Polaris High Efficiency Gas Hot Water Tank – Part 6

Our Polaris High Efficiency gas hot water tank is once again not working. It’s spewing out good old error code 1 – Pressure Switch Closed. Woo-hoo! I love when the pressure switch is closed because it means I get to call my buddies at Direct Energy and have them come out and order some new parts to try and fix the Polaris hot water tank for another few months. No, not really – this sucks.

Polaris gas hot water tank

Polaris gas hot water tank

I now have a stack of yellow receipts that I just leave on top of the hot water tank so each of the Direct Energy techs can see what they have done in the past. It’s sort of funny when one of the guys (Joel is his name) comes as he’s been here a few times. I almost feel like I should offer him a beer as he’s been to my house more often than some of my work buddies!

Anyways, Pressure Switch Closed is supposed to be a self clearing fault on the Polaris HWT but in my experience, it never clears itself. I’ve had numerous parts replaced – some have been done multiple times. I think the total value of replaced parts on the Polaris HWT is now over $4000. Yeah, I know, good thing I’m renting it and I don’t have to pay for those parts!

My “buddy” Joel tried a bunch of things the last time he was here (which was only last fall) and he had a couple new parts ordered and installed. I was hopeful at the time because both he and the second tech both seem to understand the Polaris HWT and it’s quirks. Unfortunately, they also both said that most people in the area with the Polaris hot water tanks are now pulling them out because they suck so badly. That really is unfortunate because the tank really does work well. It’s just too bad that they are not more reliable. Well, maybe they are reliable for some people but just not in this neck of the woods.

Updated: Yippee! I have hot water again. Interestingly, this time the tech didn’t actually replace anything. He spent some time going through the diagnosis and as soon as he hooked up his ammeter, the unit started to work. Bad ground! It turns out that who ever installed the unit (uh, Direct Energy guys installed it) had taken a short cut when hooking up the ground wires in the main power shut off switch. They just hand twisted the copper wires together with no marrettes! He cleaned that all up and the Polaris hot water heater is working fine now. Hopefully this will be the end of the 4 years of problems!

19 thoughts on “Polaris High Efficiency Gas Hot Water Tank – Part 6

  1. Sean

    I just received a pamphlet with my Enbridge Gas bill (Dec.9/09) titled “Information about your Direct Energy Rental Hot Water Tank”. I also have a Polaris combo unit. I have not had problems like yours but I may have a different model maybe.

    Anyway, the pamphlet shows that my tank rental will increase from $32.83/mo. to $62.00/mo. a 90% increase.

    Try calling DE and have them justify that….I did, and got nowhere. I expect that they will be removing their HWT from my house very shortly, as I will have it replaced. I will not deal with these people any more.

    Just wondering if you caught the increase notice.

    Oh, and the justification for the increase……”so we can continue to delivery quality 24 hour service.” Thought you might like that line!

    Sean

    Reply
    1. Jeff Ivany Post author

      Yes, I also received this. I’m guessing that they are doing one of two things:

      1. Trying to recoup losses from installations similar to mine where they have dumped thousands of dollars into repairs.
      2. Trying to get the Polaris units removed from people’s houses so they don’t have to keep paying to repair them.

      That said, I’m sort of stuck with keeping my unit. $62/mon is a pretty substantial increase over my current $40/mon but my only alternative would be installing a new furnace which (when I had it quoted) was in the $8000 range. I’m not sure I really want to go that route yet. Boooo.

      Reply
  2. ann

    Can you tell me what series (series 1, series 2,) Polaris tank you have? OR, when it was purchased?

    Thanks

    Reply
  3. Alvin

    I just bought a Polaris that runs on propane for our acreage… I’ve got hydronic heating and domestic water running off it… hope don’t have problems…

    One thing I noticed so far… it turns on… yellow light… for a couple seconds… stops and then turns on again before it fires… is this normal?

    Reply
    1. Jeff Ivany Post author

      Alvin, yes, the yellow light comes on for a few seconds before it starts to burn. It does some sort of a purge initially where I think the unit just turns on the blower. I read this somewhere about the ignition/heating cycle. It might have actually been in the owner’s manual (crazy!).

      Reply
  4. Ken Zakreski

    Hi

    I am just thinking of getting a new 34 gal GSW Polaris propane statinless steel hot water tank for the house, to use as a back up (and supplemental ) heating for the house.

    How is yours working so far?

    Ken

    Reply
    1. Jeff Ivany Post author

      Ken,

      Now that all of the issues seem to have been resolved, the Polaris HWT is working fantastic for us. My best piece of advice is make sure you have a solid electrical ground connection for the unit. That appears to be what our problem was all along.

      Reply
    2. Alvin

      So far we’ve had ours for almost exactly a year… there was a slight quirk on day… I adjusted the temp. up and it didn’t work… I didn’t notice for a couple hours and the water was coool… I readjusted and it seems to work fine again.

      Reply
  5. Steve

    I have a Polaris and use it for heating and domestic HW. I have had a problem as it shuts down when the temp outside is -20C or colder. 2 flashes of the LED. I live in northern Canada and -20C or colder is the norm. There is a technical advisory #5002 to solve this problem. I have it in PDF but I’m not sure how to attach it to this site. If you call Polaris, they will send it.

    Hope this helps !

    Reply
    1. Jeff Ivany Post author

      HI Steve. Two flashes on the Polaris is usually a “pressure switch open” error code.

      The Polaris installation manual has a flow chart for what to check when you get the various error codes. You can find a version of the manual at the following URL:

      http://www.americanwaterheater.com/support/manuals/Pol-April02.pdf

      Page 28 in that document has the flow chart.

      I’d be interested in seeing the technical advisory though. I’ll contact you offline.

      Reply
    2. Scott

      Steve,
      I have a similar problem with my Polaris (radiant and domestic) here in Indiana. I get the two red LED blinks and the open pressure switch code. I would appreciate any technical information or link that you have regarding this problem. Thanks, Scott

      Reply
      1. Jeff Ivany Post author

        Scott, I’ll forward the technical advisory to you. I’m working on getting a post written about it as I have been unable to find anything similar online.

        Reply
  6. Alvin

    I’m in Canada as well and we’ve just got over a month of -20 to -30… it worked great…. I’m pretty happy with it….

    Reply
  7. vaibhav patel

    Can u please give me brief knowledge or send me some link that i can see how does this Polaris PR100-34-2NV works?

    Thanking you
    Vaibhav patel

    Reply
  8. Alvin

    I like mine… we have infloor heating and domestic hot water working off the Polaris and it works great, very efficient.

    Reply
  9. dlyon

    Your post has saved me a ton of time and money. Sure enough I checked my ground wire connection and it was loose. Tightened it up and the system worked perfectly. Thank you!!!

    Reply

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