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.
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.