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Rinnai Heating System Issues

Rinnai provides a wide variety of gas heaters to its clients. Rinnai gas heaters have a long life expectancy and are highly efficient. Even though their design allows for long-time efficient operation, you can experience some problems using these heaters over time. Some of these problems may be caused by wear and tear of the heater’s parts, improper use of the heaters, poor or lack of proper maintenance, etc.

It is possible to solve some of these problems by yourself. However, some issues may be too technical, requiring you to call for professional help. This article seeks to bring to you some of the problems associated with Rinnai gas heaters and some solutions to those problems. Keep reading!

Red Flashing Light

Rinnai gas heaters can at times experience some problems. A red flashing light is a sign of one such issue. The red flashing light primarily indicates the presence of a blocked filter. Another indication that your Rinnai gas heater has a clogged filter apart from the red flashing light is when you hear loud vibrating noises coming from the gas heater.

Rinnai gas heater filters may be blocked once in a while during the daily usage of the heaters. Various particles such as grime, debris, dust particles, etc., can block the air filter when the filter is exposed to it for a very long time. However, do not panic when you experience this problem with your Rinnai gas heater. The most suitable way to solve this problem is to clean the heater, particularly the filters.

How To Clean A Rinnai Gas Heater Filter

Step One: Switch Off the Heater

Before cleaning the air filter, the first step is switching off the gas heater. You can turn the gas heater off by pressing the power button once or removing the cord from the outlet.

Step Two: Locate the Filter

After turning off your Rinnai gas heater, go ahead and locate the blocked filter. To find the clogged filter, you will need to unscrew the heater’s cover at the back of the heater. Unscrewing the cover enables you to access the control panel. Once you have access to the control panel, look further towards the back of the control panel, about four inches, and you will find the filter.

Step Three: Remove the Filter

Since the filter is tiny and located at the back of the control panel, removing it may require you to exert some effort and be keener. However, once you have a clear view of the filter, you can grab it with your hands or use something else and pull it out.

Step Four: Clean the Filter

This is the critical part of the whole procedure. However, it is also a step that requires less effort. After removing the filter, all you need is a vacuum cleaner. Simply turn on your vacuum cleaner and blow it over the blocked filter to remove the dust particles, grime, or debris. A vacuum cleaner is always practical and will ensure that it cleans everything.

Step Five: Reinstall the Filter

Carefully hold the filter and adequately install it back in its right place. After that, screw back the control panel and close the back panel. Turn the gas heater back on to test it. If you do not see the red flashing light, this indicates that the problem is solved.

Water And Gas Leaks

Another possible problem associated with Rinnai gas heaters is continuous beeping. The beeping sound most probably shows an error code. Primarily, the error may be a water leak or a gas leak. If it is a gas leak, you will smell the gas all over the house, especially the places around the gas heater. Should this be the case, you will need to inspect the heater and solve the problem as soon as possible as the gas leak could be disastrous.

You can check by yourself, find the gas leak and seal it using the most suitable sealant, such as the mastic. However, this is not recommended as gas leaks are dangerous, and trying to deal with them yourself may cause you serious harm. It would help to call for professional help to prevent causing further problems.

The error code could also be an indication of a water leak. A problem with the water leak sensor can also cause a beeping sound. If that is the case, you may realise that your gas heater shifts to the shut-off mode. This does not mean that your gas heater is damaged; the heater goes to the shut-off mode to prevent the water leaks from damaging the system unit.

Water leaks may be caused by a malfunctioning heat exchanger or the plumbing. If it is the plumbing, you should call a plumber. Sometimes you may find a pool of water inside the housing of the heater or outside near it. However, if you do not see such evidence of water leaks, you should check the water leak sensor to know if it is damaged or if the wiring has become loose.

If the sensor looks alright, you should try drying it before restarting the heater. If it works, then the issue is solved. However, if the beeping sound persists, try disconnecting the sensor then restart the heater. If the heater runs without the sensor, then it would mean your sensor is damaged, and you should consider replacing it.

Too Hot To Handle

The gas valve controls the temperature for most gas water heaters. The gas valve has a dial that regulates and monitors the water temperature. If your valve assembly malfunctions, you should consider replacing it as soon as possible. Are you wondering why your Rinnai gas water heater outer body is too hot to handle? Well, primarily, a malfunctioning thermostat would cause this problem.

The thermostat controls the on and off functions of the gas heater. During a malfunction of the thermostat, it is unable to switch off the power to the boiler, triggering the safety feature. Under some circumstances, the reset function would be activated after triggering the safety feature. With the reset button started, you will lose hot water in your house.

However, under some circumstances, the safety feature and the thermostat may malfunction, but the heating elements continue working correctly. The only issue with this is that you would have very hot water in your home. This can also lead to the overheating of the outer body of the gas heater. The good thing is, you can easily replace the thermostat of your malfunctioning gas water heater.

Blocked Exhaust Or Supply

Rinnai gas heaters are supply systems that ensure the intake for air combustion. They have a fan that facilitates the withdrawal of air from outside and an exhaust vent to remove waste gases. You will always receive an error code if the exhaust vent or the fan is blocked. The blockage of any of the components would lead to the heater malfunctioning and thus the inability to heat as required.

Similarly, the blockage of the exhaust vent exposes you to safety threats. This is because the blockage prevents the removal of waste gases. These gases, such as carbon monoxide, are known to be potentially fatal if inhaled for a certain amount of time. Therefore, it is recommended that you clear any blocked vent as soon as possible.

Water Flows Slowly

Water flow is very critical to the functioning of a gas water heater. No one wants a gas water heater that is too slow. However, the Rinnai gas water heater could also experience slow water flow under some circumstances. Every gas water heater has a minimum volume of water required.

If the flow rate happens to be lower than the minimum volume of water present, the heater will not work correctly. This is because the system requires the minimum flow rate of water to facilitate the opening of the flow switch. Therefore, if the minimum flow rate is less than the required amount, the gas heater would probably fail.

What can cause a slow water flow rate? One of the primary causes of this problem is overheating of the gas water heater. As we have highlighted before in this article, overheating of the gas heater may be caused by insufficient cold water flowing through the heat exchanger.

Should that be the case, you will realise that your Rinnai gas water heater would shut down to avoid causing more damage. The gas heater going into shut-down mode further prevents the overheating of water, leading to severe accidents.

How can one solve this problem? If you are experiencing a slow water flow, you should try opening the faucet fully. However, if you happen to do this but the water flow does not increase, there could be other reasons behind it. The persistence could mean that the filter that lets in water has been clogged with dust particles, grime, debris, etc.

Therefore, you should consider cleaning the filter before restarting your gas heater again. Similarly, it could be that your gas water heater has some air trapped inside. If that is the issue, you only need to bleed it out to solve the problem.

Furthermore, another cause could be the build-up of limescale. The build-up of limescale can also cause clogging and other problems.

Limescale Build-Up

In most cases, the water that flows into the Rinnai gas water heater is not entirely fresh. When the water flows underground, it picks up some minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Such water is called hard water. The level of water hardness will depend on the location of your home.

Other areas have high water hardness levels while others experience low levels; thus, the water will have minimum mineral content or no minerals at all. Water that has no minerals is called soft water. If you want to know the water hardness level around the region you live in, you should see the local water supplier in your area. Most water suppliers use calcium carbonate to determine the level of water hardness.

If you reside in a location that has hard water, you are highly likely to experience the accumulation of limescale in your pipework, fitments, and even in your tankless gas water heater. Similarly, areas with soft water are not entirely problem-free. Eventually, even after a long time, you will still experience the build-up of limescale in your gas water heater system.

The accumulation of limescale will affect the operation and efficiency of your Rinnai gas water heater. It will also cause you more expenses. Therefore, it is recommended that you solve this problem once you identify it. If your system has an accumulation of limescale, all you need to do is flush the unit thoroughly or carry out a descaling procedure.

System Overload

Every gas heater has specific working conditions ranging from a minimum flow rate to a flow rate capacity. The flow rate capacity will enable you to determine the volume of water that you can use in your house at a time. Going beyond the required flow rate capacity would mean overloading the system. When you overload your Rinnai gas water heater, its efficiency will be reduced such that other areas would obtain hot water as required while others would not.

The continuous overloading of the system would see it shutting down to prevent further damages. One of the preventive measures for this problem is calculating the approximate volume of water you would require before purchasing a tankless gas water heater such as Rinnai.

While calculating this, you should keep in mind the number of utilities such as sinks, bathtubs, showers, laundry machines, etc., that you plan or expect to use for that time. You can have the system continue working while overloaded by cutting down the demand.

However, when extremely overloaded, your gas water heater would shut down and conduct an automatic reset to solve the problem. However, if it does not automatically reset, you can solve the problem by resetting it manually. If you are wondering how to manually reset the system, you can be guided by the user’s manual from the manufacturer.

Poor Ventilation

This is another common problem associated with Rinnai gas heaters as they require good ventilation for efficient operation. This necessitates the freshening of the air inside your house after one to two hours. You can freshen the air inside the room by turning on the fan or opening a window to allow for the entry of clean air into the room.

Moreover, good ventilation is vital since your heater may carry out incomplete combustion under some circumstances due to certain factors. The incomplete combustion produces carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide causes dizziness, nausea, and breathing difficulty and has been found to induce fatalities.

Experts have also advised against getting too close to the Rinnai gas heater even if the temperatures read minimum. This is because the heater can cause burns and even asphyxiation when one touches it or sits next to it for a long time.

Use Of Wrong Gas

Rinnai gas water heaters use LPG, 12A, and 13A gases only. This means that the use of low standard gases is wrong. Using such gases would affect the heater’s working efficiency and quality. Sometimes you may experience the gas shutting down after a short time.

Exposure To Direct Sunlight

Exposing Rinnai heaters to direct sunlight and humidity would cause the metal parts of the heater to rust, become weak, and wear out. Similarly, the plastic elements would melt, become weak and break down. These would lead you to incur a lot of expenses to remedy the damages.

When Should You Seek Professional Help?

Rinnai gas heaters, just like any gas appliance, should be serviced often. Ideally, you should service these heaters every two years to allow for inspection for problems such as gas leaks and carbon monoxide production. Servicing also ensures that your heater works efficiently. Most of the problems highlighted above do not require professional help to be solved.

This means that you can do the troubleshooting with enough confidence. However, some problems may be too technical and necessitate you to call for professional help. Should that be the scenario, do not hesitate to contact professionals to prevent causing more damage.


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