Navien here (kind of long)
Response To:
OT-tankless water heaters ()

Tim Greif - West of Chicago
First, a little background as to why I switched to tankless. I had twin conventional Bradford White water heaters piped in series, 40 gal each. The reason for two is because of the whirlpool tub which rarely got used. I had already replaced the individual units four times, so a total of 6 water heaters in a 30 year old home, with one on it's last legs and probably needing replacement within a year or two. I had also changed the twin furnaces to high efficiency condensing units. This left the remaining water heaters orphaned into a now too large chimney flue. With one heater about to need replacing (around $900 installed) and another $700 or so for installing a new smaller chimney liner, the numbers looked better to do the tankless at $1,700 installed.

I have a Navien NPE-240A. The install was pretty simple since I already had the gas line for the two old water heaters and electrical was also close by. Located on an outside rear wall of the basement meant a short run of PVC direct vent piping to the outside too. I'm very happy with the results after living with it for about a year. Had a control board go bad in the first month and replaced under warranty. Last winter we had temps down to 26 below zero with the cold water coming into the house in the 37-42 degree range. No problems with getting the water hot enough. I set it at 130 degrees F and it feeds my dual head shower with no issues. According to the tables, this heater has a capacity of slightly less than 5 gpm at our winter 90 degree temperature rise (from 40 to 130 degrees).

The Navien modulates, so I see no issues with low flows into the sink basins. Earlier heaters had trouble throttling down to low flows and would go hot-cool-hot-cool...... I think all the newer ones have overcome that issue.

The only real maintenance I see with these is a periodic chemical flush to keep the heat exchanger and flow sensor free of mineral deposits. If you have relatively soft water, that shouldn't be necessary more than once every couple years. With hard water, I'd do it annually.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

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