Rinnai V94IN Tankless Hot Water Heater

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Editor’s Conclusion
The V94IN Tankless Hot Water Heater is a Natural Gas unit that can deliver a whopping 9.8 GPM. Only operating when water is needed, this hot water heater saves 40% over traditional water heaters, and it is even recommended for cold Canadian water inlet temperatures.

Gas tankless hot water heaters are more costly to buy and install than electric models, although electric units may require expensive updates to the breaker box. Gas models without a condensing feature that reuses heated gasses have a lower energy efficiency than electric models. However, for someone with gas or propane heating, choosing a gas model might make sense.

The Japanese manufacturer Rinnai has five series of tankless gas water heaters that range in price from under $600 to nearly $2,600 on Amazon:

V Series – Value non-condensing tankless on the cheap
RL Series – Non-condensing but feature-rich
RUCS/RUS Series – Condensing tech at low cost
RU Series – Condensing with lots of features
RUR Series – Super high efficiency condensing tankless

All of these models frequently appear on lists of excellent choices for homeowners going tankless and even the Value selection models for cost-conscious homeowners are top performers. The V94IN, with its large GPM rate, is the top model of the value line and is priced as such, as it produces 199,000 BTUs of energy and has such a high delivery rate that it competes with the top model of every series.
Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros

Maximum output, minimum space. Suitable for installation in non-traditional spaces such as crawl spaces and attics

Save time with hot water whenever and wherever you need it, any size home, even for simultaneous uses at multiple fixtures

Residential warranty: limited 10-year on heat exchanger, 5-year on parts, 1-year on labor

Cons

Professional installation suggested as improper installation voids the warranty

As a non-condensing model, the energy factor is nearly 15% lower than a condensing model

Key Features

With a compact size that makes it wall mountable in a closet, utility room, basement, non-traditional spaces such as crawl spaces and attics, and even mobile homes, the V94IN can provide enough hot water for three bathrooms.

Notable Features

With a hot water capacity of 0.26 to 9.8 GPM dependent on inlet water temperatures, the V94IN has an energy factor of .82 and temperature range of 98°-120° with the included controller or up to 185° with the added MCC-91-2W controller for commercial applications. If used with the remote, the temperature can be 120°or 140°. Its temperature lock feature prevents accidental or unauthorized changes to water temperature.

The V94IN, as with all Value Series models, is non-condensing but uses a Concentric Venting System that uses a single-vent assembly option featuring an inner tube for exhaust and an outer tube for fresh air from outdoors. The resulting direct-vent sealed combustion system is safe and performs well. The bonus is that installation is simple for a professional or savvy homeowner and guarantees trouble-free performance. The vent requires only a single penetration through the wall of the home, while simple positive-fit components securely connect the system, and joint seals expand and contract as the weather changed to prevent damage.

This model includes a direct electric ignition that used a standard 120V outlet and many safety features, including Flame Failure -Flame Rod, Boiling Protection, Combustion Fan RPM Check, Over Current-Glass Fuse, Remaining Flame (OHS), Automatic Frost Protection, Thermal Fuse, and an Error Code Indicator on the unit. It uses 3/4” lines, although it will work with common ½” lines. Compatible with Wi-Fi Technology for Remote Monitoring and Management, the 94IN has EZConnect which allows for the connection of two units together for future upgrades.

Rated as LoNox, this safe water heater meets California and Texas 40 ng/J NOx emissions standards for ground-level ozone, acid rain and smog, and toxic chemicals to lessen or avoid respiratory problems, low water quality, and global warming. While offering endless hot water, this tankless hot water heater is safe and environmentally friendly.

Although this water heated is not Energy Star rated, it is certified by AHRI and CSA for quality, low lead content, and meeting or exceeding government regulations for good health. Having this tankless unit installed may increase the resale value of your home as it offers an improved Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index Score and optimized LEED certification. It may even qualify for energy efficiency rebates and tax credits to offset your investment. The warranty on this system does not cover damage to the heat exchanger due to water quality damage.



Performance

The V94IN permits simultaneous uses for functions that need water according to the following chart.

Dishwasher
0.5 – 1.0 GPM

Bathroom sink
0.5 – 1.5 GPM

Kitchen sink
1.5 – 2.0 GPM

Utility sink
1.5 – 2.0 GPM

Washing Machine
2.0 – 2.5 GPM

Shower
1.5 – 2.5 GPM

Bathtub
2.5 – .0 GPM

Jacuzzi/Hot tub
4.0 – 5.0 GPM


Technically, the V94IN can accommodate 3 showers or other combinations of uses, but the temperature of the ground inlet water determines the actual flow of gallon per minute. In cooler northern climates, the hot water heater has to work harder to raise the water to the desired temperature. The unit may deliver less hot water than expected due to this. Depending on the location of the unit, there may be a slight delay in getting hot water.

While this unit is built to live up to its promise of delivering endless hot water yet save money, some customers find themselves using more hot water as it is readily available – a luxury that is worth it but
cuts into proposed savings.

Maintenance

In areas with hard water, the homeowner should consider adding a water softening or conditioning system. The Rinnai V94IM has a “ScaleCutter Water Conditioning System” that offers superior limescale prevention and corrosion control by feeding a blend of control compounds into the cold water supply. This enhanced scale detection lessens the possibility of serious, long-term damage to the unit, but flushing the heat exchanger is still necessary after diagnostic code LC# appears.

Comparison to Other Products

In Amazon reviews, all Rinnai heaters in this series had 79% 5-star reviews and 10% 4-stars reviews. Some who gave fewer stats reported shipping problems with the vendor, defective parts, and complaints about the installation requirements or performance. Users were not identified by location, but some complained that the water was not hot enough, although water temperature is tied to ground inlet water temperatures around the country. Finding whether tankless will work well in some place or determining the correct model takes research that some buyers may not have done. Another pattern that comes up in review is that buyers who attempted installation may have been better off with a pro.

Aside from other Rinnai models, competitors with GPM in the neighborhood of the Rinnai V94IN include Rheem, Takagi, and American Standard.

Our Verdict

In the industry, and on most “best of” lists, Rinnai heaters rank high. Though sometimes more costly, they are viewed as reliable and having plenty of features for the money. Choosing the V94IN may be a good way to get the benefits of high GPM and high BTUs at a reasonable price.