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
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!
I got up yesterday and was getting some stuff cleaned up for breakfast when I realized that we had no hot water. Again. For the third time in about 18 months. It’s been just under a year since we had about $1200 worth of parts replaced on our Polaris high efficiency gas hot water tank. Unfortunately it looks like we had a similar problem again.
Being an expert now, I went down and checked the LED to see how many times it was flashing. Hmm, only once this time, grab the book off the top of the tank (yes, I keep it there now for quick reference). I discover (or is it “remind myself”) that a single flash indicates a Pressure Switch Open error and it’s a “self clearing” code. This means it’s supposed to clear once the condition is no longer detected. Being a child who grew up with Microsoft, I know that the first thing you do is reboot, err, power cycle when something goes wrong. I flick the switch, wait 5 minutes and then turn the tank back on. Nope, doesn’t clear.
I actually had a gentleman from Direct Energy in my house less than 2 hours later. He looked at it for a few minutes and performed his diagnostics. When I heard him coming up the stairs I was expecting the standard “I have to order a part” comment but he continued past me out to his truck. He actually had the part he needed in the truck! That was a new experience for me with Direct Energy. Another 30 minutes or so and he was done and I had hot water again.
The interesting thing is that according to the tech, the error code was actually incorrect. He had to replace the ignition(?) module as there was a bad connection which may have been what was leading to the Pressure Switch Open error code.
Once again, I’m happy I’m renting this tank from Direct Energy but I’m starting to wonder when they are going to come and take it out of my house. I figure by now they have no chance of recouping the cost from my monthly rental fee. It’s really irritating when it does break down but I just remind myself that I’m not paying the bills for it, well, directly.
You may recall that I had problems with my Polaris High Efficiency gas hot water tank last month. I rent this unit from Direct Energy and this has proven to be a very cost effective way of heating my home, as long as the unit is running. Having the gas hot water tank break down twice this year already and require three different parts replaced (so far) is not what I consider a good thing.
Anyways, I complained about the reliability of the unit last month when I was talking to the Direct Energy people. Last night I got a call from a Direct Energy representative and they are going to credit my bill for two months worth of rental. Now this won’t necessarily solve the problems we’ve been having but it is definitely nice of them to offer to credit our bill for a couple bucks.
We have a Polaris high efficiency gas hot water tank that provides both our domestic hot water and also hot water for heating our house. This is a very cost effective way to heat both the water and the house. As long as it is working.
Ours hasn’t been working since Sunday. We don’t actually own the tank because the previous owner of the house was renting it so now we rent it. I’m starting to think this is a good thing because this is the second time this year (yeah, since January) that we have been without hot water. Now that it’s almost June, it’s not such a big deal but back in January it was a huge problem since this heats our house. I can deal with a day or so of ice cold showers. ;)
On Monday we had a Direct Energy (that’s who we rent the tank from) technician come to take a look at the unit. I already had a decent idea as to what was going wrong because the Polaris book has a couple really good troubleshooting flow charts. The unit also has an error LED that flashes X number of times to indicate the problem. The technician followed the same process I did and ended up ordering the part that appeared to be required.
Now, this is where Direct Energy is sort of strange in how they operate. They don’t carry parts. This makes sense because they can’t possible carry everything but it means you have to wait for a part to be delivered to you. A courier showed up just after supper with the new part so I called Direct Energy back and got them to send the tech back Monday evening. He came and installed the part only to have the tank still not work. After trying a number of things, he called it a night and ordered another part.
Now I’m looking at the third part to be replaced on the unit in about 6 months. The unit itself was only installed almost exactly 2 years ago.
The new part arrived yesterday evening but they couldn’t get anyone out here until Wednesday afternoon so now I’m stuck waiting to see if this part is the one that was busted. Fantastic. I like the Polaris tank and when it works, it’s quite an inexpensive way to heat both domestic hot water and provide home heating. The part I don’t like is I’m hearing from the Direct Energy technician that a bunch of other people in Kemptville are replacing units like this because they are breaking down a lot.
We’ll see how long it runs for once it is fixed. Maybe it will soon be time to replace the Polaris gas hot water heater with something else. *shudder* I’m not looking forward to the cost of switching to a “real” furnace.
Update: Yippee! We have hot water again! Oh, and now I know why I still rent this tank, even if it does cause me inconvenience – I don’t have to pay over $1200 for the new part that was just replaced and I don’t have to pay for the close to 5 hours of labour to get this all up and running again. Let’s see. About $35 a month to rent the unit works out to about 35 months to pay for just for this part. ;) Direct Energy might be losing money on this one.