Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Troubleshooting your Rheem Integrity continuous-flow boiler

  1. Is the gas connected to the boiler? If not, what is it connected to? This investigation should be undertaken by someone with a functioning sense of smell, and preferably without any naked flames.

  2. Is the power connected? Jiggle the plug into the socket a bit. Try plugging in something else, like a lamp, to test it. If you bring down one of your nice bedside lamps for this purpose, try not to scratch it on the wall en route.

  3. Is it a weekend? If so, don't bother calling around gas fitters. Everyone in the Auckland area who has the first clue how these things work, also has better things to do with their weekends. Good for them. You can get by without hot water for a day or so.

  4. Are you sure about the power?

  5. Don't take the cover off. I mean it.

  6. If you conducted the test described in (2), try the boiler again now. Then try running an extension lead out from inside the house. An ordinary, lightweight lead will do - it only has to power a bit of basic electronics, nothing heavy-duty. Connect the boiler to a socket you know is working, and try the hot water again.

  7. It was the power, wasn't it?

  8. In your bathroom, probably on the ground floor, there's a socket like those shaver outlets you get in hotels, with an orange LED plus blue and green buttons cryptically labelled "Test" and "Reset". When you press "Test", the orange LED should go out. When you press "Reset", it comes back on.

  9. For no very obvious reason, these buttons control your boiler. If the LED is out, the boiler won't work, even though the socket outside appears to be turned on.

  10. I know, I know.

  11. If you absolutely must call Rheem:
    1. You should know, it'll cost you at least $100.
    2. A man will come and look at the boiler. He will be perfectly civil and informative, and yet somehow contrive to make you feel like a drooling idiot.
    3. He will take the cover off - revealing an incomprehensible mess of wiring that will make you glad you didn't take the cover off - and re-invoke the last few error codes by following a high-tech procedure requiring a retractable ballpoint pen.
    4. These codes will all say "Ignition failure", which means "out of gas". I think it's the only error code there is.
    5. Feel free to discuss the weather, sports, any home improvement projects you may have in mind with this man. He's perfectly friendly once you get to know him.
    6. There's also a water filter, which he'll check if he's feeling thorough, but since the water comes directly from the mains, it's vanishingly unlikely - under normal operation - that the filter will ever have anything to do
    7. That'll be $100 please.

  12. If you need to call an electrician, that'll be closer to $200. For that fee, he'll tell you about the trip switch in the bathroom.

And that's the lessons I learned this last four days. Provided to you, the faithful reader, for free. Such are the joys of home ownership.


castlerook said...

I'm in the process of buying a house myself. Alas, I know next to nothing about all that important, practical stuff about boilers and power and the like. Thanks for the lesson!

vet said...

Well, you're most welcome.

It's nice if you can get an operating manual for everything in your house, but frankly that's unlikely, and anyway these manuals often forget to mention the most important things. Such as the power.