Navien NCB 240 Heater/Boiler Review – Worth the Money?
The Navien NCB 240 is a combination tankless water heater and boiler system in one. They have become well-known for innovative technology that can really save those who own one of these systems quite a lot on heating bills, but with a price tag of around $3000, is it worth the money?
In this Navien NCB 240 review, we will take a look at whether or not the end result of owning one of these is worth the initial hit to the pocketbook.
Here is a quick breakdown of what the Navien NCB 240 is all about:
- 17” x 12” x 28” / 43.2cm x 30.5cm x 71.2cm
- 84 lbs / 38.1kg
- Electronic Ignition
- Natural Gas or Propane Fuel
- Thermal Efficiency Rating of 3%
- Flow Rate of 4.5 GPM
- Indoor Mounting Only
- Stainless Steel Heat Exchanger
- PVC, CPVC, or Polypropylene Cent Venting System
- Comprehensive Warranty Includes 1 year on labor, 5 years on parts, 10 years on heat exchanger – more on the warranty later
The Navien NCB 240 is meant to provide warmth to your condo, business, or home, while also providing on-demand hot tap water.
The technology used to ensure this dual water heater and hydronic system boiler’s efficiency is cutting edge. This can make installation and troubleshoot more difficult, even for an experienced DIY-er.
Navien has eliminated the need for bulky, high-energy consumption tank water heaters with this advanced dual system, but even professional HVAC technicians and plumbers can be unfamiliar with the technology, and that can be a definite drawback if issues crop up.
Navien was founded in 2006 in Irvine, California. They are backed by their parent company, KD Navien, which has over 40 years of advanced boiler and water heating technology experience.
As an official Energy Star partner, Navien has committed to reducing energy costs while providing environmentally conscientious choices for its consumers.
The Navien NCB 240 is an environmentally and economically advanced choice. It combines two appliances into one small, wall-mounted unit, thus saving you money on installing and maintaining two separate appliances.
It also boasts some state-of-the-art engineering, such as its ultra condensing efficiency and antifreeze technology which again, saves you money.
But does all this advanced tech actually work? Do problems down the line mean that the purchase meant to save you money will do the opposite and actually be a gigantic, disappointing waste of time and money?
After doing extensive research, we’ve broken down the pros and cons of this Navien NCB 240 review. Let’s start with why this product could be a benefit to you and your household or business.
Navien NCB 240 – The Pros
First and foremost, the Navien NCB 240 really is an energy-efficient, emissions-reducing, saving-money-on-the-bills dual-purpose machine. And here are the reasons why:
- Lower Emissions: Navien uses an eco pre-mixed burner for this product, ensuring lower NOx and CO emissions. This product has up to 75% fewer emissions than similar products, compounding Navien’s commitment to environmental health.
- Efficient Heat Production: Because water is heated on-demand, energy consumption is lessened, saving you money in the end. Additionally, this model retains more heat than other similar products because of its special condensing technology, reducing energy consumption.
- The tankless model saves space, which can be very important, especially in newer homes, businesses, and condos.
- Easy-to-read front panel allows the user to see the temperature and run diagnostics
- Two-in-one water heater and boiler
- Stainless steel exterior and parts can decrease the amount of corrosion on your unit
Navien NCB 240 – The Cons
It looks like the advanced technology that makes the Navien NCB 240, so cutting-edge could also be its major downfall. This model is expensive when compared to other models of its ilk. It looks like Navien hasn’t quite perfected this tech yet, as repairs and durability seem to be an issue, and this can get expensive, counteracting all that money-saving power the NCB 240 has. Here’s our list of cons:
- This model has been designed to be safe and user-friendly with an electronic front display so that the consumer can run self-diagnostics. Many reviewers have noted; however, that the self-diagnostic codes are not easy to read and understand, defeating the purpose of the display entirely,
- Installation must be done by a professional. There is an installation and operation manual, but the complexity of the technology and lack of durability, along with the reported problems of error codes and replacement parts, means you will be spending money on labor and repairs.
- If you decide to go the DIY route and install this yourself, or your service person does not have approval from Navien, your warranty will be void.
- An additional warning: Navien’s warranty does not cover units purchased online. Given the number of reviewers who say they have had to shell out on repairs, it’s probably a bad idea to DIY it, even if you are an experienced DIY-er.
- The stainless steel parts and exterior, meant to add to its durability, has actually been reported as not durable at all.
So what are people actually saying? Here we’ve rounded up some of the Navien NCB 240 reviews we’ve found during our research.
Of course, as with any consumer reviews, these should be taken with a grain of salt, as only those who feel most passionately negative or positive toward the product will take the time to write a review. That being said, we feel the reviews below are pretty telling. So here they are:
Navien NCB 240 Reviews – Positive
- One Massachusetts reviewer, who owns a heating and plumbing business, used this model for his office. He feels it’s a “good deal.” If you’re familiar with heating and plumbing, the technology will probably not be overwhelming for you.
- One HVAC tech states that he has been installing these units for over 10 years and has had no problems. He recommends that if you are having an issue with your Navien NCB 240, it may be from a poor install, bad water, or dirty power.
- One customer reports that he developed a drip on his original Navien dual heater and boiler, and customer service decided he needed a replacement. He disconnected it himself and purchased a new one with no problems whatsoever. He reports that the new one has been working well.
- One customer has installed the Navien NCB 204 in his home and also in many other homes since Hurricane Sandy and says that they are the best and most reliable heaters and boilers he has ever seen. He feels that they are sensitive units and that homes with a water filtration system already installed will have much better luck with them than homes that do not. Additionally, he states that Navien is continually making improvements and upgrades to its technology.
- One reviewer who apparently didn’t do his research and simply went and bought the Navien NCB 240 on a salesperson’s advice found that his unit works wonderfully. He writes that he got it installed by a plumber well-versed in Navien technology and only has to get regular flushing done for upkeep and maintenance.
Navien NCB 240 Reviews – Negative
- One reviewer states that the Navien NCB 240 is the worst investment he’s ever made. He writes that since installing it five years ago, he has had to make service calls two to three times per year. Now that he’s in his fifth year of ownership, he has had to make seven calls, and his warranty has expired, so he is paying out of pocket. His plumber told him that he makes up to seven Navien repair calls per day.
- Another customer reports his unit working well for three years, only to spend over $1500 in the fourth year. He writes that his “conventional” system lasted 30 years, with only minimal service calls.
- Yet another customer reports that after three years, his Navien unit started to break down consistently. Not only this, but his local technician had to receive approval from Navien’s own technicians to replace parts or do any repairs. This customer had incidents of no household hot water and had to wait for parts to be shipped as well as permission from Navien for work to be done to be granted for any resolution to be met.
- One reviewer states that his unit caused condensation, rot and buildup in and around the wall on which it is installed. He states that he has been unable to talk to anyone who is actually certified to make a decision regarding parts and service and has been sent the wrong part by Navien several times. He writes that he will be going on to day 10 of no heat or hot water at the time of his review because of his Navien unit.
- A reviewer installed a Navien for a client and had constant service calls after just one week of it working properly. He writes that Navien told him they had upgraded the pump and sent him a new one, free of charge, but that the new pump only worked sporadically. He ended up removing it and installing a new boiler for his client, but Navien customer service told him that because he had already removed the unit from the wall, they couldn’t refund him any money.
What Do We Recommend?
It seems that on the surface, the Navien NCB 240 is a revolutionary, money-saving, environmentally-friendly choice. However, with a little digging, we’ve found that unless you have pre-existing conditions, like a water filtration system or a brilliant HVAC tech or plumber in place, there isn’t much going for these units.
Most of the positive reviews have come from Plumbers or HVAC experts themselves, leading us to believe that the only people who would be capable of successfully owning one of these is someone in that field who has the specific training necessary for installing and maintaining a Navien NCB 240.
Additionally, the warranty seems to expire right around the time the unit needs most of its repairs and replacement parts. This is an unfortunate reality with many purchases, but seeing as this is something that is essential to your home, as it provides heat and hot water, it should be much more reliable than it is reported to be.
Also, the warranty seems to become null and void over very small issues, such as a professional service person removing the unit from the wall, and the policy seems to prevent service work from being done in a reasonable amount of time.
Navien seems to have had a wonderful idea with its NCB 240. Unfortunately, implementation seems to have failed.
Although Navien is a company that cares deeply about maintaining a healthy environment and keeping emissions and costs low, we cannot recommend this unit to anyone who isn’t already an HVAC technician or a plumber and/or has a household with filtered water.
It is a costly unit, and it seems to have low customer satisfaction ratings as well as high maintenance and repair costs that counteract any of the possible savings you could have on your bills.
Navien has, in fact, stopped producing these units for the time being. We can only surmise that they are going back to the drawing board to address the issues that have cropped up and hopefully address the customer service issues that many people have reported.
Navien is a well-known, trusted company; it is a shame that they have not been able to deliver on the promise of an eco-friendly, cost-efficient, space-saving water heater and boiler unit.