Help: State Water Heater Diagnosis/Intellivent issues (maybe)

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lseguy

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Gas heater. Mfr date is 2011. Installed in my home when the home was built. Model GS675YVRIT. Installed on third (unfinished) level of a three level home.

Was operating fine up until a couple of weeks ago when I could hear the power vent running non-stop. Went up to check and saw LED lights on the control panel. The vacation light on far left, the LED under the yellow arrow, and the Led on the far right were all illuminated. Per the manual, the problem: "Pressure Switch circuit remains open longer than 5 seconds after blower is energized". I also noticed that one of the baffles from the flue, had fallen off/down onto bottom of the hot water heater.

At its current age, decided to have Home Depot come out to give a free estimate on a new hot water heater. Their estimate to replace with another 75 gallon: $3200. (mostly labor, due to third floor level and it being a "2 man job". The technician suggested calling a repair person since the tank itself was still good/no rust, as his company (sub of Home Depot) only did replacements. I did ask if I could save by getting a smaller hot water heater, but he insisted that the size installed by the builder was what they would be required to replace it with. (Another 75 gallon unit)

Decided to try fixing this myself first (not the best idea in hindsight, but thats neither here nor there now):

Followed the guidance to check all tubes/hoses. I did, and all were intact/snug/unblocked. Decided to replace the entire blower motor unit with switch. With the blower motor off, started to carefully lift out the flue. Then realized that due to the ceiling height, impossible to fully remove the flue. I'd need to cut the lines, disconnect, drain, and lay the heater on its side in order to have enough room to remove/install flue. I read online where its not uncommon for the lowest baffle to fall off after years of the heating cycle, and that one missing lower baffle should not be an issue. Is this correct?

Anyways, after replacing the blower, got a different code. (See photo). IMG_1656.jpg



So I did some more reading, and I read where its not uncommon for that control unit to fail. So decided to replace that unit. (Yes, expensive way to learn, but cheaper than $3200). I figured if the original gave me 8 years of service, then not a bad spend. (Assuming it solved the problem).

Well it didnt. Installed it earlier today and got the same code. (The code in the photo is listed as ""The Gas control valve/thermostat has detected the air pressure switch circuit is opening repeatedly during one heating cycle".


My question: Is it possible that the one missing baffle from the flue, is causing some sort of issue with pressure detection, thus, triggering the error lights?

And yes, my current plan is to find a proper hot water heater repairman next week to come in and just fix this thing unless there is something Im missing to check.

Thanks
 
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lseguy

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Also, I noticed the slight crooked install of the vent pipe into the hot water heater. This is how it was installed by the builder (I missed it, inspector missed it). Didnt cause a problem before. Is it possible that this can be causing the error codes?

IMG_1657.jpg
 

breplum

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At nine years, you are throwing good money after a bad product. You should consider replacing.
My experience with those power vent units is endless unhappiness.
If your gas supply is a home run all the way from the meter, you could consider a terrific tankless water heater like Navien NPE 240A. (Or run a required gas supply).
2" PVC vent (you can increase to the 3" if that is what exits). And a lot less liability than 75 gallons sitting above the house.
It will cost you slightly more than the replacement tank but will last 20 years.
Just have to deal with condensate drain.
Diagnostics on Navien is space age compared to flashing fu****g lights!
 

Mitchell-DIY-Guy

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Just out of curiosity, did you replace the entire tank with a new power vent 75gallon model, or just the power vent assembly? did you get the proper power vent matched to the water heater? You cannot just put any power vent on any heater. I'd imagine a new power vent isn't cheap.

Regardless, a 9 year old tank is one its end of life cycle, and putting a costly control unit or blower on it will only buy you a little time before your back at it.
 

lseguy

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Thanks for the replies. Understood on the "tossing money at a bad product" aspect. But with no rust present, tank still has "probably another good 5 years or more on it" (Per the rep that was sent by Home Depot), my brother having a 21 year old similar heater in his home (that hes about to proactively replace), and with the cost of replacing this heater being in the $3200 range, and a bit higher if I go with a tankless (Rep said his estimate would be about $3800 or so total for a tankless to replace the existing heater/tankless would have to mounted on a different wall/area of the room), wanted to see if I could resolve my issues myself for less than $1k. At that point, Im still coming out ahead over a new replacement. I also plan to sell this home within 5 years.

I did not replace the entire tank. The tank has a 2011 MFR date and was installed in this new build home in 2012. I provided my serial number to a reputable plumbing supply house, and they provided me with a power vent assy that was identical to the one I removed. It was around $275.

Since my post above, couple of updates: The code above would seem to come and go. (The 4 yellows and 1 green). On its own. The original code (The vacation light on far left, the LED under the yellow arrow, and the Led on the far right) stopped appearing altogether after the heater seemed to fully heat the refilled 75 gallons.

And now it appears that the codes have ceased altogether after I (by chance) opted to reduce the temperature on the thermostat from the "B" LED setting, to the "A" led setting. Perhaps this is a band aid of sorts but is (Im assuming) preventing excess cycling of the unit that may have been triggering the codes.

Either way, I'll continue to monitor. The local plumbing supply has agreed to take back the blower motor (I may try to put back on the original since it seems like it wasnt a factor) with a 20% restock fee since I have the original packing. So I will probably put the original back on, monitor, and go from there.
 

lseguy

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Update: Weeks later, so far so good. However, late at night when the heater cycles on, I can hear the popping while its running. Based on reading, appears I have a certain amount of sediment/mineral deposits (we have hard water around here) at the bottom of the tank, and as the tank heats, bubbles pop up from the botom of the unit and float upwards and causes the popping sounds during the heating.

Appears I will need to disconnect/drain the tank again, remove the (Brass) drain valve, and stick something inside to loosen the hard deposits so that they can drain out after I replace the valve, and follow a water drain procedure.

Is that correct?
 
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