[Update Nov 2019] I personally had a Navien combi-boiler installed in my family home in 2016 and couldn’t be happier with the decision. We have had zero issues with the system and it continues to perform flawlessly. At the bottom of this page are over 100 comments with people describing the issues they are having with their Navien systems. In my opinion (which is exactly that, an opinion) the majority of issues experienced are from incorrect installations. Be that the actual unit placement, the piping or plumbing, or the dip switch/settings within the unit. A tankless is far more technologically advanced and a brand new system of heating water. Technicians and installers need to complete the Navien training program to increase their knowledge and reduce the amount of issues home owners are experiencing.
[Update 2016] The early generation Navien tankless systems have had some definite issues… So much so we completely stopped selling them around 2009. For the most part Navien did a good job helping customers and dealers fix and repair the mistakes in their past units. I’m happy to say we are now selling and actually promoting Navien tankless water heaters again. Their new generation launched in 2011, redesigned and vastly improved. Having personally reviewed and tested the new generation we all feel confident in recommending a Navien for your water heating needs.
Navien was the first to come out with a condensing tankless water heater and thus they are bound to have some additional issues. This post is aimed at addressing and solving some of the common problems associated with their early generation systems.
- Navien flow sensor issues
- Navien Control board failures
- Navien Heat exchanger cracks
The flow sensor
Early Navien models had flow sensors that would easily corrode and shut the unit down as the buildup would impair operation. There is a temporary fix where you take the two clamps off the sensor, pull it out and blow on it. The fix that Navien has made is to change the sensor over to stainless steel, you can replace the part to prevent this unexpected shut down. Also an additional fix is to install a 5 micron filter in the water inlet right before the Navien. It is not a terribly difficult fix so listed below is a few links to the replacement parts if you feel capable. There are a few different styles so make sure you cross reference your model with the part number.
- Navien Flow Sensor part # 30010537A
- Navien Flow Sensor part # 30008571A
- Navien Flow Sensor part # 30012033B
Navien Control Boards or Motherboards
These do fail relatively frequently and symptoms can be fairly wide ranging. If your unit turns on, then off, then on, and then off repeatedly or possibly fails with error code 03 (ignition failure) this could possibly be a control or motherboard issue. There are definitely other issues that a failing or failed board can cause but the symptoms can be difficult to narrow down. You may find that power cycling the unit (un-plug and plug back in) can temporarily solve the issue. Ultimately you will likely need to replace the Navien control board. If you are relatively handy this isn’t too difficult and can be done. Listed below are a few few available replacement motherboards, make sure to confirm you are purchasing the correct replacement.
Cracking Heat Exchanger
This isn’t near as frequent as the problems listed above but it is an issue none the less. A heat exchanger should be replaced immediately; it’s a breach containment allowing exhaust gases to enter your home. The heat exchanger is most likely under Navien warranty I recommend calling them to address the issue 1-800-519-8794
Here is some places and information you can use to find additional help.
GoTankless Service Department – 647-925-1930 (GoTankless is a trusted tankless specific company operating out of Toronto, Ontario)
Navien Technical Help Line – 1-800-519-8794 (Great solution for the Do It Yourself crowd)
Navien Warranty details – Find out more HERE (should be accurate for Canada and Ontario)
Additional Issues – Read Here
UPDATE – here is a Complete list of Navien Error Codes
If all else fails post a comment and we can try and trouble-shoot any issues here.