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Eternal Tankless and a difficult customer

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  • Eternal Tankless and a difficult customer

    I am meeting with the national rep and the Local rep from Eternal at a customers house tomorrow to figure out what is wrong. We took two 50 gallon gas heaters out of the attic, and installed one Eternal tankless Gu195s. House has 4 bathrooms. Customer bought the house from a bank about 6 months ago. We put the tankless in first part of Dec. 2010. We also installed a grundfos comfort series on the tankless and put valves under master, kitchen and one upstairs bathroom. Everything was working fine, then the complaints started. Water smells funny (both hot and cold), "must be the tankless". Water leaked through a flashing during an ice storm "must be the tankless". Hot water takes to long to one of the upstairs sinks, shower is fine, "must be the tankless". Hot water not as consistent at one of the shower upstairs, wasn't like that before you were here. "must be the tankless". We never had a problem before you arrived. "must be the tankless". We have gone back at least 8 times. We found nothing wrong with the tankless every time. We ran 3 showers for 45 minutes. Temperatures stayed within 3 degrees. We went out at different times of day. We changed out the grundfos system to two taco d'mand systems (on my own dime). We changed out the moen cartridge twice in the shower that was giving them problems. Now she wants a new unit, and wants me to take the d'mand pumps out, because she doesn't like the push button and won't let me mount a wired motion sensor on the wall. I am about to lose my mind. I don't know anymore. I am the guy in this area that everyone calls, including Eternal, to service and work on tankless units. I really hope the national and local rep can help. My fear is they throw me under the bus, somehow. You know reps. I will let you know tomorrow.
    "don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"

  • #2
    Re: Eternal Tankless and a difficult customer

    This is why I refuse to install tankless water heaters.

    Where I live I would have to battle colder water temps in the winter, and extremely hard water in certain area's around me on top of the little things that could go wrong.

    I refuse to be a guinea pig for these tankless companies. They are simply not for me to install, and I'll gladly pass on any customer who insists on having one.

    I truly feel for you.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Eternal Tankless and a difficult customer

      thanks, but no tankless

      not a fan of tankless, even though i have 1 at my house with a metlund demand pump.

      rick.
      phoebe it is

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Eternal Tankless and a difficult customer

        I love Rinnai tankless. I install them all the time, no problems. I even put one at my house. Saves me a hell of a lot of propane I will gladly replace a gas tank water heater with a tankless.

        I suggest taking a class with one of the manufactures that your wholesaler stocks. I took both Rinnai and Rheem's class. I gotta say Rinnai is a much better built machine.
        Ray

        “Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think.”— Francisco d'Anconia
        Atlas Shrugged (Part 2, Chapter 2, Page 411)

        www.mauiplumbinginc.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Eternal Tankless and a difficult customer

          Sounds like the customer is the problem. Now you have to find a way to tell them that while making them feel all warm and fuzzy too. Good luck.
          Mike

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Eternal Tankless and a difficult customer

            Originally posted by mpm View Post
            I love Rinnai tankless. I install them all the time, no problems. I even put one at my house. Saves me a hell of a lot of propane I will gladly replace a gas tank water heater with a tankless.

            I suggest taking a class with one of the manufactures that your wholesaler stocks. I took both Rinnai and Rheem's class. I gotta say Rinnai is a much better built machine.
            I took the Noritz class, and they couldn't get me out of there fast enough. The Noritz Rep didn't like the questions I was asking, as I was also getting looks from the counter guys as well.

            All of my questions basically centered around the coil inside, and them liming up. Certain parts of this country have horrendous water quality, with me having plenty of those areas.. Anyone who acids boilers will tell you that once these coils lime up, no heat transfer, the phone starts ringing.

            Yes these companies tell you to flush the units periodically, and yes you can acid these coils. But a coil can only only have an acid treatment so many times, before the entire unit needs to be replaced. I asked the question "Can these coils ONLY be replaced"? The rep turned to me and said "No they cannot, you need to replace the entire unit".

            Don't get me wrong...I think tankless has it's place, just not in a Residential setting. If I'm correct, it's 300 gallons of Hot water for the first hour? Who in the world uses that in their home? People would barely use half that in the first hour alone. It's all about saving water these days, and these tankless companies are inviting people to use more water behind the guise of endless hot water.

            But, Noritz clearly states that bad water quality voids the warranty if any damage is done to the unit. Something that was conveniently not said during the classes I been too.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Eternal Tankless and a difficult customer

              If the Rep knows where his paycheck comes from, he won't throw you under the bus. In fact he should do cart wheels to get this resolved for you.

              Set up a meeting with you AND the customer present. Have him look over the install and make any recommendations.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Eternal Tankless and a difficult customer

                Originally posted by Flux View Post
                I took the Noritz class, and they couldn't get me out of there fast enough. The Noritz Rep didn't like the questions I was asking, as I was also getting looks from the counter guys as well.

                All of my questions basically centered around the coil inside, and them liming up. Certain parts of this country have horrendous water quality, with me having plenty of those areas.. Anyone who acids boilers will tell you that once these coils lime up, no heat transfer, the phone starts ringing.

                Yes these companies tell you to flush the units periodically, and yes you can acid these coils. But a coil can only only have an acid treatment so many times, before the entire unit needs to be replaced. I asked the question "Can these coils ONLY be replaced"? The rep turned to me and said "No they cannot, you need to replace the entire unit".

                Don't get me wrong...I think tankless has it's place, just not in a Residential setting. If I'm correct, it's 300 gallons of Hot water for the first hour? Who in the world uses that in their home? People would barely use half that in the first hour alone. It's all about saving water these days, and these tankless companies are inviting people to use more water behind the guise of endless hot water.

                But, Noritz clearly states that bad water quality voids the warranty if any damage is done to the unit. Something that was conveniently not said during the classes I been too.
                We have poor water quality here on certain parts of the island, very hard water with lots of other mineral deposits and volcanic ash.

                However, the Rinnai rep told us that lime scale build up is common. Its easy to remedy with some distilled white vinegar, a 5 gal bucket, hose and a pump.

                Another guy in the class asked how many times you can do this with out damaging the unit, and the rep said well as many times as you need to but hopefully you wont need to very often, a whole house filter on the cold side of the unit would greatly help.

                However, you can replace the heat exchanger coil on the Rinnai. I've worked on every brand, Rheem, Rinnai, Bosch, Norwitz, Eternal. Rinnai is by far the best.

                I sometimes feel like I am to Rinnai what plumber rick is to the K-60 .
                Ray

                “Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think.”— Francisco d'Anconia
                Atlas Shrugged (Part 2, Chapter 2, Page 411)

                www.mauiplumbinginc.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Eternal Tankless and a difficult customer

                  Originally posted by mpm View Post
                  However, the Rinnai rep told us that lime scale build up is common. Its easy to remedy with some distilled white vinegar, a 5 gal bucket, hose and a pump..
                  Yea, the Noritz Rep. fed us the vinegar routine as well, however that trick has been around long before I even got into this trade 25 years ago.

                  Oil companies back in the day use to use the harshest acids to wash these coils, and in the end most coils I see today are cut loose, and a separate water heater installed right beside the boiler.

                  It's very easy for Reps to say the coils can be cleaned, but how many people are actually going to do it? The same thing was said back when boilers started manufacturing domestic coils, and how easy it was to clean them out.

                  Doing burner service for many years now, I see many coils that are so jammed solid, an acid wash won't even break it loose to fix the problem, and I've been around acid washing since my father started teaching me this trade.

                  Unfortunately, I honestly believe these tankless water heaters are going to meet the same fate as Domestic Boiler coils in the end.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Eternal Tankless and a difficult customer

                    Originally posted by mpm View Post
                    We have poor water quality here on certain parts of the island, very hard water with lots of other mineral deposits and volcanic ash.

                    However, the Rinnai rep told us that lime scale build up is common. Its easy to remedy with some distilled white vinegar, a 5 gal bucket, hose and a pump.

                    Another guy in the class asked how many times you can do this with out damaging the unit, and the rep said well as many times as you need to but hopefully you wont need to very often, a whole house filter on the cold side of the unit would greatly help.

                    However, you can replace the heat exchanger coil on the Rinnai. I've worked on every brand, Rheem, Rinnai, Bosch, Norwitz, Eternal. Rinnai is by far the best.

                    I sometimes feel like I am to Rinnai what plumber rick is to the K-60 .
                    How long have the units been in service.Takagi has been around close twenty years or so out here.I'm not hearing anything about if they made it to their predicted service length.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Eternal Tankless and a difficult customer

                      Zoeller has a vinegar system for flushing tankless water heters
                      ''Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" Benjamin Franklin

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Eternal Tankless and a difficult customer

                        Does the hard water also affect and shorten the life of tanks. I would have thought the interior of the tanks would also have scale buildup and I'm assuming unlike a tankless there is not much you can do.

                        Flushing a tankless is no big deal - just install access ports in the plumbing and then flush using vinegar or descaling solution. You can rig up your own solution using the correct plumbing adapters, some plastic hose and a drill pump. That's what I used to do until I got a water softener.

                        For those of you who do plumbing for a living I would have thought it would be a way to provide an annual service for your customers who need this service - flush, clean sensors, check the vent etc.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Eternal Tankless and a difficult customer

                          UPDATE: Met with three reps from Eternal at customers house today. When I first arrived, the husband said that the d'mand pump at his sink was messing up, and letting too much hot water into the cold side. When I walked into the Master bathroom, I found that another plumbing company had been out and installed a new Moen exact temp. They are also installing a shower valve in the other downstairs bathroom. The master was missing pieces on the trim and not level. I asked about it, and he avoided direct questions. I explained that they had to turn the water off to install the valve, and it is possible that debris got into the pump and is messing it up. He then said, his usual go to: "it has been doing that since you installed it." I held my tongue. I was thinking: "Really, you have called me every time there is any little noise or issue with the tankless, but waited 3 weeks to just tell me now about the pump, I highly doubt it". When the reps arrived, the husband took off and left us with his wife to handle the issues (Coward). I Had the customer explain what problems she was having. We went to the unit. The reps complimented me on the install, and said it was "textbook". They started running the tests. They had done their research on me and knew that I was already servicing warranty issues on their units for them and other plumbers. Unit was producing 7 gpm at 130 degree F, incoming water was 60 degree F. No codes in the unit, exchanger working properly. Nothing wrong with the unit or install. Now to explain to the customer. Rep told customer unit was working fine, She fired back "my husband and I are not liars". It got a little tense. I jumped in and took control of the situation. I explained, that we do not doubt that something is going on, but that it may be something to do with the actual shower valve upstairs or plumbing system. She said, "I never had that problem before". I then said, "I know you moved in July of 2010. We installed the unit the first week of December 2010. Is it possible that you didn't know that something was going on? She persisted, with the same line of reasoning. I then asked her to tell us exactly which fixtures that are giving her problems. She said "every one of them". I then said, "Ok, the Master tub?" She replied, "NO". I then said, "the kitchen sink", She replied "NO". I then said, "The Master sinks?", She replied, "NO, well the one with the pump problem". I said, "I know about the pump, we will fix that, what we are looking for is what fixtures are giving you inconsistent hot water, or no hot water." She said, the Master shower, and the one's upstairs. I said, "Ok, the showers or sinks upstairs?" She replied, "The shower's", I said, "OK, Have you used both showers or just the one that we have looked at before?" She said, "just the one" DING DING DING, We do have a winner! (NO, I didn't say that last part to her) So, it is two showers that are causing the problems? She then became defensive and started to shut down. She started bringing up the "before the tankless" statement's. I then said, "Ok, do you want me to take the tankless out and install two tanks like before? I will do that. I will put two tanks up there, undo all the piping, I have done, and take the pumps back. It will be just like before, but if I do that, and you still have the problem, then we are still at square one." She said, "I don't want tanks in my attic. I want tankless, I just want it fixed." I said, "Ok, then I will call you to schedule to get the pump system fixed, and then I need you use all of the showers, and document times and exactly what and how long the problems are lasting. Do that for a few days, and then we can figure out a fix." Then, the reps and I walk outside, and one of the reps, say's "OMG". I said, "I know, right, you thought I was crazy bringing you out here, but I needed to get a second opinion" They thanked me wished me well, and told me that if I needed to replace the unit, or take it out and put tanks back in, that they would take back the unit, if needed. Now, I sit here, and think. Do I just walk away, and possible have her dispute the credit card from last year or end up being sued? Do I type a letter stating that other plumbing contractors have been on site since my services were performed and therefore, I cannot be held solely responsible? Do, I call the City and find out if the other plumber pulled a permit for the shower pan and valve he installed? I wish, I would have listened to My wife on this project in the beginning. She did not like dealing with the customer in the very beginning. "Damn, women's intuition".
                          WHAT WOULD YOU DO? FYI, I have a few hundred of the Eternal Tankless hybrids installed. It is by far, the best unit I have ever installed, and it has a 20 year warranty. It is also stainless steel, for those of us who live in harsh water conditions.
                          "don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Eternal Tankless and a difficult customer

                            problem is 95% of tank owners have never flushed or drain their tank water heater. not a big deal as it shortens the life to a small degree.

                            but on a tankless, it will kill the heater much faster. the coils are approx 1/2'' and the heat is more direct and intense.

                            as the coils get coated with baked on minerals, they will choke down the flow and cause an over heating issue.

                            rick.
                            phoebe it is

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Eternal Tankless and a difficult customer

                              Originally posted by Plumbingbyjay View Post
                              UPDATE: FYI, I have a few hundred of the Eternal Tankless hybrids installed. It is by far, the best unit I have ever installed, and it has a 20 year warranty. It is also stainless steel, for those of us who live in harsh water conditions.
                              I never heard of Eternal, so I headed over to their website to check them out. Their tank design compared to others using coils makes a big difference, and they state that right on their website.

                              The fact that they use stainless steel is a major plus and is the better choice against hard water conditions.

                              I just installed a Phase III today, and we like them because of the stainless steel tanks inside, and the area in where I installed it has the worst water in our area.

                              I'm actually impressed with eternal, but I know nothing about installing tankless.

                              Comment

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