Question about Rheem RTG-74PVN-2 Natural Gas Pronto Whole House, Natural Gas, Tankless Wat

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Error code 13 (air flow) tankless H20 Rheem

Rheem rtg-74pvn-2 tankless water heater--I keep getting getting Error code 13 (air flow). Sometimes the hot water stays on for a few days sometimes for 3 minutes. The water/well pressure is good and there is a water filter and softner on the system. The gas company says gas pressure is correct, gas line is correct size etc. The unit is about 9 months old, well vented outside (thru roof), and located in a hugh attic. I am going to check the wiring to the O2 sensor (how ?). Thanks Ann

Posted by baaustin on

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  • baaustin Feb 07, 2010

    Rheem rtg-74pvn

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my problem with the Rheem Tankless Water Heater ( rtg-74pvn) . I spent large amounts of time with on the phone (30-45 min wait each time). The plumber also spent well over 2 hours on hold with Rheem (well known hinies I am told). After replacing multiple parts it was concluded that the whole unit needed replacing. I looked up the original install date and the darn thing only worked 5 months. As I have 2 of these tankless units (2 different brands) I can now say with confidence that tankless water heaters are just NOT WORTH the trouble. I may save 70$ a year in gas, but the maintenance and repair costs are now over 2 thousand dollars. I must have been crazy to repair, replace, or even buy a house with these units!

    Flushing the toilets twice, problematic tankless water heaters, a Staber brand less energy, water, & detergent top loading hand made in the USA washing machine that needs constant repair, florescent light bulbs that do not even come close to lasting the 5 years that they are supposed to last……I am trying to do the right thing…I give up….I can’t afford to be green anymore!

    I feel better now that I have given up hope.

  • baaustin Feb 07, 2010

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my problem with the Rheem Tankless Water Heater (Rheem rtg-74pvn) . I spent large amounts of time with on the phone (30-45 min wait each time). The plumber also spent well over 2 hours on hold with Rheem (well known hinies I am told). After replacing multiple parts (with different error codes) it was concluded that the whole unit needed replacing. I looked up the original install date and the darn thing only worked 5 months. As I have 2 of these tankless units (2 different brands) I can now say with confidence that tankless water heaters are just NOT WORTH the trouble. I may save 70$ a year in gas, but the maintenance and repair costs are now over 2 thousand dollars. I must have been crazy to repair, replace, or even buy a house with these units!
    Flushing the toilets twice, problematic tankless water heaters, a Staber brand less energy, water, & detergent top loading hand made in the USA washing machine that needs constant repair, florescent light bulbs that do not even come close to lasting the 5 years that they are supposed to last??I am trying to do the right thing?I give up?.I can?t afford to be green anymore!
    I feel better now that I have given up hope.

  • baaustin Oct 18, 2010

    ERROR CODE 13 AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!!

    Hi, I am baaustin, I first wrote about my problem over 8 months ago. FYI, its broke again! This time I called Rheem and I was told that they would send someone out, but I would have to PAY if it turns out that its my fault the unit is broken. WHAT! How am I to know what is broken and whose fault it is. I have a new unit that is only 8 months old and Rheem dosn't want to stand by their product! I have now gone through 2 of these units, they are pieces of DUNG.
    They are trying to scare me into going into the attic and fixing it myself. Rheem is a terrible company.

    PS When you call with a problem they always try to blame it on the size/length of your vent stack. So beware.

  • baaustin Oct 18, 2010

    Erro code 13 again.........Rheem sent out a new unit, after 8 months same problem. As before Rheem is being a hiney. Now they want to charge me for a service call. DO NOT BUY RHEEM!!!!!!!! 2 Rheem RTG-74PVN-2 units in two years-JUNK JUNK JUNK..........

  • baaustin Aug 08, 2015

    I had such horrible problems back in 2010 (see start above) that Rheem replaced the tankless water heater and the stack free of charge. That being said they were BIG BEHINDS about the whole thing. I will NEVER buy any Rheem products again. Beware of customer service also! Ann

  • Jim Jan 31, 2019

    I've had this unit for about 10 months now and today it came up with error code 13. I put a filter screen on the intake and it worked fine until now. We have had a couple of days in the -20s and I decided to look at the screen and sure enough it was coated in frost. I cleaned it off with a broom and so far it seems to have corrected the problem. I can see that if you don't have a screen, debris could get sucked in there and cause a similar problem.

  • Randy Hermann
    Randy Hermann May 10, 2019

    Thanks for all of the advice above. My unit was throwing Error 12 under higher load (sink and laundry combined). I cleaned the manifold but not the burners and reassembled. The unit then started throwing error 13 after about 30 seconds under any load. Cleaned the intake screen- it was filthy, and still had the code. Double checked the system and realized I had not reconnected the power to the small transformer attached to the gas system, located just to the right of the top right corner of the circuit board. Reconnected the power and everything works perfectly. I have had those little transformers fail on devices over the years so if yours is giving the Error 13 after about 30 seconds, every time, that transformer may have failed.

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9 Answers

Anonymous

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Have 2 of these Rheem units in my house. Both had this same error code within 30 days of each other. And my neighbor has 2 units as well - and guess what - 2 months after mine stopped working because of the code - so did theirs. It is not something that can be fixed. It is a manufacturer's defect - and it looks like Rheem has yet another class action on their hands (like the one for the RTG - 74 PVN). They need to do a recall to repace these units.

Posted on May 08, 2010

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I have the RTG-53DVN, it too is an overly sensitive peice of ****. It worked for about 2 years, then started throwing errors. Had a plumber come out to look at it. He spent a lot of time on the phone on hold with Rheem, then they finally just overnighted a new circuit board. Well, that worked for about 3 weeks and now I have a brand new error code. What a peice of dung. Save yourself the frustration and do not buy a rheem.

Posted on Oct 17, 2010

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Steven Kulhan

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I have a 66 dvn.it would throw the code 13 after 2 to 3 minutes. I cleaned the burner to no avail. I kept the cover off to observe the burner through the small window. I noticed 2 things. The flame started as a nice blue flame but would then turn red before shutting down. That indicated a true lack of oxygen. However the unit was being feed plenty of fresh oxygen. This is most definitely an internal issue. Also I smelt natural gas from the unit. A possible leak? I choose to check the air flow from the fan through the hose to the regulator unit. Blew all lines out with air. Then opened the cover to the air and gas cambers. Here I noticed 3 o rings for the air and 2 gas cambers. These o rings totally compressed. I went to home depot and found number 12 o rings for faucets. They were thicker than the originals. Put the cover with the cork gasket back on. Be very careful that the new o rings do not fall off. Reassembled everything and started the hit water. No more code 13! The cheapest part in the unit was the weakest link. For 2 dollars I got 10 new o rings. I just want to add how useless rheem was. I called but the only recommendation was to get an expensive plumber. The o rings are not even shown in the parts and exploded drawings.

Posted on Dec 28, 2014

  • JayDee Wilkins
    JayDee Wilkins Dec 12, 2016

    O2 sensor may need to be cleaned

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Error code 13 is actually Oxygen Depletion Sensor problem, or so the tech told me when I called. The unit needs some disassembly and cleaning (or replacing) the oxygen sensor.

They emailed me the procedure to disassemble and clean the unit. You should probably call the tech support to get this procedure if you are comfortable doing this work or get a tech to come out and do it for you.

Posted on Feb 05, 2010

  • Anonymous Oct 01, 2010

    I'm in the same situation as Susan17. About two years after getting my unit I started getting the error 13 failures. First I cleaned the burner assembly according to instructions. Then they sent a new PCB. Next they sent a new burner assembly. Still no joy. Finally, they have sent a new RTG-95DVN along with all of the new venting materials. I will be installing it this weekend. I am actually pretty impressed that they have replaced it without any yelling or screaming.

  • baaustin Oct 18, 2010

    Good luck, my 2nd new replacement unit went out after about 8 months. Can you please email me with the information on new venting materials? Nothing was mentioned about this when I called. thanks

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I have a similar problem with the Rheem units. 1.5 years after installation the unit failed to heat water. After calling Rheem and them sending out a replacement circiut board and controller chip, the problem was not fixed. The original plumber (sent out by Rheem) left after concluding it was a venting issue (that was not an issue for 1.5 years) we called another plumber recomended by Rheem support. That plumber spent 5 hours working on the problem, on and off the phone with Rheem support and concluded that the venting was not the problem and that there was nothing he could do outside of replacing the whole thing. Moral of the story, don't purchase a Rheem water heater. They don't stand behind their product and we are now looking for an alternative source of hot water. Thank god it is near 100 degrees and a cold shower feels good.

Posted on Sep 03, 2010

Jan Buch

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I took out the flame sensors on my 64dvn and sanded them to remove oxidation and that was the cure.Called rheem to request new flame sensors under warranty and was told that now that it's working all they could do is sell them to me.Thanks for nothing rheem.

Posted on Apr 27, 2018

John Stuart

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Having the same problem code 13...Rheem verified my plumber/installer of 95dvn hooked up the venting wrong. Rheem tech explaining that exhaust and intake must vent together according to the manual. In other words if your exhaust is vented outside diagonally and your intake vented horizontally maybe through roof - the sensor detects a variance and throws a code 13 ...The fix- My manual page 68 indicates a High-Altitude Dip Switch Adjustment - above altitude 3280 ft dip2 the 3rd switch turn on. above 6560 ft the 4th switch is on. My altitude is only about 800 ft so in normal operation all my dip switches should be off, however mine is working perfect on dip 4th switch to on. Aparently the adjustment compensated for plumbers install error. Alternatively should i get another code 13, amazon sells a Rheem Concentric vent kit sp20245, 42.00 which will be my next fix...Hope this helps!!!

Posted on Aug 07, 2015

Testimonial: "Thank you but Rheem replaced my unit and the vent stack at no charge back in 2010. That being said they were BIG BEHINDS about it and I would never buy a Rheem product again. Most people would have given up but the people in customer service kept me on hold for hours (no kidding) and even lied to me at times, it pis_ed me off. Bob123123 helped me a lot when he mentioned the class action lawsuit also. I was so mad, I just refused give up until they did something."

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I have the RTG95DVN. We have had it just over 2 years. Last August, we had it serviced/ cleaned out. We then started getting the error code 13. Our Plumbing Company who installed the unit has been here 3x, and it still shuts down. Now every few minutes. They do not know what is going on. I have laid the ultimatum down; fix it, replace it, or take it out of here, and put a regular tank back in. Very frustrating because it ran great the first years and a half.

Posted on Feb 27, 2015

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Same problem with my unit. After two years of problems, a new burner unit, a new computer board and countless repairs my loyal HVAC guy fought for me until I got a new unit. Now I have to fight for my installation charge. This new unit is a redesigned unit, RTG-95DVN. I guess they had too many problems with the 74PVN.

Posted on Sep 09, 2010

  • Anonymous Oct 01, 2010

    I am in the same situation as Susan17. After two years I started getting the error 13 failure. First I cleaned the burner assembly and flame rods according to instructions. Then they replaced the PCB. Next they replaced the whole burner assembly. Still no joy. Now they have sent a whole new RTG-95DVN unit along with the required venting materials. No fighting or yelling, the tech just said 'We'll replace your unit." I'll be installing it this weekend.

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