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  1. #1

    WaterFurnace Synergy 3

    I am currently without heat (6 days and counting) in southern VT for the second time in 2 years. This is the third failure of the system in the last 3 years. In the third failure, we went 14 days with no hot water in March 2009.

    What is particularly disturbing is that 2 of the failures were identical: freon leak in the reversing valve. The third was a fried mother board on the water to water unit.

    We installed a Water Furnace Synergy3 in 2006. The table below shows the dates of the failures, my cost out of pocket, and what the “10 year” warrantee did for me, the failure and days out of service.

    From my experience the problems Water Furnace faces are as follows:

    • Part distribution takes way to long. FW Webb does not stock the parts. They – mostly – are shipped from Canada. Waiting is the majority of the down time.

    FWIW I went 10 days with out heat in VT in January when the wind chill hit 20 below zero. 14 days with out hot water forced me to drop in an electric hot water heater. And early this week – without heat – temps dropped to 15 degrees.

    • The 10 year warrantee is a fairy tale. 3 failures within 3 years have resulted in zero labor coverage and no electrical parts (mother board in my case). One reversing valve was provided; another is expected.

    • There is a serious design – or manufacturing - flaw in the reversing valve. 2 identical failures within 2 years is simply unacceptable. My current failure is a leak in the same spot on the same part.

    So what lessons do we have for those considering alternative energies:

    1. Design backups into you system. I dropped in an electric hot water heater to backup the water to water unit. A wood stove backs up the water to air unit. I am considering electric base board so I am not trapped in the house thru these outages. And a refrigeration contractor backs up my installer (who left the country last year).
    2. Double any advertised “pay-back” period. At this pace (3 failures in 3 years) my unit will NEVER pay for itself. Also need to add the costs of installing and operating the required back-up.
    3. Don’t rely on the warrantee. It probably won’t be there when you need it.

    I’ll be curious to see what labor is covered by WaterFurnance for my current outage … but I am not holding my breath.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Idaho Falls, ID
    Sounds like you need to call WaterFurnace. I have some questions send me an e-mail.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    I have installed many Synergy systems...including the synergy3d. I have never seen those problems... ever. knock on wood !!! These things are made by humans and we have had occasional part failures.
    Was your installing dealer an approved factory trained company? It could be that the second valve was damaged during the repair. A good company will stock parts, some parts are hard to stock and we always red tag over night fed ex when a repair is need in extreme weather. Why were you charged for the parts?
    Genius = The guy who can do anything...except make a living!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    south cental iowa
    when you installed the system was he the low bidder?

  5. #5
    The installer was New England Ground Source. Yes, trained by Water Furnace. He has since left the state for Canada (another problem in the WF business model ... single source of failure). I can fault him for lousy service and lack of availability (since he left the country). But the 3 failures fall solely on WaterFurnace. Poor manufacuring and/or part service.

    FWIW the second reversing valve has been shipped UPS and will arrive Monday ... DAY 8 WITH NO HEAT. Who's fault is that?!? The part was ordered day 2 ... WF simply has no process to get parts out the door.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    My installer had a unit right before mine that had two compressor failures, air coil failure with the air coil failing in between the two compressors I think. Anyway WF replaced the Premiere E unit with an Envision at no cost to the end user. I think a lot of your problems lie with your contractor.

  7. #7
    As I said my contractor left the country. So what's WaterFurnace's policy to cover an abandoned install? I EMAILED WF customer service after failure #2 (motherboard) explaining that the installer was AWOL .... who do I call for service in the area ....

    Here's the response I got from WaterFurnace customer service:

    thank you for contacting us here at WFI. Please contact you contractor and havr them file a

    warrenty claim on the part that they replaced.

    Best regards,
    Dave Shepherd
    Technical Service Advisor
    WaterFurnace International, Inc
    So I tell WF my installer is GONE/AWOL/DEAD and they "have him call me". That's not customer service; it's customer AVOIDANCE.

  8. #8
    FWIW, I did file a warranty claim via FW Webb for the part and service costs. The claim was rejected because the unit was 18 months old.

    So much for the 10 year warranty.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    northern Indiana
    FWIW, I did file a warranty claim via FW Webb for the part and service costs. The claim was rejected because the unit was 18 months old.

    So much for the 10 year warranty.
    Reply With Quote

    Apparently you purchased the unit with an 18 month parts only warranty.
    Did you buy it from the installer, or a commercial rep/disr?
    If you buy from a commercial rep/dist you only have 18 months warranty.
    10 year warranty is "bought" at time of purchase, do you have the paperwork for that?

  10. #10
    I emailed WF to determine if I have the 18mo, 5yr or 10yr warranty. Was told I had 10 yr by my installer. Mailed in my cards upon install; the stub i am left with makes no reference to the duration

  11. #11
    Got lesson in the WF warranty process: WF warrantees the equipment they manufacture and assemble for 10 years. My two pieces were manufactured by GeoSmart and assembled by Waterfurance. So any equipment issues need to be warranteed by GeoSmart (wish I knew this back in March - motherboard failure - might have saved a few bucks). Called GeoSmart ... thier warrantee is 1 year external; 5 years internal; 10 years major refrigeration.

    My AWOL installer - Dave Cardill - is second generation Geothermal ... his father is big in the Ottawa area. Dave was featured in a PBS segment featuring Geothermal around the time I was shopping this job. Price was not my biggest concern although a similar job was quoted around 30k with a sales rep involved. Cardill does his own "sales"; so I reasoned that I was saving a few $$ (~6k) cutting out the middle man (not sacraficing quality ... or so I thought). Would this have been different with some sales support ... maybe (I'ld have had another advocate).

  12. #12
    Here’s a update … the new rep came out to the house late last week. Tweaked a few things on the system: it was over charged with Freon (as a result of the reversing valve repair); increased water flow; one dip switch was not to his liking. Said there are some install issues … most glaring was I need to cut in an expansion tank prior to the radiant tubes.

    As far as the reversing valve failures: these were manufacturing faults in his opinion. The condenser was seen to vibrate the system too much. Over time – he speculates – the weak link on the reversing valves lets go (happened to me twice in two years). So he loosened the 3 bolts anchoring the compressor and shimmed it away from the floor. The vibration was significantly reduced.

    The water to water unit is still tripping out with an “FP”. Running on the electric hot water tank for now. He has some ideas to share the water between the units. Needs to come back this week. He’ll also install the electric “backup” panel. My original installer insisted he “never” installs them. The new rep “always” installs them. I’ve learned a back-up. is a must (not a luxury).

    Stay tuned

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Upstate, SC
    Wow, wonder what the final resolution was?? We've been a WaterFurnace dealer for many years and have never had any problems with the sytems, or in getting questions answered and parts when we needed them. I can't help but think you aren't really out any money yet. You're just spending from that 6 grand you tried to save by taking a short cut.

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