Navien Tankless Water Heaters Past and Present

    The Navien tankless water heater has been around Canada for awhile now and there have definitely been some issues.  It’s important to know that a Navien tankless utilizes a condensing technology. This is a dual heat exchanger technique that makes Navian tankless systems upwards of 98% efficient. Navien has stuck with this system since the beginning and now most other tankless manufactures have released versions of their own condensing tankless technology.  If you’re doing research you will likely come across many Navien tankless owners that hate their systems.  Take these opinions with a grain of salt and know that in the beginning Navien did have some issues but they have more than worked out the problems.  We would be confident saying that Navien makes a great, reliable, tankless water heater.

    Past Issues

    • Flow sensor – A few different things can go wrong causing the system to shutdown and stop working, problem rectified on the NR series tankless
    • Motherboard – For some reason Navien had many of these completely fail, they did have them replaced but the issue can still creep up on older models.  The NR series for Navien addressed this issue. 
    • Installers – Most installers were new to tankless water heaters and all the installation procedures that are involved.  Some fault Navien issues could be directly attributed to the installer/plumber/gas fitter themselves. 
    • Customers/Sales People – Some issues were simply unrealistic promises by sales people regarding the performance of a Navien tankless water heater.  In addition some issues could be directly traced back to a home owner who had unrealistic expectations from their new tankless system.

    New Generation Navien Tankless

    Navien has a new generation line-up in 2012 called the NR series, (NR180 NR210 NR240) these 3 systems have benefited from past generations and include all the upgrades and re-engineering to make this condensing tankless one of the more reliable residential tankless models available. 

    In 2013 Navien released the NPE-A and NPE-S generation of tankless systems.  The NR series from 2012 is a great system and is still available but Navien made a few changes to further enhance thier NPE-A and NPE-S offering for the new generation.

    Newest Navien Tankless

    What is the difference between Navien systems?


    Between the NR and the new NPE series there are mainly cosmetic changes; hot water production is the same between all the models.

    The NPE-A vs. the NPE-S is easy, the A stands for advanced and the S is for standard.  The NPE-A has the buffer tank and recirculation pump built in whereas the NPE-S doesn’t.


    As a home owner interested in a tankless you need to ensure that you installer has experience with these systems, ask them how many they have installed and for how long.  You need to understand that our Canadian winters drop the ground water temperature significantly, this reduces the amount of hot water a Navien tankless can produce (see below for numbers).  It doesn’t matter what tankless brand you choose they are all affected by cold ground water.  Yes, past Naviens have had issues but the new generations are stand-up quality and very effective at conserving energy and producing hot water.

    See if a Navien is right for you and your home today.

    Author: John

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    1 Comment

    1. I have a NR series heater I installed myself in 2012. It has been virtually trouble free since the install with the exception of a dirty flow sensor in the Fall of 2015. A quick cleaning of the sensor cured the problem and it works perfectly. I would recommend having a spare flow sensor on hand unless you have perfect water (no such thing around here) that way you will have almost no downtime while cleaning the faulty flow sensor. I see the horror stories with the first generation CR models but honestly I have nothing but good things to say about my tankless experience so far. Time will tell if these are reliable long term. I also realize they cost more than a power vent water heater but it is hard to calculate the savings you will realize when you consider that they cost nothing in fuel (propane/Nat gas) unless you are using hot water whereas the hot water tank is constantly using energy to maintain its temperature. My two cents.

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