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Phil
Phil, Mechanical Engineer.
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 6061
Experience:  Retired mech. contractor, shop owner, 51 yrs experience.
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I have a Rinnai 53 tankless water heater. When ever it starts

Customer Question

I have a Rinnai 53 tankless water heater.
When ever it starts up it makes a loud noise which goes away after it runs for a few seconds. The flame is a nice blue color. If I turn the hot water on and off with only a minute or 2 between ( time enough for the fan to shut off), it does not always make the noise.

It seems water got into the vent on the out side, but not too much. There was a small puddle on the floor from when some landscapers were working out there.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Phil replied 1 year ago.
Welcome to Just Answer!.

Is the loud noise a muffled small explosion sound? If it is, that is caused by a leaking gas valve seat, or an ignitor element that is not getting hot enough to ignite the gas as soon as the gas valve opens.

It could also be that the fan is not running for 15 seconds or more before the ignition is energized... if that delay fails, and the gas valve is leaking at its valve seat slightly, the accumulated gas in the combustion chamber will ignite with a muffled bang.

Let me know if that fits what you are experiencing or not...we can go from there. This is not something most home owners should attempt repairing themselves, but if you are real handy, i can coach you on a few of the repairs, such as replacing the ignition element.

I keep the question open and we keep going as long as you rate my answers *positively... there is no time limit in that case.

Phil
Phil, Mechanical Engineer.
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 6061
Experience: Retired mech. contractor, shop owner, 51 yrs experience.
Phil and other Plumbing Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No, it is a low rumble.


I opened the rubber gasket that connects to the fan and nothing came out, no water that is.

Expert:  Phil replied 1 year ago.
Hello again, a low rumble sound comes from the fan or the pump if you have one attached....and... the rumble sound begins *before the burner comes on.

If the rumble begins after the burner comes on its a dirty burner issue, and just needs cleaning.

If its a fan it is likely the fan bearings are going bad and the fan needs to be replaced shortly.

________

Regarding the water, a little water out the exhaust vent is normal especially in cooler weather... the rumble would not be related to that.

Tell me please how old the water heater is, that will help me assess wear on the fan bearings.

We can go from there without any time limit.

Phil
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

It is about 5 years old.


It comes on after the flame starts.


I mentioned the water because the first time I noticed it was the day they did the work. I turned the hot water on to shower. The water got warm, but then shut off completely giving a #12 warning on the key pad.


After that I put the fan on to dry it off, and a few hours later it worked but with noise.


Could the water have gotten the burner dirty? I notice during the period of noise that the flame flickers yellow then comes on a nice blue.


When it first happened and shut it self off the flame stayed yellow, until it went out.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I was happy with the answers but got cut off from further conversations because I hit the wrong button

Expert:  Phil replied 1 year ago.
Hello again, Let me know whats going on.

If you choose to rate my service *positively I will hold the question open for any follow you need for the next month.

Thanks!

Phil
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

It is about 5 years old.




It comes on after the flame starts.




I mentioned the water because the first time I noticed it was the day they did the work. I turned the hot water on to shower. The water got warm, but then shut off completely giving a #12 warning on the key pad.




After that I put the fan on to dry it off, and a few hours later it worked but with noise.




Could the water have gotten the burner dirty? I notice during the period of noise that the flame flickers yellow then comes on a nice blue.




When it first happened and shut it self off the flame stayed yellow, until it went out.


Expert:  Phil replied 1 year ago.
Hello again, it sounds like something is causing the burner to malfunction, then it burns yellow, and that is insufficient to make the flame sensor work properly, so the flame sensor shuts the gas valve off as a safety measure.

Its a reasonably dangerous situation. Not something a home owner should be trying to work on. Its a problem with the gas valve most likely...it could require the gas valve to be replaced.

Tell me which direction you are from the center of the nearest city and i will see which Rinnai service shops are in the area.

Thanks for the positive rating, I will stay with you on this until you get the unit satisfactorily repaired.


Phil
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Well at this point it comes on after a about a second, then works fine.


I think the burner is dirty after thinking about what you wrote. A blue flame then a yellow flame that gets blue right away.


As I wrote before if it has been running for a while and is turned off it does not happen.


I know of a repair shop near by for Rinnai, but they are very undependable.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I also find it odd that this started the day water got into the vent.


I just have to think dirt got flushed back onto the burner somehow.


The burner would have to be open to the air, and if it is water might have gotten in there.

Expert:  Phil replied 1 year ago.
Hello again, if you are mechanically inclined you can remove some of the service panels around the burner box, and then rent an air compressor... and use that to blow out the burner area, then use a vacuum cleaner to suck out the debris... do that two or three times... then if the water heater begins working perfectly it will probably be OK and safe, but I cannot guarantee that.

Its worth a try.

Let me know how that goes, there is no time limit here or added charge. If the water heater is in the house it will be a good idea to buy a carbon Monoxide gas detector and mount in the ceiling above the water heater. That is in case the vent pipe leak gas.


Phil
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I will give it a try! I own an air compressor, but I was afraid it might blow out too hard. I do railroad electronics for a living so I know my way around a screwdriver.


I have a few detectors around the house, but I will pick one up tomorrow an put it near the water heater. Thanks for everything and I


will let you know how it works.


 


My zip is 53140 Kenosha WI if you know of a good contractor it would be great. Maybe a different company, while not authorized will know what to do.


 

Expert:  Phil replied 1 year ago.
Hello again, dial the air pressure back to 30 psig and use a 1/4" bent copper tube to blow through, and you should be OK.

Rozga Plumbing & Heating Corporation 1529 S 113th St, West Allis, WI ‎ (NNN) NNN-NNNN ‎ · rozgacorp.com Category: Water Heater Service 28 23 reviews · "Rinnai RC98HPi Tankless Water Heater; Rinnai RC80HPi Tankless Water Heater; Rinnai R94LSi Tankless Water Heater; Rinnai R75LSi Tankless Water Heater; Rinnai ..." -


This company gets great reviews. Stay in touch as needed.


Phil
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Great. Thank you sir!!

Expert:  Phil replied 1 year ago.
Yer welcome :) thanks for the excellent rating.

Phil
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I tried to blow it out it and first it went out completely. error 12 I think I blew dirt back where it was not suppose to be. Then I unplugged, to reset it and except when I turn it on and off quickly ( like when doing dishes) it makes the same noise. If turned on and off quickly it is fine.


 


The little fiber gasket for the spark electrode and flame rod broke up a bit but I managed to get most of it back where it is suppose to go.


I mention that because I took those out of their gasket to avoid them getting dirtier. Can they be cleaned with emery cloth? I noticed a white build up on both of them. Could that be the problem in the first place?

Expert:  Phil replied 1 year ago.

Hello again, a dirty flame sensor will cause the burner to shut down if it does not sense flame properly, but it will not cause the range of other problems you report...

The insulator gasket at the base of the flame rod and igntion electrode needs to be in good shape, and clean... if the ignition works the gasket is OK however. When the flame burns yellow it could be going off on the flame sensor however.

The big issue here is the burner noise you report and going from yellow to blue flame..thats a key issue with the gas valve, or some other issue with the venting, and that is what needs to be addressed professionally, then while the man is there he would normally look over these issues with the insulator and dirty flame sensor..

Stay in touch as needed.

Phil

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Ok I 'll make the call on Monday. I will call the authorized place in town first, hopefully they will come through.


 


Thanks for all your help in this!!

Expert:  Phil replied 1 year ago.
Let me know how it goes, we can go from there if needed.

Phil
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

As of now, I had a plumber who has worked on Rinnais come and take a look at it. He took the fan out and blew it out. It still makes the noise but after doing various test he still thinks its the fan and has ordered a new one. In the mean time he said it was OK to use as long as I get past the noise stage which only occurs at a certain stage.


He compared it to a tire that is slightly off balance. If you go slow it makes noise then you get to a certain speed and the noise stops. However if you go too fast it comes back again.


 


I'll let you know when he gets back with the new one which may take a week or so.

Expert:  Phil replied 1 year ago.
Hello again, thats a good plan, i will be looking forward to learning how the new fan works.

Phil
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Well at least it is working if a bit noisy at start up.

Expert:  Phil replied 1 year ago.
Hello again, is the start up noise a sort of low boom sound? If so thats caused by a delayed ignition, igniter not sparking or getting hot enough.

Phil

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No, as it get going it vibrates.


It starts out fine, and if the water pressure, as from the kitchen faucet stays low it does not vibrate. However turn the shower on and it vibrates, and is loud.


The flame comes on right away with the fan and is a nice blue color. Because of that he did not think it was gas related.

Expert:  Phil replied 1 year ago.
Hello again, a loose faucet washer will cause that problem. So will a gate valve in the piping system that is not fully open and tightly opened...the disc flutters.

similar problem with globe valves in the piping system.

Look that over, let me know what you find, we can go from there.

Phil

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Phil
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Retired mech. contractor, shop owner, 51 yrs experience.