How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Phil Your Own Question
Phil
Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 8686
Experience:  Retired HVAC/ Electrical & Boiler contractor. Industrial
23932409
Type Your HVAC Question Here...
Phil is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hi . I have 6 Noritz units installed in my condos and one is

Customer Question

Hi . I have 6 Noritz units installed in my condos and one is acting up .After running a few minutes it shuts off and will nor restart unless you reset it by shutting power and then turning it back on,only to repeat the same as before.I had several plumbers diagnose the unit with all kinds of solutions but none worked.My tenent and I are very frustrated because i am not getting any satisfactio0n from Noritz.This has been going on since last year.Please help.SAL
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Phil replied 5 years ago.

Phil :

All work to be done by licensed professional. WE KEEP GOING UNTIL YOU HAVE THE INFORMATION YOU NEED, I come and go. This is step ONE.

Phil :

Hello

JACUSTOMER-ho84g556- :

Hi Phil

Phil :

Hi

Phil :

I was off doing some research on the unit

JACUSTOMER-ho84g556- :

Are you available later on?I have a doctors appointment at 4.

Phil :

No rush on this end, you can log into this question any time

JACUSTOMER-ho84g556- :

Based on the info i already submitted , any idea?

Phil :

so far it looks like one of the following

Phil :

bad flame impingement on the flame sensor rod.. intermittently

Phil :

that can be adjusted

Phil :

a slightly oxidized connection in the electronics control circuit. fixed by replugging all the connections

Phil :

if its running longer than 5 minutes then it could be a failing high temperature control switch

Phil :

if its failing within 30 seconds of main burner ignition its likely a flame sensor issue, its dirty and needs cleaning with plumbers sand cloth or is positioned poorly so the flame drifts away from it

Phil :

visual examination of the flame impingement on the sensor rod determines that.

Phil :

If the gas pressure is set too high, the flames will blow off of the top of the metal burner heads... this will defeat flame sensing... those detect flame by leaking electrical current into the flame and through the flame... to the burner head.

Phil :

is this unit at the end of a longer gas line, or are other boilers connected in the gas line down stream from this one.

Phil :

if the gas line is too small for the total load, when all of the boilers come on at once, you will get a pressure drop at the furthest from the gas meter

JACUSTOMER-ho84g556- :

We have disconnected all connections and reconnected with same results.The flame on the low cycle seems to flicker a bit and seems to activate the sensor to detect a lack of gas pressure.the pressure is around 7.0 to 7.8.this units has its own dedicated gas line as all the other 5 units.I am not experiencing difficulty with them

Phil :

Tell me what size the gas line is at the meter and what size it is when it reaches this boiler

JACUSTOMER-ho84g556- :

We started with 1 1/4 for approx. 15 lf up vetically with 1 for one floor( 12 feet) then reduced to 3/4 at the unit

Phil :

does each dedicated gas line come off of its own gas meter

JACUSTOMER-ho84g556- :

yes

Phil :

to clarify, each boiler has a 1-1/4" main supply, reduced to 3/4" at the boiler

Phil :

or are several boilers on the same 1-1/4" supply in some cases

JACUSTOMER-ho84g556- :

Phil sorry i must go will catch up with you later,meanwhile see what solution are avaibl eto me

Phil :

will do

JACUSTOMER-ho84g556- :

Hey Phil I am back. To your last question.... 4" line comes into the building feeding 6 individual gas meters.The individual meters then feed one apt each.

Phil :

Thanks. the gas line unless its several hundred feet long is sufficient.

Phil :

to state the obvious, there is some defect with the boiler thats not working... there can be many hard to detect causes for this, especially if the problem is intermittent...

Phil :

You mentioned some burner flame flutter earlier... no telling how pronounced it is other than to compare it to the other boilers... if this one with the problem is fluttering and the others are not, that points us more directly to a problem with the gas valve..

Phil :

Let me know how that situation compares with one or two of the other boilers.

Phil :

There are only a few things that will shut the boiler off and require a reset to get it going again.

Phil :

- Flame sensor failure to detect flame..

Phil :

- pressure switch opening

Phil :

- high temperature limit switch tripped

Phil :

Flame sensor and pressure switch issues are the only two that will trip in a matter of seconds.

Phil :

so that inspecting the flame sensor rods position in the flame, is an issue, and making sure it is clean with plumbers sand cloth are the primary issues.... if the flame flutters enough that it falls away from the sensor, that could easily be the problem

Phil :

If all that looks good, and the flame is not blowing off of the burner heads.. then the next thing to check is the pressure switch

Phil :

the pressure switch can have several issues... if the rubber hoses that attach to it are lose or cracked it will fail to sense the 0.2" negative pressure in the fire box.. and trip.

Phil :

If the tiny ports where where the rubber hoses plug in to the switch and the furnace are partially fouled with debris the switch will tend to trip,.. clean those out by inserting a paper clip wire.

Phil :

If the pencil sized tubes that attach to the pressure switch are getting any condensate in them, that will cause them to open their contacts.

Phil :

If the pressure switch diaphragm is porous that will also cause problems.

Phil :

After all of that has been eliminated as a probable cause, then a person would suspect the printed circuit contol card.

Phil :

These can get micro cracks in the circuitry that fail under load.. . so that replacing the card solves the problem. Industry statistics show however that about 50% of all control cards diagnosed as bad, were not actually bad, and there was some other problem with the system.

Phil :

Let me know to what extent the other items Ive mentioned have been looked into

Phil :

We can go from there

Phil :

Phil

JACUSTOMER-ho84g556- :

Thanks Phil.I will be doing those tests first thing in the morning.Will I be able to reach out to you during the day tomorrow?

Phil :

Yes you can post any time, I get notified and when Im on duty I pick it up as soon as I can.. I am generally in and out 8am to 10pm every day

Phil :

west coast time.

Phil :

Phil

JACUSTOMER-ho84g556- :

Are you familiar with the Noritz unit enough to locate the pressure switch for me?

Phil :

ooops, I slipped up, i had looked that model up yesterday when we first began .. its a natural draft unit, no pressure switch.. I got into the usual forced draft instant water head mode by mistake

Phil :

desperation I guess.

Phil :

that leaves us with flame sensor issues, and the fluttering flame you mentioned... if its fluttering badly enough it could cause the flame sensor to default.

JACUSTOMER-ho84g556- :

Any way i can adjust the flame or is it only a matter of the sensor being defective .

Phil :

These type sensors rarely go defective.. they are just a metal rod, with 24 volts AC current applied, that leak that AC current to the flame.. the flame only passes half of the AC to ground (the + side of the sine wave)... and the electronics card detects that to prove the flame

Phil :

cleaning the flame rod with plumbers sand cloth if its dirty is about all you can do in 99% of the cases...

Phil :

if the flame is fluttering as you mentioned earlier that could prevent this electrical conduction ..thats why im in interested i how much its fluttering... and how that compares to the other boilers... and how the flutter is affecting electrical contact from flame to flame sensor rod

Phil :

Phil

JACUSTOMER-ho84g556- :

I will check 2 units at the condo tomorrow but i have 2 in my home... i will check thes tonight and will refer you my findings

Phil :

Good, just post when you can, i will pick it up from there

Phil :

Phil

JACUSTOMER-ho84g556- :

Hey Phil.The 2 units in my house even on the low cycle when demand for hot water is at a minimum the flame on the one burner is steady and the fan is constant.But at the condo,even though I cleaned the sensors,when the demand is on minimum the flame flickers and seems low and the fan fluctuates in speed and within a couple of minutes it shuts down,and the remote displays the 90( abnormal combustion,low gas supply pressure) both these items were checked out and are o.k. Can it be a bad circuit board? the fan operates eradictly,which would cause the flame to act the way it does and then the sensor reacts by shutting down the unit.Whats your expert opinion,since you are mostly more of an expert on this unit.

Phil :

Hello again, one thing you hear from people who are not sure what they are doing is that something 'checked out OK' with no other detail... in this case we know for sure now thats the fluctuating fan speed, and fluttering flame are not ok. the other units are not doing that.

Phil :

only this one is doing that...and its putting out error codes and shutting down.

Phil :

It could easily be a bad control card or one of the sensors that inputs it...

Phil :

Noritz no long has that technical manual available.. http://support.noritz.com/technical-literature.php

Phil :

so i am unable to see what is controlling the fan speed. it will be a pressure or temperature sensor shown on the wiring diagram glued to the service panel... the temperature sensors are called 'thermistors' and when they go bad, they can put out an erratic signal, that can cause the motor speed control to fluctuate its output.

Phil :

That sensor needs to be located, and checked for a stable output... that can be done with a ohm meter, as the sensor temperature is changed... if it is steady and follows a smooth resistance curve as the sensor is warmed or cooled... then the problem is in the speed control electronics for the fan motor

Phil :

this sort of work is generally over the head of most plumbers... and the water heaters are not something most electronics people are familiar with or work on.

Phil :

and you do need someone to arrive that can do the checks on the fan motor speed controller and diagnose a bad sensor, or bad speed control....

Phil :

Tell me what city you are in or nearest, I will look around and see if i can find someone you can call that might be capable if checking out the electronics.

Phil :

Phil

JACUSTOMER-ho84g556- :

Hi Phil,even when Noritz rep sent a plumbing co to diagnose the unit,they made me change the gas meter for which I had to pay because the gas co.sai my original meter was large enough,I had to pay for the service call and Noritz was to reimburse me but never did,I paid for 2 other plumbers to come and check the unit for which I paid for.This last plumber is the one that alerted me to the flame burning eradically and the fan uneven speed that could control the flame and as a last resource said the mother board(as he calls it) But Noritz doesnot accept such diagnosis unless its one of their rep,for which they want me to pay again...Its just an unending cycle and meanwhile i cannot seem to get this fixed.I lost a previous tenant who left and didnot pay 3 months of rent for lack of hot water and heat and if this doesnot get solved soon i will loose the tenant i have now.,who just moved in 10 days ago. I am located in Brooklyn,New York.The address is XXXX XXXXXXX XXXXX XXX. XXX XXXX XXXXX.

Phil :

Hello again, I will move this chat to another format so I can post the Noritz dealers

40987.9508987268
Phil and 2 other HVAC Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Phil replied 5 years ago.



Aqua-Temp Plumbing & Heating XXXXX# XXXXX Thornwood, NY (NNN) NNN-NNNN‎ · aqua-temp.com
residential and commercial · weil mclain · pipes · boiler
"Noritz Tankless Water Heaters. aqua-temp_pic_01.jpg. Aqua-Temp Plumbing & Heating Inc. Contact Us By Calling Our Office [email protected]" - aqua-temp.com


Generation III Inc
30 West Prospect Street, Waldwick, NJ (NNN) NNN-NNNN‎ · generation3inc.com
Category: Plumbing Contractors
tankless water heaters · state of the art · energy savings · noritz
"with a tankless water heater from Noritz State of the art basement pumping service now available. Central to all our work is our general plumbing expertise!" - generation3inc.com


Gold Medal Plumbing Heating
Plainfield, NJ (NNN) NNN-NNNN‎ · goldmedalservice.com
"Plumbing cooling electrical electrician gas heating home furnishings household appliances HVAC Noritz plumber plumbing shop store Water Heaters wholesale" - yellowbot.com


***
Pick the closest one. Call them on the phone. Ask them if they are used to handing electronics fan speed control issues on the Noritz hot water heater and if they can give you an estimate on a guaranteed fix.

Talk this over with shop owner, or his lead instant hot water heater technician. not the secretary or a helper etc. Pick the company that can discuss these technical issues in depth.

Since travel time, and repeat trips to order parts in NYC costs more than the parts, tell them to bring the sensors and control card related to the fan speed control with them and consider changing out all of them.

Consider dealing with the plumber who spotted the fan speed fluctuating and the fluttering flame.. those are good indicators that he understands the dynamics of the problem.

In this case with significant money on line from lost tenants, and diagosis of the electronics generally beyond the capability of most people who work on water heaters... I would consider replacing all parts connected with the fan motor speed control, and fluttering flame.

regarding the fluttering flame... the plumber should be able tell by observation if its caused by the air flow issues, or by the gas valve itself... only rarely is it the gas valve causing such things as fluttering, but that needs to be looked at.

Phil


Expert:  Phil replied 5 years ago.



Aqua-Temp Plumbing & Heating XXXXX# XXXXX Thornwood, NY (NNN) NNN-NNNN‎ · aqua-temp.com
residential and commercial · weil mclain · pipes · boiler
"Noritz Tankless Water Heaters. aqua-temp_pic_01.jpg. Aqua-Temp Plumbing & Heating Inc. Contact Us By Calling Our Office [email protected]" - aqua-temp.com


Generation III Inc
30 West Prospect Street, Waldwick, NJ (NNN) NNN-NNNN‎ · generation3inc.com
Category: Plumbing Contractors
tankless water heaters · state of the art · energy savings · noritz
"with a tankless water heater from Noritz State of the art basement pumping service now available. Central to all our work is our general plumbing expertise!" - generation3inc.com


Gold Medal Plumbing Heating
Plainfield, NJ (NNN) NNN-NNNN‎ · goldmedalservice.com
"Plumbing cooling electrical electrician gas heating home furnishings household appliances HVAC Noritz plumber plumbing shop store Water Heaters wholesale" - yellowbot.com


***
Pick the closest one. Call them on the phone. Ask them if they are used to handing electronics fan speed control issues on the Noritz hot water heater and if they can give you an estimate on a guaranteed fix.

Talk this over with shop owner, or his lead instant hot water heater technician. not the secretary or a helper etc. Pick the company that can discuss these technical issues in depth.

Since travel time, and repeat trips to order parts in NYC costs more than the parts, tell them to bring the sensors and control card related to the fan speed control with them and consider changing out all of them.

Consider dealing with the plumber who spotted the fan speed fluctuating and the fluttering flame.. those are good indicators that he understands the dynamics of the problem.

In this case with significant money on line from lost tenants, and diagosis of the electronics generally beyond the capability of most people who work on water heaters... I would consider replacing all parts connected with the fan motor speed control, and fluttering flame.

regarding the fluttering flame... the plumber should be able tell by observation if its caused by the air flow issues, or by the gas valve itself... only rarely is it the gas valve causing such things as fluttering, but that needs to be looked at.

Phil


Expert:  Phil replied 5 years ago.



Aqua-Temp Plumbing & Heating XXXXX# XXXXX Thornwood, NY (NNN) NNN-NNNN‎ · aqua-temp.com
residential and commercial · weil mclain · pipes · boiler
"Noritz Tankless Water Heaters. aqua-temp_pic_01.jpg. Aqua-Temp Plumbing & Heating Inc. Contact Us By Calling Our Office [email protected]" - aqua-temp.com


Generation III Inc
30 West Prospect Street, Waldwick, NJ (NNN) NNN-NNNN‎ · generation3inc.com
Category: Plumbing Contractors
tankless water heaters · state of the art · energy savings · noritz
"with a tankless water heater from Noritz State of the art basement pumping service now available. Central to all our work is our general plumbing expertise!" - generation3inc.com


Gold Medal Plumbing Heating
Plainfield, NJ (NNN) NNN-NNNN‎ · goldmedalservice.com
"Plumbing cooling electrical electrician gas heating home furnishings household appliances HVAC Noritz plumber plumbing shop store Water Heaters wholesale" - yellowbot.com


***
Pick the closest one. Call them on the phone. Ask them if they are used to handing electronics fan speed control issues on the Noritz hot water heater and if they can give you an estimate on a guaranteed fix.

Talk this over with shop owner, or his lead instant hot water heater technician. not the secretary or a helper etc. Pick the company that can discuss these technical issues in depth.

Since travel time, and repeat trips to order parts in NYC costs more than the parts, tell them to bring the sensors and control card related to the fan speed control with them and consider changing out all of them.

Consider dealing with the plumber who spotted the fan speed fluctuating and the fluttering flame.. those are good indicators that he understands the dynamics of the problem.

In this case with significant money on line from lost tenants, and diagosis of the electronics generally beyond the capability of most people who work on water heaters... I would consider replacing all parts connected with the fan motor speed control, and fluttering flame.

regarding the fluttering flame... the plumber should be able tell by observation if its caused by the air flow issues, or by the gas valve itself... only rarely is it the gas valve causing such things as fluttering, but that needs to be looked at.

Phil


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hey Phil whats my next step and is Noritz going to help or is this situation all up to me now?

 

Expert:  Phil replied 5 years ago.
Hello again, you and I can stay in touch and I can coach you as we go along, but from here I have to rely on what you can discover in dealing with the local repair people and Noritz.

Have you called those companies I listed. if so, what did you discover from your conversations with them

we can go from there.


Phil
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Phil.Of the 3 references you gave me only one responded but the do not
service New york.The other 2 , have not responded as of yet.I do not have
more time to spare.Do you recommend any one else or could you contact
Noritz directly...apparently I cant seem to get to anyone who is going to
help me.
Expert:  Phil replied 5 years ago.
http://www.noritz.com/professionals/support/find_a_distributor/zip/11223/radius/10/

Those are the distributors within a 10 mile radius of your zip code

Stay in touch, let me know how it goes. Phil
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hey Phil,I got no response from any one.Are they really Noritz Reps? I can no loger wait...I even left a message to Noritz America,got a message back to call them back,Which I did ...did not reach the person who called but left a message to call me back...that was 2/28...Still no call....I am ordering another unit to avoid loosing another tenant.Am very,very dissapointed on the service quality...I probably will never use those units again.
Expert:  Phil replied 5 years ago.
Hello again

I sent the link direct from Noritz, today a few hours earlier.. its their web site search on dealers within 10 miles of your zip code.

Click on it if you have not already. Here it is again just in case.

http://www.noritz.com/professionals/support/find_a_distributor/zip/11223/radius/10/

Phil


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Phil
, Not having received a call back from Noritz Rep on 2 occasions,I had no
choice but to buy a new one.I installed it and so far no complaints from my
tenant. Now I am faced with the question of what to do with Noritz.I am
consulting a lawyer to see what my options are.Sad to say I reluctantly
bought another Noritz product so as to keep the entire building with the
same units.The fact that Noritz gave me the run around for months when all
they had to do is replace the darn unit,it would have save everybody
valuable time and aggravation.Now the situation is going to get ugly,for I
really feel I have been taken for a ride,a very expensive ride,(understand
what *I mean Phil ?) P.S. CAN YOU CONTACT SOMEONE AT NORITZ? MAYBE A
SOLUTION CAN BE WORKED OUT,BEFORE I DECIDE TO TAKE SOME LEGAL ACTION? SAL*
Expert:  Phil replied 5 years ago.
Hello again,

My contact with Noritz will not have any more leverage than yours unfortunately. If the unit is beyond its parts and labor warranty, odds that you or an attorney can put any effective pressure on them are slim.

If the unit was within its warranty period, then you might have a claim.. attorney costs could likely exceed any pro-rated consideration the company might offer however...and by a very wide margin.

Virtually all warranties Ive ever seen exclude claims for collateral damages, floods, fires or in your case loss of rental income.



While the heat exchangers have an extended warranty, the rest of the boiler, including the controls has a very much shorter warranty.. and it does not generally include labor for the full span of the warranty.

thats all in their warranty documents. They are likely pretty well covered. I would definitely save the old unit for parts. That could pay off well for you later in down time, labor and parts costs.

Or you can just strip the controls out of it, sensors, heat exchangers and inducer fan assembly. That will all fit in a small box.


***
My advice, increasingly, as systems get more and more complex. Is to stay with the simplest and cheapest systems available, even if it runs the fuel costs up a bit... that saves a lot on repair costs.

Then plan on replacing rather than repairing if the repair begins to give any problems at all...just as you did here. It must be a natural talent.

Marriott Hotels has that policy. They are a tight fisted outfit. They will scrap anything over 10 years old if it starts having any significant trouble.



I've seen repairs add up to many times more than any conceivable fuel savings... all this is happening as much of our trained work force is retiring... and not being replaced with enough well trained new workers.

Good luck, you can probably count yourself fortunate to be among those with their own income stream and not dependent on others for a job.


Phil







Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hey Phil thanks for your reply and suggestions.When I first requested service for that unit the warranty was in full force,but i t's the running around from the technical support dept, that put it way out of the warranty period.My lawyer is my partner ...the cost to pursue is minimal...the lesson Noritz will learn will not be.Thanks again.SAL
Expert:  Phil replied 5 years ago.
You probably have a valid claim in that case... your attorney partner would know. He can draft them a little note, not the situation that the company had expected no doubt.

Phil