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Tankless water heater-Aquastar


pete
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I just got back from an inspection in Brooklyn, NY. I saw something I had never seen before--a Tankless Water Heater mounted outside. It was an Aquastar Model 240TX. It said right on the unti that it was rated for indoor/outdoor use. I am going to attach pics but let me try to describe.

It was on the third floor in between a balcony and a window. From the balcony floor the unit started 70 inches up and 6 inches over. The electrical disconnect was over the balcnoy 87 inches up. From the balcony you could not reach the gas disconnect. BUT from the window in the next room you could stand on the window sill and lower the top sash and reah the tpr and the gas disconnect and the water shutoffs, but not the electrical disconnect. In addition the tpr was three feet over the balcony floor but did not line up--so it was really 12 feet above the terrace below.

SO far I am thinking disconnects are not readily accessible and TPR places people in jeopardy. OH-I almost forgot the intake for the hi-efficiency Trane furnace is only 24inches away from the exhause for the water heater. That can't be right?

Tell me what you think...

Pete

pete@inspectyourhome.net

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif View from ground better.jpg

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Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif external tankless water heater.jpg

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Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif external tankless water heater.jpg

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Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif Electrical disconnect 87 inches off the floor.jpg

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[quote]Originally posted by pete

SO far I am thinking disconnects are not readily accessible and TPR places people in jeopardy. OH-I almost forgot the intake for the hi-efficiency Trane furnace is only 24inches away from the exhause for the water heater. That can't be right?

Tell me what you think...

Pete

pete@inspectyourhome.net

Pete,

Just when you think that you have seen everything. I did not know that a tankless could be rated for outdoor installation. But, to answer your question..HECK NO! All of your concerns are valid issues. The 24 inches between the intake and exhaust would be OK if they were the same height or the intake was lower than the exhaust, but as this is.. NO WAY.

Isn't New York the state that licenses no one?

I am NOT trying to be political here, I am really asking if just any hack can install a hot water tank. If so, does any one inspect these installations? If there is indeed an inspection, who pulled the permit?

Brian,

DSL is $29.95 When I converted over, the savings from not having to a second phone line actually made DSL cheaper. I was paying $13.95 for the line and $19.95 for the ISP. These photos were big, but they downloaded in about 5 seconds.

George

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Oops sorry brian I just got a new camera--I need to figure out how to make them smaller. I was wondering why the upload took so long... duh

You guys are the best nice fast affirmation of what I was thinking.

George, I am sure the work was done by a licensed plumber and the builder had no clue--this is new construction. I was a builder and before my HI training there was alot of stuff like this that I would miss. Honestly builder in NY state is synonomous with Land Owner. I will never again hire a job super until they have finished HI class and read the Carson Dunlap book cover to cover.

This unit was already inspected--plumbing, and final construction. According to the builder it has a TCO.

Another question? the condensate drain for the furnace was pvc connected to copper that ran off into the wall. I have read that the condensate from a hi-efficiency furnace is extremely acidic--is it ok for this discharge to run in copper?

Pete

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Pete,

I guess "highly" is a subjective term. The condensate from the furnace is about as acidic as tomato juice. Years ago, Lennox taught us "slightly" was the word to use. I remember having this debate over on the other forum. To some, tomato juice is "highly" acidic.

But to answer your question, it will in time eat through copper. It has also eaten through some old cast iron floor drains.

George

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Thanks george--I told the client about you. I explained that there was anetwork of inspectors and that even though we are Generalists, many HI's came from trades and had knowledge above and beyond. You have proven this to be true..

"The condensate drain from the furnace transitions from plastic to copper. Over time the acidity of the condensate may lead to the breakdown of the copper tubing."

How does that sounds?

Thanks,

Pete

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Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Pete,

Here's a link to the Bosch Aquastar installation manual for that unit. One thing that jumps right out at me is that those units are not supposed to be installed within 4ft. of any opening into the building.

Click Here!

Mike thanks-I had found that site but the pdf file was hard to read when I clicked on your link it was legible.

Pete

For those interested, there was a decent perspective piece on tankless units, gas and electrical, in last months PM (Plumbing & Mechanical) Magazine. You can probably access it by going to their site at http://www.PMmag.com and pulling up the January issue from the archives.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by a46geo

Pete,

I am looking at this thing again, Is that a dryer vent? It looks like the flapper exhales. If so are you sure that is the furnace intake? Could it be the exhaust and the intake is somewhere else, or maybe the furnace is drawing indoor air?

George

I am not sure the plastic piece all the way to the left I figured was the intake and the flapper piece I figured for the exhaust.. Those two openings line up with the mechanical systems--but the dryer is in there too. All the way to the right there are two flappers--I am not sure what those are for. This whole apt was a mess and the builder did not have alot of info.

Also I was thinking about this during dinner. WHat happens to the cold water supply pipe that is outside when it is 20 degrees below zero. I gotta read the stuff MIke sent again.

Pete

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I hope I am not boring you guys. This is crazy, I just read the installation instructions. I feel badly for the client who has a signed contract and I also feel badly for the builder. I know alot of people on the board are anti-builder but these guys may not even know. They hired a licensed plumber and figured he knew...

Oh man

Pete

Freeze Prevention Devices

This unit comes equipped with heaters that

discourage the unit from freezing in an outdoor

5

installation. For this freeze prevention system to

operate there has to be electrical power to the unit.

The freeze prevention devices will not work if

the electrical power source is disconnected. The

unit has been rated for temperatures down to 5º F

(-15º C) in a wind free environment. The wind chill

factor will cause the unit to freeze at temperatures

above 5º F (-15º C). Due to this we strongly

recommend that the 240FX only be installed

outside in warm or mild climates. Locations with

winter temperatures that regularly drop below

freezing are not recommended. Do not install the

water heater in an area with extremely cold

weather. This will void your warranty and

Controlled Energy will not be responsible for any

damage that occurs.

CAUTION : The pipe heaters are located on the

AQ240FX Water Heater only. Any hot or cold

water pipes located outside of the unit will not

be protected. Properly protect and insulate

these pipes from freezing.

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Pete,

I'm not board, this is a learning experience. While having dinner, I thought about freezing too. Interesting, it seems these units have no warranty and there is a good chance freezing will destroy them long before they would normally wear out.

My first glance of these photos, I thought the intake was what I now think is a dryer vent. The last photo shows a flapper which seems to rule out intake. The PVC (I think) is exhaust. No matter how you slice it, this is not a proper situation.

George

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Pete,

That box on the right with the sealtite running to it, that's the disconnect? It looks like just an exterior outlet with a stay-dry-when-plugged-in cover. What's in there, a light switch? The installation specs might speak to that as well.

Rated for it or not, I see this as another bone-headed set-up. Just plain dumb, really. But what the hell, if you're gonna stick 'em in the attic where one bad accident can do maximum damage, why not this too. [:-dunce]

George, these puppys took about 3 1/2 minutes each to load. Seems like 10. Nobody has DSL here for less than $40, and I don't have an extra phone line. One of these days....

Brian G.

Give Up a Little Space, It's Worth It

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Update--I got a call from the builder today (I have clients permission to talk to them regarding the inspection). He was very mild mannered, said "He got a 150 pages and could nto understand it." I said "wow it grew, I sent out no more than 40 pages". He asked me to explain the problem with the water heater. I read to him from the manufacturer specs. Then I said I would imagine that the manufacturer was concerned about exhaust gases entering the home when the exhaust is to close to windows and doors. I am sure that upset him, there was a recent news story about a sick family from CO. I would love to hear what he is saying to his plumber.. I can not imagine that he is going to fix every apartment. Sort of leaves me in a bad spot. The vent proximity to the window and door really could be a saftey hazard.. Oh well, no reason to get ahead of ourselves--just have to wait and see. The building is still unoccupied.

Pete

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  • 2 weeks later...

ANother update--Builder wants to replace with Rinnai unit, I sent him all of the requirements. I give the builder an A for effort and a D for skill and knowledge. This poor customer thinks this unit can be fixed. It is sort of hard to remain professional and objective and not tell him to run. I just keep giving him the facts and he has to decide what to do with them.

People continue to amaze me.

Pete

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