Customer Reviews: Rinnai ES38-N Direct Vent Wall Furnace, Natural Gas
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars22
Price:$1,578.53+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on January 11, 2011
Living in a snow belt means not only heavy snowfalls, but very cold temperatures - often subzero. I normally heat my home (a bit under 1,000 square feet) with wood, but use natural gas in the autumn and spring because wood heat is just too darned warm and hard to control in those seasons. My home was built in the 50s as a summer (uninsulated) cottage originally served by a wall furnace. No heating vents or ducts. Over the years it has been winterized and the wall furnace replaced with a free standing Napoleon gas fireplace. The Napoleon was very pretty, but very inefficient, noisy, and dusty (no filters).

I wanted to replace the Napoleon but also wanted to be sure I would not be replacing it with a product made in China. My heating contractor recommended the Rinnai ES38N direct vent wall furnace.

Since this unit cannot be hooked into an existing chimney, it had to be installed in my den, which is next to a garage wall. The Rinnai was vented through the garage and an outside wall. Because of the location of the den, I was unconvinced this unit could heat my entire home, given the location of the other rooms. My contractor assured me it would, so I kept my fingers crossed and went ahead with the project.

There was no need to turn on the Rinnai until mid-October and then I ran it on a very limited basis in the evening. Out of curiosity, I put a thermometer in every room of the house and was amazed to see that within 15 minutes of turning the unit on, the temperature in each room rose four or five degrees. The one problem I did note was that the temperature reading shown on the Rinnai was completely at odds with the actual room temperature shown on the den thermometer. I had to lower the setting on the Rinnai to keep the den from becoming too warm and that affected the temperatures throughout the rest of the house, causing them to be cooler than desired.

After one unproductive call to my heating contractor, I studied the schematic in the owner's manual and saw that the heater's thermostat is located at the bottom, near the floor. This was reported to my heating contractor, who in turn contacted Rinnai. He was advised the thermostat location was an issue and that it should be moved higher. Once my contractor relocated the thermostat, the temperatures could be controlled better. However, it still is not completely accurate, always showing a reading at least five degrees cooler than the actual temperature in that room.

I used the Rinnai to heat my home throughout November 2010. We had several snowstorms and very cold weather. The Rinnai performed very well and very efficiently. Naturally the den, where it's located, was the warmest room in the house, but the other rooms were only five to seven degrees cooler.

My natural gas bill was lower in November 2010 than November 2009. Equally important was the fact there was no increase in my electric bill, which I had been concerned about given the Rinnai is fan driven.

December brought colder temps and more snowstorms, so I began heating with my woodstove and use the Rinnai as a backup unit, programming it to turn on if the temperature went below 60F at night. I've never woken to a cold house. The unit also did an excellent job heating the house during my absence over the holidays.

The top and sides of the unit remain cool during operation. In fact, I have a reading lamp and a few framed photos sitting on the top of the Rinnai. There are no replacement filters to purchase. There are two metal filters in the ES38N, which are pulled out and removed for cleaning. A weekly vacuum keeps them free from dust. There is also a water tray in the bottom of the unit for humidifying the air. I haven't used it yet. I purchased a white unit, which fits in very well with the white walls of the room. When the unit is first turned on, it makes some sound, but after a few minutes it is very quiet.

All in all, it's a quite wonderful heater that I highly recommend.
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on December 4, 2010
The ES38N really does a nice job. Quiet, Efficient and elegant looking. This Japanese product deserves a Toyota/Lexus quality rating. I was super disappointed when I did not see the setback thermostat as shown on the web site. I determined that feature was part of the family but not on this model. Very misleading. That is the reason for the low rating.

The cost to install was 3.75 hours or $346 (Y2010 Idaho dollars). I had an easy install because the gas was 24" away and the exhaust went straight out the back. The installer says most jobs are over $500. I usually like to take that money and spend it on tools but gas is not something I want to work on. I was pleased that Rinnai included venting, valve and street-90 pipe. Installer provided the outside plumbing and a $25 3' inside gas flex pipe. You may not need that depending on the gas service location.

I want another for the basement but will wait for the setback/programmable thermostat or simply go for the other lesser BTU models.
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on December 26, 2009
I bought this to replace the original furnace in my 900 sq ft, 1986 Mobile Home located in North Dakota. I thought I may need to use supplemental heat during extended sub-zero temperatures, but the Rinnai has had no problem keeping the place warm- even when it's dropped to -24 outside. The house is situated on a block foundation, and I have replaced all of the windows with Low E units; also I sealed off the old heating ducts to get rid of any drafts. The previous owner had already updated the doors with full sized insulated units.

The furnace is a little noisy when warming up the place in the morning, but when it's maintaining temperature it's very quiet. My last house was heated by a wood stove, and the Rinnai delivers constant, quiet heat in much the same way.

My only complaint is with the shipping- if you do buy one of these, be sure to contact the seller and have them reinforce the bottom of the box, as mine appeared to have dropped out while it was being carried. There is a piece of particle board inside the bottom of the box, but the the outside needs to be encircled with strapping tape(or crated) because the box will not hold up well when it's sent by UPS. The damage to my unit was minor, but could have been prevented had the box been reinforced. I chose to install the Rinnai as it was, because the cold weather had arrived and I didn't want to delay getting it into service.
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on November 28, 2013
This is really a great heater. Our space in our finished basement is 1200SF and this thing has no problem keeping the area very very comfortable without even working hard. Frankly it can make to hot if I let my wife and kids have their way. I had a gas line ran for about $150 and I installed the ES38 my self - I had a contractor come and drill out the hole through my foundation for $100 for the flue manifold. I did have to purchase a longer flue manifold than what came with the unit but it all worked out and we are very happy - this is the 2nd winter in action and works flawlessly. Highly recommend.
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on November 1, 2014
This is a very nice heater. I'm happy with the purchase and would buy it again. We're using it in our 800 square foot Florida Room. The heater is quiet and really puts out the heat. However, this heater is not a do it yourself installation. Our plumber - who's a certified Rinnai installer, had a difficult time configuring the through the wall chimney. Also, the heater sits on the floor - the advertising had me thinking that it hung on the wall.
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VINE VOICEon October 31, 2010
Very nicely made, high quality unit. Installed this in a customers 560 sq ft beach cottage. Installation was a breeze with all components included for direct through the wall installation except flex hose. Full size template on the outside of the carton provides all locations for brackets & flue. Only one 3" hole required for flue installation. An extension kit is required if you have to vent up and out. Nice programable thermostat & electronic ignition.
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on April 15, 2015
The Rinnai furnace has exceeded my expectations. It is very quiet and keeps the at an even temperature. The only thing I am not sure of as yet is how it will do in very cold weather. The winter here in NW Washington was an extremely warm one, with temperatures seldom dropping below 30 degrees. How it will do if the temp drops to 20 or less, I don't know but I believe it will be fine.

I'm using this in my house which is about 1500 sq ft. I don't heat the bedrooms very much, because we want ours cool and the other 2 aren't used, but we do keep the doors part way open. The Rinnai does take a while to heat the house because it doesn't run steadily, so I would suggest that you have it set up to turn on a half hour or so before you want your house comfortable. This furnace has 2 timer settings, so you can have it starting automatically at 2 different times in the AM in case you get up an hour or so earlier on some days, or you're going to be gone for awhile, you can have the temp automatically set lower. The clock and 2 timers are very easy to set, once you know how to do it.

I highly recommend the Rinnai ES38N without reservations.
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on January 15, 2016
Amazing heater used at my 700 sq. ft. office. I previously had an unvented radiant heater (no fan) that did NOT do a good job of heating and also spewed fumes into the office space. This Rinnai heater is amazing. I was a bit concerned about other reviewers who said the heat was loud, but not sure what they were talking about. This thing is super quiet. The built in fan sends the heat all around the office very evenly with no fumes at all. Unit is meticulously designed and installation is quite easy. My only minor complaint is that the controls are not that easy to figure out if you're using the program feature (setting to come on and off at certain times), but otherwise I couldn't be happier.
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on December 28, 2012
"This is really well built" was the comment of the professional I hired to install the heater. I can see myself that there is nothing cheap or flimsy about this appliance. And it heats incredibly well. I'm thinking seriously about having one of Rinnai's tankless water heaters installed (a product recommended by my home inspector).
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on November 17, 2012
This is our second ES38-N. We have one on the main floor and this one replaced a Viena Heat-n-Glo. The Viena gas log fireplace was 60% efficient; this one is over 80%. It was a difficult business case but I like the ES38 since it is safer. I was somewhat disappointed on my first ES38 because I got an older model. This one is the latest and has the electronic timer/setback clock. It was easy to install and all I needed to purchase was a longer flexible gas line. This is an awesome stove. I do need to bring in a professional to use vacuum guages that will allow me to adjust for my higher elevation. The details are in the install manual.
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