209 of 217 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2006
I have used the Internet extensively for information on tankless water heaters and this 250SX model in particular, so I wanted to fully detail my experiences accurately for others. In short, these things aren't for everyone, it depends on your usage and tolerance, your handyman ability, and the quality of plumbing in your home particularly water pressure. That being said, I am personally very happy with my 250SX set up, but I had to make some adjustments.
Usage: I only use hot water at the kitchen faucet, dishwasher, and clothes washer about once a week. I take a 10 or 15 minute shower every morning. About once a month I fill my 75 gallon jacuzzi. Rarely do I use hot water in the bathroom sinks for other uses, I often wash my hands in cold water. Other than the jacuzzi water and shower, I use very little hot water. Having a hot water tank of 75 gallons, or even 40 gallons, just does not make sense. The 250SX needs 0.8 gallon flow to activate the heating element. I take fairly hot showers and I keep the 250SX at 124 degrees. Because an extra 0.8 gallon flows through the pipes before the 250SX activates, some complain that it takes too long to get hot water, but I think it is no big deal. A bigger problem for some: when you turn off the hot water then turn it on again, your hot water that was in the pipe comes first, then the 0.8 cold water, then it gradually gets hot again. That is a little annoying. Imagine your wife turning the hot water on and off to wash dishes. A hot water tank would just keep the hot water flowing ready for on/off use, but not a tankless unit. It wasn't too big of a deal, but in the end I decided to solve the problem by adding a 6 gallon hot water tank (Ariston GL6+) in series after the 250SX. The 250SX has 3/4 inch NPT water threads, to keep the pressure constant make sure you get a small holding tank that also has 3/4 inch NPT water threads. The hot water always flows through the hot water tank last and the outward source recieves hot water from the small holding tank first. Also, the 0.8 gallon of cold water flows into the small tank first where it is mixed with 6 gallons tanked hot water. Set the small tank at about 4 degrees higher than the 250SX and you won't even know the difference in temperature; problem solved. One guy told me that his wife insists that the hot water must be 140 degrees in the dishwasher, but she also likes luke-warm showers. The problem here is that the 250SX does not get the 0.8 gallon of flow when she is in the shower. Add the fact that she messes with the shower's water controls and the unit goes from on (hot) to off (cold) while she is in the shower. Apparently, that really pisses her off. The small holding tank helps with this too, but there are several ways to solve this problem: 1) get a new wife, 2) use Bosch's remote temperature control (about $120 extra) at the shower to turn down the temperature, 3) turn on a bathroom faucet while she showers (wasting a lot of hot water) 4) my new dishwasher (this recently went out too) has an option to superheat the water it uses (it must have a separate water heater). Some people complain that the unit causes less hot water pressure, but that is not my experience at all. It helps to have good water pressure to begin with (mine is 70 psi) but maybe the hard piping to keep 3/4 of water flowing without bottlenecks helps too. Some people complain that the unit makes a high pitched noise, but that is not my experience either. I will say this: for a short time I had it connected to the previous tanks 1/2 inch gas line. It did make this noise a little when two hot water appliances worked at the same time; probably has to do with needing more gas than available in the 1/2 inch line. In that case, that problem is solved by hard piping a 3/4 inch gas pipe to the 250SX. It seems to me all these problems are related to particular usage or to improper installation; READ THE INSTALLATION MANUAL.
Installation: The venting exhaust must be on its own line, NOT combined with say your furnace exhaust. Also, be sure you incline the exhaut pipe upward if venting horizontally as the manufacturer requires. Incidentally, the model's installation instructions are available on the Internet, READ THE INSTALLATION MANUAL. The 250SX drinks in 175,000 BTU when it is working hard, that might mean you will need to upgrade your gas line. In my case, I was replacing my furnace as well as the water heater. The guy that installed the furnace, used the previous 3/4 inch gas line for the 250 SX, then ran another gas line for the new furnace. Since it was part of the bid, I have no way of knowing the cost, but I would guess the cost at $75 of the furnace bid. To insure that the 250SX gets sufficient gas, the installation manual strongly suggests that the gas line be hard piped to the unit which is what the furnace guy did for me. Another guy told me to hard pipe the water lines to unsure that there are no bottle necks in the water pressure. Apparently, a 3/4 inch flex line is actually 5/8 inch in the middle. I sweated the 3/4 inch copper pipe from the cold water source to the 250SX, then to the 6 gallon holding tank, then to the hot water line; all water runs through 3/4 inch copper pipe with unions for quick uninstall if either the 250SX or the holding tank needs to be replaced someday. You will need an outlet for the 250SX pilotless ignition, but I think it takes very little power. If you install the Ariston tank, it requires a 20 amp circuit hardwired to the unit. So, you've got to know a little about electrical, plumbing for copper pipe, and basic handyman skills for everything else. I found it to be a fun little installation project. You can also contract out the installation but it is rather expensive.
Costs: I bought mine at a local hardware store for $899 + tax. The expenses don't stop there, if properly installed this model MUST HAVE a special sealed 3 inch stainless steel pipe for hot gas (carbon monoxide) exhaust, plus a wall thimble and a termination hood. I needed 13.5 feet of exhaust venting (AL29 type) which I bought on the Internet (Cinnabar) for $292. The optional small holding tank (Ariston GL6+) cost me $174 (from Ace hardware on the Internet, have them send it to one of their stores). There is another $150 to $200 in other materials, including a 20 amp circuit plus 12 gauge wire for the small holding tank which needs to be hard wired, copper pipe, etc. The 250SX itself needs an outlet for pilotless ignition. You are supposed to have both on separate curcuits, but I felt this was not necessary, so I put them on the same circuit, outlet and hardwire to the small tank. In total, everything cost me about $1650 with the small tank and installing everything myself. Figure more if you need to increase your gas line as these things suck 175,000 BTUs when loaded, plus $800 to $1500 more if you have someone else install it for you. I got a quote for about $800 for the install not including the small holding tank or the extra for the increased gas line.
Analysis: I figure a quality large water heater, big enough for my Jacuzzi, would be about $800 installed. I will get $300 back in a Federal Tax credit, so the tankless unit setup is $550 in extra expenses that have to be made up in savings ($1650 - $800 -$300 = $550). I figure I save $8 a month in energy costs when I subtract the $2.50 a month to operate the small 6 gallon water tank. It depends on how much hot water you use, others claim they save $20 a month. That means it will take me about 6 years to break even. The warranty is 12 years on the 250SX and 6 years on the GL+6. Keep in mind that tankless units are expected to give twice the service of a water tank. That make sense since most water tanks rust out trying to hold all that water. I have used the 250SX for 2 months now. I'm tickled pink by the unit, but NOT because of my marginal energy savings. With the small tank in series, it acts a lot like the tank I replaced, except the hot water is endless, great for the Jacuzzi, and a lot of room is freed up in my garage. Bottom line: If you 1) have good water pressure (a must), 2) are able to install it yourself, 3) have other reasons besides energy savings to install, then I highly recommend it. If you are lacking on these 3 points then do yourself a favor and just replace your old hot water tank with another.
68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2005
Tankless water heaters are the wave of the future if you ask me. They're using them all over western europe already, because they can't afford to waste energy. We can't in the US either, but then we're encouraged to. Over the life of the water heater, you'll save a lot of money on your tankless water heater.
Tankless water heaters are DIFFERENT than the one you're used to. So you have to shift your expectations. The difference? Tankless water heaters don't STORE hot water, they make it as you use it. Therefore, if they can't make enough, they run cold(er). If they can make enough (like when you take a shower) they'll never run out. Their problems are different too. Their sensing circuitry is more high tech, and computer controlled. When gas pressure or water pressure fluxuates, so can the temperature. It takes very little handle adjustment to make a big change in temperature. You might also consider buying the remote temperature controller. I can see where that might make your life a bit easier when switching from the shower to the tub.
Now to the 250SX. We've been running ours in San Francisco for about 5 months. We put it in the attic to get it out of the living space. Its gas fired. It supplies a tub and a shower simultaneously (and actually works a bit better when you turn on both than it does when you use only 1). Gas and water pressure fluxuations affect the temperature of a shower, which can take some adjustment. The power bills are down as a result .. no wasted water heating when you're not using it. Turning on other appliances can affect the temperature and actually make the water run cold, depending on how much pressure you have in your house and how much it fluctuates naturally. There seems to be a good case for installing pressure regulation to use this applicance, though we didn't. We're currently considering installing a second unit just for the dishwasher and sink.
Its a nice, quiet, efficient unit. Its easy to understand. It takes some reading to install it correctly (your building department will help you do that, but you have to work with them). The space savings are great. There's a computer involved, so you have to read and understand the error codes so you can troubleshoot it if it has problems. I reccomend getting a plumber with experienced to help you plan the installation, and size the unit. It gets more technical than just about any other household installation.
That said .. might as well ride the wave of the future now, save yourself some money, the planet some hydrocarbons, and some of that valuable real estate you paid so much for.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2008
This water heater has been a huge disappointment to me. From the very first,
it has had problems with maintaining the temperature. I simply cannot get it to stay at the nice, warm, constant temperature that I want. Every time I shower, the water changes from really hot, and when I turn it down even a tiny bit, it goes to really cold again. There is NO in between with this heater. So it makes showering no fun, it's impossible to take a long shower without interruption. And I don't even HAVE a complaining wife, so I can't blame it on my wife as other reviewers have done.
The problem is caused because my nice charcoal shower head filter supposedly lowers the water flow or pressure too much, and this causes the flow sensors to turn off the water heater gas flame! So I talked to Tech Support SEVERAL times, and once, I was on hold for 1.5 hours once on their phone line, waiting for the next technician. They sent me out a new set of temperature sensors, little buttons that I replaced easily via clip on to the inside of the unit. We also tried changing the temperature setting down lower, to maybe 106 F. so that it might be more efficient. Well, nothing worked. They suggested I should turn on another faucet when I shower, which keeps the water flow 'high enough' for the burner to stay turned on. They also said I should remove my shower filter. It just works this way, it needs enough water flow to work right. So don't get this if you ever want to use shower filter!
It is also a big expense to install, because I had to pay 2000.00 for installation, with a new dedicated gas line from my meter directly to the heater, and a fancy stainless steel vent, direct to the outside, for the power vent and condensation prevention. So my intention of saving money, due to using less gas energy, was wasted on the installation and the extra aggravation it causes me.
If you ever want a shower filter, or if you have any low pressure for any reason in your home, do not buy this piece of equipment. It is NOT tolerant of any fluctuations in water pressure. It also behaves differently when the incoming water temperature is higher or lower, because the gas flame has to sense the incoming water and adjust its output. It will overshoot in the summer, because the burner stays on too high when the water is 'warmer' than normal. This doesn't seem to me to be reliable. I hate the finicky nature of this water heater, and I would never buy one ever again. But again, Bosch had to design these features to make the burners, and the sensors, and the flow rate sensors work right. Don't blame them I guess.
In my case, I need my shower filter to eliminate chlorine and minerals, or else my skin gets a rash. So I am out of luck with this thing, Bosch says that filters drop the water flow too much, either a shower filter or a whole house filter. So it is not for everyone, I think it is mainly for someone who lives in a perfect house with perfect flow rates and no shower filter. I wish I had known this before and I would never have bought it. So I think people should be aware of the conditions before purchasing this.
46 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2007
Before you hear my rant, I think these would probably be great for new construction where your house is under warrenty. I think energy efficent and green products are really worth the premium and extra effort, but this technology was such an big let down for me. Because of my faith in Green, I'm giving it a 3.
Be aware most retrofits require a relocation of your heater. (ie reroute water, gas, vents) Also be forewarned these are computers and you will have no hot water during a power outage. In addition, while the installation is a bit easier than tank water heaters, be prepared for technical issues. Instant heaters in general are a very complicated solution to a very simple problem (ie. make the water hot).
My old water heater tank started leaking so I thought it would be a good idea to try something less prone to corrosion and leakage. After doing some investigation, looking past what the naysayers claimed, I purchased the Bosch AquaStar 250 SX from Lowes. It seemed I was very fortunate, since most tankless water heater "retrofits" require a massive, expensive replumbing effort, yet mine did not require a relocation. (As a comparision, a cheap water heater can be installed for under $500.)
Pro's: Installation is FAR simplier than a water heater, mostly because the unit is compact and there's no crawling needed to install the pipes. It looks fancy, it has a LCD panel with buttons on it, and it takes up a lot less closet/garage space.
Con's: Works for 2 things, so no more kicking off the disher and washing machine, and hitting the showers once you put the kids to sleep. Relies on electricty, so no hot water if you have an blackout or "dirty" power. Requires more a controlled environment to operate. Many moving parts, wires and a full blown computer inches under a tank of scalding hot water. Requires more expensive plumbers as there is relatively US expertise right now.
It is way way OVER-ENGINEERED for what it does. You won't believe how many wires, electrcal components and moving parts this thing has. "Fire on water makes water hot", right? Not so simple. Unlike a tank with a fire under it, be aware YOU ARE INSTALLING A COMPUTER attached to motors and sensors, with water running through it. As such, you must accept all the downsides of owning a computer running under relatively "extreme" conditions.
I'm sure it works fine most of the time, but now in addition to metal corrosion, you have to worry about one MORE major component that will fail. As a comparision, my house furnace failed twice, both times due to a bad "control system". When things fail with this Bosch AquaStar 250SX, you have to read highly generalized computer error codes, and report them to a computer technician at Bosch. When I called Bosch, I felt like I was calling computer support. Ultimately, they debugged the system to a point where I had to either pay a contractor to come in and measure the gas pressure or buy my own diagnotic tool (a manometer - ie yet another computer). Even though the gas, water and exhaust are replumbed/retrofit well enough for a conventional water heater, the fire will only light if the computer's internal diagnostics decide its ok to do so. In short, you will hook up everything far better than you would with a tank and you still won't have hot water.
I spent about 13 hours getting the pipes replumbed, added the extra shutoff valves and addressed all the special requirements like stainless steel vent pipes, etc). This part was rather easy. I was happy to see Bosch had exacting standards. Best part was there was no crawling or upside-down soldering. However, never underestimate a computer's to make a simple problem extemely complex.
No matter what I tried, no matter how much I heated up the room, no matter how often I flushed the gas and water lines, I kept getting cascading error codes from the computer. Ultimately it ended up with some "ionization electrode" error which appears to be a catch-all meaning "the computer notices your fire is not lit". In addition, the unit kept leaking water from the top level to the bottom level. I'm not sure if this was condensation or a leak of some sort.
New technology, not old technology refined. Do not believe the hype about these being a mature peice of technology. I have seen flash heaters in Asia and Europe and they are radically differnt. Overseas, they are reliable low tech, point of delivery devices. When a person wants water, he pushes a button and instant hot water. With an American "instant heat" tankless water heater, you rely on a computer to allow the water to flow and the gas to burn. There's no override or way to jump it like in a furnace. I can't wait for the first brownout or period of "dirty" power to fry a neighborhood of these computers.
So, if you're really going to spend $999 + $200 in special parts to do this yourself, consider some more reliable, enviroment friendly solutions. Solar panels are a more mature technology, warm the water on cloudly days, have $0 monthly cost of ownership, and have 0 carbon emissions. If you stand foreign products (like this Bosch) I suggest you investigate some of the Chinese compact, efficient roof mounted water tanks.
My advice, build a new house with one, wait a decade until the kinks are shaken out and try it on your retrofit, or stick with an efficient tank.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2007
Like others, the concept is ideal. Hot water only when you need it. Saves on natural gas to keep water heated. Who wouldn't want this?
The reality is that while I use less gas to heat the water, I now use 3-4 times the amount of water I used to to take a shower or wash the dishes. This is due, in some part, to the units location. If you are considering one of these for your house, you MUST consider its location and place it as close as you can to the nearest and most used source of hot water - in my case the kitchen and/or main shower.
My frustrations stem from having placed the unit on a basement wall where it would fit in a utility space and the vent pipes would be hidden outside. All of that worked out fine. But my kitchen and upstairs bathroom, the 2 most used points for hot water are too far away. I have to run water for sometimes 2-3 minutes to get hot water where I need it. That's counter-productive! I hate wasting water and am the kind of guy who turns the shower off while washing his hair and yells at the kids for keeping the fridge door open for longer than 10 seconds. This water-wasting situation nags at me every time I use hot water.
I have been told that there is a method of introducing traps into the water lines to keep hot water from back-draining, alleviating some of the charge time by holding warm water in the lines when it isn't running.
I, like others, have also had cascading error codes and have had to call in technicians on two occasions.
The first occasion resulted in the replacement of the control unit. This was before BOSCH pinpointed a design flaw. The second was just a week ago. I stated getting "A2" error codes and had to constantly reset the unit to get hot water. Finally called the Heating and Cooling guys in who conferred with Bosch and they were immediately told what the issue was. The OVERHEAT FUSE. This is the white wire that runs around the upper stack of the flue and was the source of my error code. A call into Bosch produced a retrofit unit that took me about 20 minutes to install and now the unit is working again.
ANYBODY HAVING ISSUES WITH THEIRS SHOULD CALL BOSCH 1-800-642-3111 AND REQUEST A "FLUE GAS LIMITER RETROFIT", Part NO. 8-700-400-032. This should solve many error code situations and get you on your way again. They sent mine "no questions asked". I still like the unit and will be re-plumbing (and perhaps relocating) to get better performance from it.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2010
I purchased on of these a couple years ago and have been unhappy with it ever since. The idea is cool, but this is not the brand to go with. If you get an error message (and you will) tech support will expect you to have meters and equipment to measure water pressure, gas pressure, etc. They ask for pictures of the venting and keep you calling back and waiting for 30 minutes or more only to hang up on you. Customer support is defensive and will tell you different things to get you off the phone quickly.
As far as actual savings in gas goes. I moved to this device form a 40 gallon natural gas energy star water heater which was about $15-20 to run a month for 2 people. Now my gas bill averages around $20 a month so it is not really any savings there. Also these are about double the price of a higher end water heater. It also doesn't start heating the water right away so if you are doing dishes or something where you turn water on and off it will get hot and cold.
I'm a big fan of good customer support, especially in this economy and these people don't seem to get it. Stay local and avoid this brand.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2007
I recently had a Bosch Aquastar 250SX-NG tank-less gas water heater installed to replace a 40-gallon tank-type gas water heater. I am very pleased, especially with how quiet this unit is compared to my old power-vent heater. No more blower noise in the house (or outside). You literally have to be standing next to the unit to hear it running. And I can use my whirlpool without worrying about the hot water running out.
Note that there is a limit to the amount of hot water a tank-less heater can produce (i.e. gallons per minute), which varies by model. In several months of use, I have yet to experience a shortage of hot water.
I look forward to a lot longer, trouble-free service with this model than I've experienced with past conventional heaters. Oh, and there's a federal tax credit on this unit as well (through EOY 2007 I think).
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2010
It will not work, see everyone else's comments. I am throwing mine away and getting another brand. Customer Service at Bosch is terrible, warranty covers nothing. I waited about 4 years too long to replace.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2010
We have had our Bosch Aquastar for just over 3 years. Up until now, it has been quirky but we adapted our lifestyle to fit the water heater. (Imagine that!) Hardest part was getting our Bosch dishwasher to work with our Bosch water heater. Took us months to figure that one out, with all inquiries to Bosch going unanswered. We have always gotten intermittent EC codes that were easily cleared by hitting the reset button but this summer we had the added problem of the water temperature soaring to 132 degrees while the unit was set for 118. Talk about a scald hazard! We called our trusty HVAC/Plumbing Contractor and they sent a HVAC controls guy to diagnose the problem. Told us we needed to replace the controller, the temperature sensors and the ECO sensor. Ordered the parts and, $1,100 later it was still not maintaining the set temperature! I called Bosch's tech support myself this time. They say, "Of course that didn't work. You need the performance pack to fix that problem. We'll send you one free of charge." It arrived today. The Contractor will come tomorrow to install it. (It is a 2.5 gallon tank with a mixing valve that is supposed to lower the temperature of the water coming out because, apparently, when the ground water temperature reaches 60 degrees or so, it can only overheat the water. How's that for good engineering?) Our contractor doubts this will solve the problem. I'm sure it will cost me a few hundred dollars more in labor to find out. Stay tuned for more on this saga....
Here's an update from 3 years later: Over the last 3 years, I figured out how to keep this unit running with pretty simple repairs and little money (mostly from not having to pay service technicians). But, 6 years after purchase, the heat exchanger started to leak. Bosch required that I hire a service person to "prove" that was the problem, which I did. To their credit, even though only the heat exchanger was still under warranty, they gave me a whole new water heater. Since my original model has been discontinued, they gave me a newer model. This required repiping so, with the original visit, it cost us around $500 to replace the unit. Maybe all those months of energy savings helped pay for that but with the new electric water heater in the system, I think not.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2008
Good news and bad news here:
First, the good news. This thing saves money, is compact, good for the environment, and allows me to take a hot shower for as long as I want -- there is no such thing as running out of hot water. We bought a house with a leaking traditional hot water heater and replaced it with the Bosch and we haven't looked back. Got a tax credit for it too (this may be expired by the time you read this. I recommend purchasing one of these.
Now the bad news:
The comments noted here about waiting for hot water are true, but don't really bother me. It's not an issue at all when I'm taking my morning shower -- I don't think it takes any longer than a regular heater for the hot water to reach my second-floor shower. But if you want to give your hands a quick wash at the bathroom sink in the middle of the day, you'll have to wait for the hot water to arrive, or get used to cold water.
The installation manual CLEARLY states that 3/4" gas pipe is needed. I'm no plumber, so we had our local guy install the heater. I pointed out several times the giant warnings from Bosch about that 3/4" pipe. But did he listen? NO! "Ah, they don't know what they're talking about." We still love this guy, but trust me: when they say 3/4", preferably hard pipe -- they MEAN IT. We had all sorts of trouble at first -- every time we turned on the hot water the heater made a noise like a loud diesel truck starting up. The problem was solved by our propane company, who put an extra gas regulator in the middle of our supply line, and then the regulator was turned WAY up to deliver lots of gas flow. This heater doesn't use much fuel, because it's not keeping water hot day and night, but when it wants fuel, it wants a LOT, all at once, so it needs that proper piping. All this is not a criticism of the unit -- just a friendly caution to avoid shortcuts.
The other bad news is that Bosch tech support is AWFUL -- it puts to shame any horror stories you've heard about being on hold with some computer company, cable TV, credit card issuer... Hold times can easily pass an hour. If you're lucky you get a recording offering to call you back when it's your turn (Cool! But why make you wait 30 minutes before giving you that option?) If you leave your phone number it can take another three or four hours for them to return the call. (Do I dare go out of the house for an errand and risk missing their call?) This is particularly a problem if you have your plumber standing there, charging you by the hour while you try to get through to Bosch. They do have a special number for technicians who need to call in, but we never got to test it. (More on this later).
If you need help, there is no such thing as a Bosch authorized repair person. When you look up service people on the Bosch web site it states this: "All of the referrals listed are independent plumbing contractors who are not employed by Bosch Water Heating. The list of referrals is provided as a courtesy to assist you in locating an installer or service provider for Bosch tankless water heaters. Bosch Water Heating does not assume responsibility for any claims, damages, blah, blah blah" In a big city this may not be a problem -- you can probably find a tankless water heater expert, possibly one recommended on Bosch's list. We bailed on the city and moved to the country, which we love, but the nearest tankless technician is 75 miles away, and they didn't seem to have much interest in coming out our way.
When we had trouble Bosch really wouldn't talk to us until we had hired a technician from our propane comapny who had a Menometer (sp?)which measures gas flow volume, and a CO2 analyzer. Your local gas company should be able to do that if needed; your friendly handyman down the block probably can not.
After many MANY phone calls to Bosch, they finally did the right thing -- replaced the entire unit for free. Since all the gas lines and plumbing had already been done, it was easy to swap out the unit. (It was when the new unit arrived -- sent via 2nd day -- that the new manual that came with it offered a phone number for technicians to call in if they need help. I hope they answer that line faster, but we never tested it.)
I certainly don't fault Bosch for my problems -- it appears that the whole thing may have been set off by my plumber using the wrong pipe. I DO caution you about the tech support though -- bad beyond all belief until you fight your way up to the supervisor level (no easy stunt) at which point they are fantastic.
The funny thing is that after all that testing of our unit with instruments and fussing with tech support, the new unit worked perfectly out of the box with no adjusting whatsoever. Go figure.
Having said ALL of that, I would STILL recommend this unit -- I'm assuming that my bad unit was a fluke, and now that the new unit is in, it's fantastic.