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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    91

    Tankless H20 Heaters: Navien vs. Rinnai vs others?

    Looking for some advice on brands below in terms of technology, quality, warranty & service for our new 2900sf 3.5 bathrooms build. Plumbing sub is recommending Navien because the wife likes instant hot & the Navien has the recirculating pump onboard. But at a cost of kwh it appears.

    So Navien vs. Rinnai vs others?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,009
    We install Navien. They work great - for the most part.
    Personally, I would not install a tankless, unless your hot water usage will be very high.
    I know lots of guys here love tankless, and they can save $'s.
    But 1 out of warranty repair will easily wipe out any savings.
    We put one in recently, and it locked up when the owner changed his whole house water filter. Just a few tiny grains of debris locked up the flow sensor. Our fault? His fault? Who knows.
    If I were building new, I would go with a power vent/40 or 50 gallon tanked water heater with a recirc pump if you want "instant hot water.
    "Hey Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort." And he says, "there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice. - Carl Spackler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Pavilion, NY
    Posts
    2,130
    Navian with buffer tank and recirc loop. As stated before, unless you have very little or high usage you probably will not get the payback. In many cases it will cost you more to operate especially if you have several females In the household.
    ...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,724
    Quote Originally Posted by kangaroogod View Post
    Navian with buffer tank and recirc loop. As stated before, unless you have very little or high usage you probably will not get the payback. In many cases it will cost you more to operate especially if you have several females In the household.
    Navien is about to come out with gen3. Absolutely get an A unit (recirc and buffer tank). You won't regret having it and are likely to regret not having it. Naked tankless tend to get complaints of long wait for hot water.

    What are the reasons you are interested in Tankless?

    I generally recommend tankless or electric.

    Sort of like Prius or Hummer. If you drive 50,000 miles a year, prius. 500 miles - get whatever you like cause mileage doesn't matter.
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Portland OR
    Posts
    1,980
    We used to install Navien, we now just install Rinnai. To many recalls on Navien, I have had two parts break on mine, my fathers unit needed a new control board after only a few months. I won't put another one in unless by special request. Maybe gen3 will be better but the first two generations have to many problems. Us and one other company are the only service provides for Navien in my area so we see all sorts of issues.
    Also make sure anybody putting in a tankless runs at least a 1" dedicated gas line or a 1.25" or larger whole house gas line. 99% of 3/4" gas lines I see going to tankless units don't supply more than 140k BTUs and many plumbers and even heating guys don't realize a tankless takes more gas line than a standard water heater.
    Check out my YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/skyheating1 We have customer testimonials, product reviews and more!
    Like us on FACEBOOK if you like our advice here!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Powell River, BC, Canada
    Posts
    763
    You don't buy a tankless for saving $$, you get it for it's abilities and/or space considerations. If you are going to have a demand for A LOT of continuous hot water (having 5 consecutive showers, then filling a huge spa tub, then running the dishwasher, then doing laundry) or you just don't have a spot to put a storage tank, then it's perfect. Otherwise just get a large-ish storage tank (40-60 gal). If you want 'instant' HW, put in a recirc loop.

    Edit: We are Rinnai dealers and they are top quality units and we've had very few problems in about 10 years of installing them, but they are not the answer to everything. They are also not recommended in areas with 'hard' (high mineral) water. Even with regular flushing/de-scaling they don't like it.
    Where are you? Are you done yet? I got ONE more call for you.....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    91
    Quote Originally Posted by tedkidd View Post
    Navien is about to come out with gen3. Absolutely get an A unit (recirc and buffer tank). You won't regret having it and are likely to regret not having it. Naked tankless tend to get complaints of long wait for hot water.

    What are the reasons you are interested in Tankless?

    I generally recommend tankless or electric.

    Sort of like Prius or Hummer. If you drive 50,000 miles a year, prius. 500 miles - get whatever you like cause mileage doesn't matter.
    I have a wife who loves long hot showers.
    We also have a 70" clawfoot tub she luvs to wade in for hours.
    She also has a wardrobe change every min. it seems - so lots of laundry.
    & She uses all her cooking equipment - so more dishes.

    Our builder has always supplied his build with Rinnai but his sub just brought Navien up & referenced some 'new' model coming out.
    I suspect he's referencing the gen3 product.

    Brief conversation today appears to reference the Navien being able to supply no lag hot water to only 2 points?
    Can you expand on that?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    91
    Quote Originally Posted by SkyHeating View Post
    We used to install Navien, we now just install Rinnai. To many recalls on Navien, I have had two parts break on mine, my fathers unit needed a new control board after only a few months. I won't put another one in unless by special request. Maybe gen3 will be better but the first two generations have to many problems. Us and one other company are the only service provides for Navien in my area so we see all sorts of issues.
    Hmm...that's not a good reference for Navien.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkyHeating View Post
    Also make sure anybody putting in a tankless runs at least a 1" dedicated gas line or a 1.25" or larger whole house gas line. 99% of 3/4" gas lines I see going to tankless units don't supply more than 140k BTUs and many plumbers and even heating guys don't realize a tankless takes more gas line than a standard water heater.
    Good to know & will speak to my builder & his construction manager about this.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,724
    Quote Originally Posted by Ben44 View Post
    I have a wife who loves long hot showers.
    We also have a 70" clawfoot tub she luvs to wade in for hours.
    She also has a wardrobe change every min. it seems - so lots of laundry.
    & She uses all her cooking equipment - so more dishes.

    Our builder has always supplied his build with Rinnai but his sub just brought Navien up & referenced some 'new' model coming out.
    I suspect he's referencing the gen3 product.

    Brief conversation today appears to reference the Navien being able to supply no lag hot water to only 2 points?
    Can you expand on that?
    Navien will be perfect for you. You may want to wire controller to the kitchen.

    Many early tankless had undersized gas lines, typically low bid retrofit done by people who thought they could shortcut changing gas lines. They won the bid because proper install was not included. Changing gas line ain't free.

    Poorly operating Rennai's masked the problem through use of a mixing valve. Mixing valves and bad gas pressure are both efficiency killers invisible on gas, but on Propane poor volume = soot. If you have propane be extra careful to avoid shortcut contractors.

    From a technological perspective I view Rennai as a typewriter (high quality selectric), Navien as an iPad. I've heard the waiting for water bothers some people enough that they've pulled their Rennai's and gone back to tanks.

    I always insist on the Navien A - buffer tank and pump. I know people who regret not having the ability to turn from "on demand" to "instantaneous," and am grateful the blame doesn't fall on my shoulders.

    Recirc loop should come back from furthest fitting and be completely insulated. We've installed whole house water filters in front of these heaters, might be a good durability upgrade since this looks like it'll be 30 financed.
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,724
    Just finished attending the npe webinar. It can use 1/2 gas pipe because it's basically able to pull gas out of the pipe instead of counting on it being supplied. (simplified one stage modulating negative pressure venturi gas valve instead of 3 stage positive pressure set up on nr/np series):

    This is a reminder that "Introduction to Navien's NPE, Premium Condensing Tankless Gas Water Heater" will begin in 1 hour on:
    Fri, Oct 12, 2012 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT
    Add to Calendar

    Can learns hot water habits and manage recirc.
    Solar and storage delay to sense temp.
    100' 1/2 recirc, 500' @3/4

    Amazing product!! And HUD/Manufactured Home approved.




    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Calgary, Alberta
    Posts
    1,105
    Quote Originally Posted by tedkidd View Post
    Just finished attending the npe webinar. It can use 1/2 gas pipe because it's basically able to pull gas out of the pipe instead of counting on it being supplied. (simplified one stage modulating negative pressure venturi gas valve instead of 3 stage positive pressure set up on nr/np series):

    This is a reminder that "Introduction to Navien's NPE, Premium Condensing Tankless Gas Water Heater" will begin in 1 hour on:
    Fri, Oct 12, 2012 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT
    Add to Calendar

    Can learns hot water habits and manage recirc.
    Solar and storage delay to sense temp.
    100' 1/2 recirc, 500' @3/4

    Amazing product!! And HUD/Manufactured Home approved.




    Pull gas out of the line? That's crazy!! So what happens when another appliance needs gas and the pressure drop is too great for it to operate properly?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,724
    Yes, this means if you do a crappy job of sizing the gas line the other appliances may suffer.
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    91
    Quote Originally Posted by tedkidd View Post
    Navien will be perfect for you. You may want to wire controller to the kitchen.

    Many early tankless had undersized gas lines, typically low bid retrofit done by people who thought they could shortcut changing gas lines. They won the bid because proper install was not included. Changing gas line ain't free.

    Poorly operating Rennai's masked the problem through use of a mixing valve. Mixing valves and bad gas pressure are both efficiency killers invisible on gas, but on Propane poor volume = soot. If you have propane be extra careful to avoid shortcut contractors.

    From a technological perspective I view Rennai as a typewriter (high quality selectric), Navien as an iPad. I've heard the waiting for water bothers some people enough that they've pulled their Rennai's and gone back to tanks.

    I always insist on the Navien A - buffer tank and pump. I know people who regret not having the ability to turn from "on demand" to "instantaneous," and am grateful the blame doesn't fall on my shoulders.

    Recirc loop should come back from furthest fitting and be completely insulated. We've installed whole house water filters in front of these heaters, might be a good durability upgrade since this looks like it'll be 30 financed.
    Thank you for the info. Some good stuff to chew on with my builder & the subs.
    Actually fwd your & SkyHeating 's mssg to my builder already last night & have gotten feedback aligned with the sizing recommendations.

    How is the customer service & warranty for Navien?
    hard water issues?

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