Direct Vent Gas Fireplace Review

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Noritz Tankless Water Heater Review

Noritz Tankless Water Heater ReviewThis is a Noritz tankless water heater review. Specifically a review of the Noritz gas-fired tankless water heater.

This review of the Noritz gas tankless water heater is completely unbiased.

By Norman Morrison, owner of Gas Fireplace Review and a Noritz tankless water heater owner.

Of course, all reviews claim to be totally objective, but since I'm not selling the Noritz tankless water heater, you can pretty much depend on it. Moreover, I'm not writing this article from the perspective of someone with a bone to pick. In other words, this isn't a flame, and I'm not mad at Noritz. If anything you might look at it as a facet of this new "green" technology trend.

While this article isn't strictly about gas fireplaces, it is about heating, after a fashion, and it is a true review of a product I own.

I do offer one helpful suggestion that you are urged to take, but this, of course is strictly up to you. Were I you, presumably doing my diligent research on tankless water heaters, I would avail myself of the services of the always helpful Angies List.

Using Angies, you will not only have a source of much more information about tankless water heaters, but also the best local information possible about which company you should use for your new installation. Click my link, sign up for a low cost subscription and get 25% off with my exclusive "GET25" Angies Coupon Code.

It's what I would do, if I had facing me, what I'm about to tell you about. So click for Angies List and when prompted use my GET25 coupon code. This review will still be here on your computer when you finish.

My foray into the wider world of gas tankless water heaters began about three years or so ago.

Tankless Water Heater ReviewI live in an older home which is a just a tad more modern than the one to the left, and when we first moved in, the old fashioned gas water heater was sitting in the kitchen, as was the custom when the house was built. It was a gas hot water heater.

As soon as we could, we replaced the old gas water heater with a new table top model gas electric water heater. It looked better, and gave more counter space.

A hot water heater will last from 15-20 years in normal operation, and our table top did in fact last more than 20 years, but it finally went belly up and it was time for a replacement.

In our area, the gas company has always been at war with the electric company. If you convert from gas to electric, or vice versa, they will give you a new water heater for your trouble.

Naturally, the first option was to go back with another table top water heater, but the price was sky high. Add to that the installation cost, the option to convert started looking pretty good.

However, I had no plans of going back with another old fashioned stand up gas water heater, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the gas company was offering the choice of a traditional water heater or a new fangled tankless gas water heater.

Actually, the electric company had the same deal as well. They had their own electric tankless water heaters. This was my first choice until I discovered that I would nearly have to double my electric service to feed the power hungry electric tankless water heater. Electric tankless water heaters, as it turns out call on a lot of power quickly to heat the water near instantaneously, and my 150 amp service wasn't up to the load.

So, my plan of installing the new electric tankless hot water heater on the wall where the table top sat was out the door.

After a bit of round and round with a calculator, armed with some new facts, I determined that at the time, not only would I be able to get a free gas tankless hot water heater for converting, but with a government granted tax credit for "going green" I might even make some money on the deal...and I did! Thank you water heater manufacturers, and our excellent U.S. gubment!

Actually, I made out like a bandit, because I am in the business of making websites, and after I made one for the tankless water heater installer, I did very well indeed!

What we finally would up doing was to totally disconnect the old table top water heater, plug up the holes, and stub up the electrical connections and opt for an exterior gas fired tankless hot water heater which sits on the back corner of my house.

As it turned out, the new tankless water heater was not installed by the gas company, but by a plumbing company which was affiliated with the gas company in some way. The plumber had installed quite a few new Noritz tankless water heaters all over the county, thus, was pretty handy installing mine.

The main difficulty for homeowners with this technology is figuring out how to get the gas and water to the tankless unit. Moreover, while it is gas, there are electrical components as well, so the gas tankless water heater will also need a 115V hookup.

I was able to overcome this challenge, and soon, the plumber had the thing installed and was gone.

Then came the time to put my new Noritz tankless water heater to use.

As I mentioned before, whether it is electric tankless or gas tankless, the energy consumption of these little units will take your breath away at first. Your electrical hookup must be 220V and oversized, and for gas, your gas lines are half again the size of your piping coming to your heating equipment. Tankless water heaters demand a LOT of energy and right away.

The big selling point for a tankless water heating system is that it is heated water on demand versus a 100 year old water heater design tank that sets there heating water all day long whether you need it or not.

Thus tankless water heaters are considered "green."

Frankly, I could care less about green energy. I was all about getting the best value, getting out of an interior design situation, and getting my hot water back on.

However, if you are into green, you're going to love tankless. Just like the new electric cars out of Detroit that work real well for 20 miles, or the length of your extension cord, so goes the tankless hot water heaters. There are a few things they fail to mention to you while you are in the buying process...unless you know to ask.

I own a Noritz tankless water heater, but there are several manufacturers. The first one I ever heard of was the Rinnai tankless water heater. Rush Limbaugh pushed that brand for several years. Then you have the Rheem tankless water. Rheem has been around forever. There are others.

Naturally, after the water heater installation, the first thing I wanted to do was to test it out to gauge the water temp, and time to heat up to satisfaction. That sort of thing.

As far as the kitchen sink went, my Noritz tankless water heater performed flawlessly.

When you turn on the hot water in the home, water flows through the tank turning a little water wheel inside the innards of the machine, which, after a few seconds actuates the gas valve, forcing a huge volume of gas through the burner, heating the water temperature to the selected operating temp in a half minute or so. It's truly impressive.

However, when it came time to test the my favorite home heating component, the shower, my Noritz tankless was a bit of a failure.

At my home, the shower water cycles from luke warm to very hot, particularly in the winter months. It is luke warm longer than it is too hot, by about 70/30. The two workarounds I have discovered is to either get out from under the hot water during the heat peak, or turn on the hot water in the sink faucet.

I do not know whether everyone has this hot water cycling problem, or if it is only peculiar to my house. The fact that I can smooth out the cycle by adding more water via the sink suggests that for some reason, the water flow volume of the shower has reached some sort of resonant discordant chord with the Noritz tankless which makes the unit cycle too frequently and not maintain a uniform flow of hot water.

When the ambient incoming water temp warms up in the summer, the cycling problem tends to evaporate and it's smooth showering all the way.

While the above problem may not affect you, the reason that prompted me to write this Noritz tankless water heater review WILL affect you if you live in a hard water region.

In my area of Alabama, hard water is defined as water that carries dissolved calcium within it. If you have calcium rich water, you're going to have a liming problem with tankless sooner rather than later.

I presume this includes ALL tankless water heaters and not just Noritz.

All old fashioned water heaters have what is called an "anode" rod sitting near the center of the heater that runs from the top to the bottom of the unit, internally.

As fresh water is brought into the system, the calcium is drawn to the anode rod and by and by sloughs off, piling up in the bottom of the tank.

A major reason that you have to replace an old water heater in the first place is that the calcium builds up to such a depth, that in an electric model anyway, the calcium covers the heating element, insulating it, and the element burns out. This can take years to happen, although, as a former appliance repairman with hundreds of hot water heaters behind me, I have seen it happen in as little as two years.

For design reasons I do not understand, there to this day exists NO good way to remove the lime at the bottom of the water heater. You can take it out in the yard and run water through it for half a day and still not get rid of the lime. There isn't any working room in the darn things. Besides, to even touch an old water heater risks a leak that is hard to stop.

Thus, realistically, When you start burning out your lower element it's time to get a new water heater.

In our modern green tankless water heaters, there is nowhere for the calcium to go other than out your faucets. You will notice this phenomenon as I did when your sink water slows down.

When the flaky lime chips start flowing through your hot water piping it's likely to ruin your day. After replacing a couple of faucet outlets, I finally hit on the solution of cannibalizing an old one to use the wire strainer as part of the washer at the screw in for the new one. That way I could trap the flaky bits before they had a chance to clog up my faucet tip.

What is happening to the hot water side of my washer water valve, I don't know. Fixing that would be harder and cost more. So far, the washer is still working, but I have no doubt that the strainer at the connection is full of calcium that has flaked off from the innards of my tankless hot water heater.

When I had finally had enough...

I began my research on exactly what I could do about the calcium problem and found a PDF on the Noritz site about how to de-scale the unit. The yucky calcium deposits are also known as calcium "scale."

The Noritz tankless water heater de-scaling PDF is a good one, but at the top of it, the very first thing they didn't mention was the size of the parts you would need. After three attempts over as many days to get an answer from them, I finally received an email. I will give you that information now...

Good News! You usually avoid cataclysmic problems with tankless... 

Noritz Tankless Water Heater Calcium Removal Parts YOU need to purchase:

You are hooking up two lines, one to the cold water and one to the hot water side. Thus, you will need two lengths of plastic tubing. The length depends on your needs. In my case I had the tubing cut to 5 foot lengths which was more than I needed, really.

To their everlasting credit, on the Noritz unit, both the hot and cold side has connections that allow you to purge the unit. You WILL NOT have to uncouple anything. Thank good for this! Just unscrew a couple of caps and attach your hoses. Turn off the gas supply at the unit, and you're good to go. No muss. No fuss.

The attachment points are 3/4 male connections. Thus, you will need a couple of female 3/4 connectors. What I used was a double connector the exact same size that would fit a typical garden hose spigot.

One end screws into the Nortiz appliance and in the other end, I screwed in a plastic reducing fixture. I did this because the other end of the hose connected to a 1/2" attachment. The plastic tubing just slides into place on the double coupling and the other thing I'm about to lay on you...

Now here comes the fun part...

One hose attaches to the hot side of the Nortiz unit, and the other hose to the cold side. The hot side dangles over into a bucket and serves as a drain. The cold side, however, is attached to a submersible pump...

Yes, you heard that right. A submersible pump. They didn't mention that in the sales literature. Nope. You only find that out in the trusty PDF you don't know you need until you need it.

The hoses, brass fittings, submersible pump, and the delicious liquid mixture to be poured into the bucket cost nearly $70.

Noritz advises that you use either 4 gallons of vinegar or a gallon of CLR to sluice through your tankless water heater to cut the lime scaling.

I opted for CLR. That was $26 before taxes. Neat!

The submersible pump cost $27 and was said to shove between 100 and 150 gallons per hour of water.

While it is true that the pump may have had that sort of volume, which I doubt, it had no shove to it. No horsepower. No force. So, with any back pressure at all, the thing would hardly work.

Therefore, I did my best to find a happy level that I could set the bucket of liquid at so that the pump would...pump. It surely wouldn't push the liquid very high. And if you set the bucket too high, it wouldn't work either. But with a happy medium, the water started pumping!

And pump it did... for about 5 minutes. After that, it recycled less and less liquid through the unit until if finally did nothing.

I basically had my arms in that bucket of CLR solution up to my elbows all afternoon coaxing that little gin mill of a water pump. It was a lot of fun! For that, even days later I had some of the finest dish pan hands you ever saw! Next time around I'm going to hold my nose and try vinegar.

The step up from the my chosen submersible pump, by the way, was into the $60-$80 range. And that was just for starters.

What I decided is that I don't think water pumps are really designed to pump a slickly soapy solution of CLR around. I also decided that the CLR did it's job well enough to clog up the water outlet. It took a few minutes to burst loose the jam when I finally disconnected my hoses and did a back flush with full water pressure. And finally I decided that my brand new $27 water pump was pretty much kaput.

At the end of all things I really don't know how much I accomplished, but I do know I have this same procedure to do in my future. In the meantime, I checked the strainer in the sink spigot before starting this Noritz review and guess what? More lime flakes.

Noritz Tankless Water Heater ReviewSo, Norm, what's your recommendation?

First, let me say a word about the photo of the other guy at the top  of the article. I don't know of anyone who is more GREEN than the man in that picture. You might say that he is a green kinda guy. He gave us Solyndra, and liking that technology a lot, he'd like to give us more.


  • If you are you are or were a follower of the man in the photo, then the tankless water heater is for you.
  • If you are a green kinda guy yourself, and a purist, and also wealthy enough to hire your work done, then the gas-fired tankless water heater is for you.
  • If you are an accomplished "do-it-myselfer" and don't mind a recurring challenge, then gas tankless water heaters will make you happy for two decades. 


  • Stay with proven old fashioned 40 gallon proven hot water heater tank technology.

Ok Norm, so in your humble opinion, what could Noritz, Rheem, Rinnai and the others do to ameliorate the problem?

Short of fashioning a tank you can easily clean out, which doesn't seem to be in the cards for either old or new fashioned water heater technology, then, at the very least, the manufacturers could include a clean out kit that is guaranteed to work when the occasion arises. This would include the piping, connections, and a reliable submersible pump.

When you purchase a modern portable hunting tree stand, you'll find a safety belt included because they know you are liable to fall from your tree. The same principle should be apparent to the tankless water heater makers. They KNOW the thing is going to need a cleaning sooner or later. I can't imagine what a plumber would charge for the clean out, even if you could find one that even does it.

There is one thing for sure. If you are hunting for a job in a hard water area with a lot of tankless water heaters, and if you can devise a reliable cleaning system, you can probably stay busy cleaning out all of those tankless water heaters for folks who know they need it but don't want to fool with it. That's the good news! I wouldn't charge less than $120 per trip!

In fairness, if a tankless water heater company that happens upon this review has something to add to this discourse that I'm not aware of, I'll be happy to take it into consideration for this page.

Not to forget. Check out Angies for local Tankless Water Heater help...  Click for Angies List and when prompted use my GET25 coupon code. This review will still be here on your computer when you finish.



















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