Friday, July 14, 2017

The Saga of:
The Rinnai Hot Water Heater Replacement

When we returned from our trip to Oregon on May 20th, we discovered one of the two Rinnai water heaters wasn't working properly and called our local energy company (WOC) to come and take a look. They, or their Towanda office, had installed the originals when we built the house so they were the ones to look it over, diagnose the problem and perform repairs as needed.

Guy shows up the next morning and says they (the Mansfield office) and he personally don't do Rinnai heaters but some other brand, but he'll look it over. Came to me and said the automatic diagnostic program says the ignition fan was not functioning and needs to be replaced. Okay. So they ordered the parts and came back a few days later.

Turns out it wasn't the fan that needed replacing but the entire unit as there was a leak/crack in the heat exchanger which caused water to get into the fan and, thus, caused it to malfunction. No charge for the replacement parts I didn't need. We'll just send them back. Okay, order me a replacement.

Next day I get a call: they don't make that model any more but the new model has the same footprint according to the Rinnai people and it should be easy-peasy to pop in. Oh, and the unit we are replacing? That's been out of warranty for almost a year. Sorry.  Good and bad news, right? Fine get a new unit out here and get it installed.

A week later, they bring the new unit out. Take the old unit off the wall and hang the new one. All the incoming pipes (gas and water) and the outgoing water pipe simply plug into the new unit just fine. The exhaust, however, is a whole 'nother ball of wax.

The exhaust has an exterior diameter that's fine, but the interior pipe (the one carrying the hot gases) is a different diameter. They need to get a new exhaust pipe.

They come back today with the "right" exhaust pipe. It's got the proper diameters and everything. But the coupling from heating unit to pipe is wrong. Whereas the old pipe was male-female the new one is female-make and it needs a different gasket--which Rinnai did not send. Aarrgghh!

We're now on to week four of this dog and pony show. And I can't blame the guys from WOC. They've been told only partial truths by the Rinnai supplier. And the Rinnai supplier has not thought far enough into the project to realize what is needed. It's like some idiot robot only answering the specific question being asked with no thought as to what comes next. How could they not understand that replacing the old unit would require a complete new exhaust?

It's a good thing we had TWO heaters on the wall when this started and that we were able to by-pass one so we still get hot water.


Rev. Paul said...

"Aarrgghh!" is right. Sheesh!

threecollie said...

What a pain! We looked into that style of heater during the hot water siege here but were told our water is too full of crud for them to function. Alan designed a work around for our current set up that is giving us enough hot water for the first time since we lived here.