Top positive review
53 people found this helpful
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.