just the 4 hours. I guess figure out what exactly they want to do because it starts adding up and see if that makes sense to you.
     
  10. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Location:
    01609
    Mind you Mikey only attributed only to the combi-boilers, not their water heaters.

    Many/most normal sized houses aren't really ideal for combi-boilers, due to the high minimum-modulated output (compared to smaller-burner modulating condensing boilers.) In all too many cases the heating load is too small for the size of the burner, and there isn't sufficient radiation to emit the full minimum-fire output of the boiler at water temps low enough for condensing efficiency, so they get stuck run at 87% efficiency at a higher temps, or they short cycle themselves into low as-used efficiency (and potentially an early grave). A napkin math version on how to analyze that problem lives here.

    Where there is sufficient radiation for condensing efficiency, in low load applications they can often be run at a low fixed temperature (not using the outdoor reset function) and do just fine even though they're not modulating with load.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2021
  11. Robenco15

    Robenco15 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Had another company come take a look. Recommended replacing the Navien with a new Navien, leaving the piping as is, and installing an outdoor sensor (per my request). They would also replace the first 4 feet of the exhaust with CPVC.

    He didn’t seem to think the soot inside the exhaust pipe was a large concern, which maybe concerned me, lol.

    Quoted me at around $6600. I’ll get a firm quote today or tomorrow.

    Going to have one more company come in and take a look. My neighbor who is a contractor and builds homes gave me the number of two guys he knows who has experience with tankless heaters. I may call one of them as well, but I’m more comfortable with a company vs. “a guy.”

    The tech today told me that with annual service, a new tankless Navien Combi should last me 15-20 years, much more than the 8-10 years another company told me.

    Does 15-20 sound right?
     
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    Over the years, it’s not unusual to need a new part or two, so, sort of depends on how good the manufacturer is on keeping parts in stock. They don’t have to keep repair parts beyond a certain timeframe (I think it’s 10-years or so), but depending on their volume, and how many were made, either they or an aftermarket company may make parts. One thing that can help is to install a whole-home surge suppressor. Even smaller spikes on the line that may not immediately break SS components, they can act like chopping a tree down...it doesn’t fall with the first chop, but each succeeding one makes it weaker until it does fail. Not as important for many items, but for something you intend to keep a long time, it can be worth it.

    The hassle with something like a tankless system is that, unlike a typical tank, parts tend to be more proprietary, so your source of parts may be limited, and probably non-existent on a weekend or after hours, especially on an older model.
     
  13. Robenco15

    Robenco15 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Alright, first company came back today.

    Thinking of doing a hybrid heat pump 40 gallon tank for our potable hot water and installing a Navien boiler (not combi) to replace the combi. Should be similar in price to putting in a Utica and redoing the piping, but this way the Navien boiler won’t be stressed as much as a combi and we won’t have to do any piping. Navien boilers seem to be reliable vs. their combi version.
     
  14. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Location:
    01609
    Navien has a few different model lines of boiler. The NHB-series would pretty much drop in to a system reasonably well designed for an NCB or CH combi, but you may need/want to make changes to optimize it if going with one of the NFBs.

    It always makes sense to run the napkin math on the radiation relative to the minimum firing rate of whatever they're recommending. The NHB-80 is more than enough boiler for 90 out of 100 homes in CT, and can throttle back to less than half the minimum firing rate of the smallest NFB.
     
  15. Robenco15

    Robenco15 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Going with a Utica MAHF floor standing unit we’ll wall mount. The Utica’s heat exchanger can be taken out to be cleaned. Can’t do that with a Navien apparently.
     
  16. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Location:
    01609
    The minimum firing rate of the MAHF series is 22,000 BTU/hr-in, which at 95% efficiency delivers ~21,000 BTU/hr out. For a low mass fin-tube baseboard system to balance perfectly (no on/off cycling during calls for heat) takes about 100' of baseboard (per zone, if broken into zones.) Also, 21,000 BTU/hr is more than half the design heat load for most reasonably tight normal sized homes in SW CT.

    The maximum firing rate of an MAHF is 125,000 BTU/hr-in, and less than 120,000 BTU/hr out. That is VERY marginal on the hot water heating side in your location. It will support a single full-flow shower even in winter with some margin, but not much margin, and may require scheduling showers to not coincide with dish/clothes washing. A 199KBTU/hr-in type combi would be more appropriate for any home in CT with more than 1 bath.

    Pulling the heat exchangers on Navien's isn't a huge project, but it's also not necessary for cleaning. Plumbing in some stops and purge/cleaning ports during installation would give you the option of de-scaling and cleaning the water side of the heat exchanger in-situ every year or three (if needed).

    HTP has a 19K-199K floor mount combi that would probably work better than an MAHF in a house with more than one bath. It's min-fire output at condensing temps is only 18,000 BTU/hr which takes "only" ~90' of baseboard to balance without cycling. The EFTC boilers also have some thermal mass in it's fire-tube heat exchanger to work with on suppressing short cycling should the system turn out to be a bit shy on radiation (unlike the MAHF.)
     
  17. Robenco15

    Robenco15 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2018
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Yeah, we’re doing a Utica boiler (with outdoor temperature sensor) and a Rheem Hybrid 50 gallon tank. Gets installed tomorrow. $9.6k. Navien completely died last night. No heat in the house or hot water. Cannot wait for them to come tomorrow. Very happy to be moving away from Navien and tankless. Going to cut down on me posting in this forum by probably 100%. Thanks for all the help over these past 3 years!
     
    leo.volin likes this.
Similar Threads: Navien Installation
Forum Title Date
Tankless Water Heater Forum Installation of a Navien 210A unit and Expansion tank needed? Aug 17, 2011
Tankless Water Heater Forum Upgrade from Navien NR240 to NPE-240A2 Sunday at 6:24 AM
Tankless Water Heater Forum Navien NPE-240A hot water takes a long time to reach faucet Sep 16, 2021
Tankless Water Heater Forum Is my Navien set up correctly/ & circulating too often? Sep 10, 2021
Tankless Water Heater Forum Navien NCB-240e Air intake not installed? Jul 4, 2021

Share This Page