I hired Brown's to install a new tankless water heater bought from Home Depot, an authorized retailer. I chose Brown's as they are authorized licensed contractors of Rheem tankless water heaters.
Not only do the issues described below speak to the lack of skilled workmanship, they speak to the lack of professionalism in addressing them.
- After the installation, I read the user’s manual and discovered the service valves were incorrectly installed in the reverse configuration. The end with the union nut should be attached to the water heater. Instead, the unions are attaching the service valves to the flex water lines. Moreover, the purge valves should adjoin the water heater, while the main line valves should adjoin the water lines. The reverse configuration is true in my case. See attached picture.
- Black iron pipe was used to connect the Pressure Relief valve to the hot water service valve. Iron will corrode when subjected to water, which likely explains the next issue.
- Dirty brown water is running from the hot water (pictures attached). As it was evident the discolouration was not going away, I informed Brown’s on Dec 14 2017. I received no word from Brown’s, so I notified Brown’s a 2nd time by phone call (Dec 19) and was given the runaround with the fault pointed at the water heater. I was directed to talk to Home Depot. Issues with the water heater should be handled by the contractor directly with Rheem, not with Home Depot. This is outlined in the owner's manual, and was previously confirmed by Brown’s. The correctness of the installation should first be investigated before pointing fingers at the water heater.
- The Pressure Relief discharge line should end at the floor drain so as to avoid hot water sprays that could damage property or scald people. Brown’s installed a single 3ft tube that ends 6in short of the floor. The floor drain is another 5ft away laterally. The concern is with scalding sprays if anyone is in close proximity should the pressure valve activate. The same concern applies when I stand beside the water heater to manually trip the valve lever in order to test its proper function (repeated annually).
- Brown's is still in possession of my old water tank. They have yet to return it to an Enercare drop-off location. Until it is dropped off, Enercare continues to bill me the rental fee.
- As another HomeStars reviewer noted, Karen (titled "Needed and New A/C unit and new Furnace Air Cleaner"), Brown’s left a mess in the work area in the basement. Furthermore, a single drop cloth was used for covering only the carpeted stairs, yet leaving hardwood and ceramic flooring unprotected. I requested for more drop sheets, but the technician only had one. Outdoor dirt and leaves were left on the hardwood and ceramic, as well as the mess in the basement. When asked for it to be cleaned, the reply I was given was that he is a technician and it is not his job.
This experience with Brown's has been unpleasant. Until the issues are fixed, we do not trust the quality of the water in the house (e.g., to drink, to cook with). The standard of installation does not measure up to highly-skilled licensed tradesmen, and the services rendered have been unprofessional.
Reply to Company's Response:
While I had plans scheduled during the Holidays, I still tried to work around my plans just so I could get the issues fixed ASAP. There was contaminated water running through my home, which caused stress and mental anguish from possible exposure to any adverse health effects.
That said, even the appointments you proposed were inconvenient for yourself. For example, in reference to the Saturday appointment you noted, I had asked your representative what time the technician would be able to drop by. He said he would confirm after talking with the technician. In fact, I never heard back from anyone at Brown's.
So you can see I tried coordinating with Brown's, all the while inconveniencing me and my plans in order to work around your schedule, which as it turned out, you could not even keep. I have a transcript of this exchange between your representative and I, which I readily can share if you would like to read for yourself.
Along similar lines, you chose to believe your technician that I asked him to sweep the entire basement. The truth of the matter is that I asked him to clean only the mess that he created in the basement (outdoor dirt, leaves, wood chips, PVC pipe shavings, wire clippings, screws on the floor, etc). Your installers should be expected to clean up the mess he/she created, and come prepared with whatever equipment is necessary to perform the cleanup (cloths, broom, shop vac, etc). Your technician was set and ready to leave if I had not stopped him and asked if he was going to clean up. And when I did, the response he gave was that it was not his job to clean up and he did not have a broom. It wasn't until I further pursued this matter with your salesperson that he himself agreed to come by to clean up. This seems to be a recurring issue with Brown's, as I see another customer experienced the same issue and wrote a HomeStars review about it. See the review from Karen (titled "Needed and New A/C unit and new Furnace Air Cleaner").
You claim to stand behind your customers. Rather than you determining the cause of the contaminated water with your licensed trade skills, it was left to me to determine the exact faults in your installation. I relayed my findings to you in more than one occasion. Instead of apologetically correcting the issue right away, you passed-off responsibility and accountability onto the manufacturer, Rheem.
As authorized licensed contractors of Rheem tankless water heaters, you already have a relationship with Rheem and should be familiar with their products and policies. Your excuse of not having the owner's manual, or not being the supplier of the tank exhibits a message that is opposite to your statement of "standing behind your customers". Rather, it is evident of your lack of accountability. Furthermore, the manner of your response shows the lack of professionalism in owning up to your mistakes and the lack of accepting responsibility.
- Company Response
Hello Ken. When the issue of the brown water was brought to our attention we did offer 3 appointment day and times (including Saturday) which were not convenient for you. We subsequently offered you three different times for a visit, again none of these were convenient. You did agree to another day and time, and we attended at that time and made some changes which have resolved your issue.
We suggested that you talk to the place that you purchased the water heater from because as a consumer that is what I would do. As we did not have the owners manual, we didn't know that that was what it recommended. As we didn't supply the tank if there was an issue with warranty we would not have been able to process it or register that there was a problem.
Regarding the pressure relief discharge line, it was correctly installed according to the current code book. In fact the code states that the relief valve MUST end between 5 to 12" from the floor.
Regarding your comments about the possibility of getting scalded, the water temperature for the tankless system is set according to Canadian and municipality safety guidelines. Your water temperature has been set according to those guidelines, so scalding is extremely unlikely. The water temperature that would come out of the tank is the same temperature that would come out of your taps. The water temperature in the conventional tank that you had prior to this tankless system would have been set to 140 in order to control bacteria, but the tankless system we installed is set to 120 (factory settings) because there is no standing water and so the required set temperature point is lower.
Your old water tank was returned on your behalf to the depot in Whitby in December (prior to you writing this review). Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help if Enercare continues to bill you.
Your floors were swept up ... in fact the sales person returned personally to do this because you asked the technician to sweep your entire basement, but refused to let him use your broom to do this because you have an "upstairs broom" that you said can't be used in the basement.
As a small, family run company, we stand behind our customers by making things right, wherever possible, if you are not happy. I believe the problem you were experiencing has been resolved, and I hope that I have address all of the concerns you have raised here. If there are any outstanding issues, please don't hesitate to contact me at the office at 905.428.0146 and I will do my best to make sure that they are addressed.