The Busted Tankless Gas Water Heater | My Lennar Home

The Busted Tankless Gas Water Heater

The tankless water heater has been damaged since day one. Why? It was improperly installed at the time of construction. At one point, it literally appeared to be falling from the wall. WCI Communities (now Lennar) did nothing more than replace the screws. They said the wrong types were installed with the tankless water heater. This is in addition to the exhaust piping being improperly installed on the roof.

As you will see, this has been an exhausting issue to fight. It’s obvious it wasn’t done correctly. After years of fighting it, Lennar agreed to make the repairs. I have not heard from the specific people assigned to these issues since our last conference call in May 2017.

This is a comparison of their repair before and after in the summer of 2015.

westshore-yacht-club-gas-water-heater-falling-lennar-homes-amanda-buffinton-joel-fedora

The tankless, gas water heater before a Lennar repair and after a Lennar repair.

tankless gas water heater repair complete bob harrower joel fedora amanda buffinton lennar construction problems

WCI (now Lennar) completed work order for the tankless gas water heater seen above in July 2015. Harrower and Jamie Moore are both indicated on the completed work order.

repair showing tankless water heater not secure to the wall bob harrower joel fedora amanda buffinton

Vendor repair slip indicating that the tankless gas water heater was not installed properly by Lennar and needed to be secured to the wall.

second proposal showing needed repair tankless gas water heater joel fedora bob harrower amanda buffinton

Another proposal for installing the tankless water heater correctly, including rerouting the exhaust pipe that is dangerously close to the gas dryer vent on the roof.

second proposal showing needed repair tankless gas water heater joel fedora bob harrower amanda buffinton

The exhaust pipe is stressed and separating due to an improper installation and subsequent repair by WCI Communities – now Lennar Homes.

On more than one occasion I have worried about it just falling down and exploding. Some items to see:

  • You see a separation between piping. According to the WCI home inspections – this is normal, and there is no fault with the install. They have since changed their response (Lennar homes) to indicate that the water heater does need to be reinstalled.
  • The water heater exhaust pipe leading to the roof is poorly connected and has an additional angle. According to various professionals who inspected this issue, it causes pressure on the lower portions of the pipe which causes the separation.
  • Although you cannot see this from inside, the exhaust gas pipe on the roof is incorrectly installed – including being dangerously close to the clothes dryer exhaust vent on the roof.

Here is a short, 35-second video showing the entire tankless gas water heater. This is more than 4.5 years since I closed on a new construction Lennar home and more than two years after the builder attempted a repair.

Lennar has still not made the repair.

Here is the history on this issue that’s gone on for 4.5 years.

Here’s the summary from all of construction issues I keep in a spreadsheet.

*Note: For simplicity, the Lennar and WCI Communities names here are used interchangeably as Lennar took over WCI in February of 2017.

Quick Lennar Construction Issues Timeline

2013-2014 – First issues were reported to WCI. The initial responses were from Joel Fedora who is now a Vice President of Construction with Lennar.

Late-2014 – Towards the end of the year, I retained Amanda Buffinton (at the time a shareholder at Bush Ross) to start working the legal side of the issues, because nothing was getting resolved. The first Lennar in-house legal response happens around this time.

July 2015 – The case expands and WCI moves the case from in-house to outside legal. The outside legal responses are from this time.

September 2015 – Amanda Buffington files a 558 complaint against WCI/Lennar to start the process of filing a construction lawsuit.

October 2015 – Lennar’s outside legal sends a response to the 558 complaint. Their response was completely untrue. It’s the same attorney who provided the first outside legal response in July 2015.

Tankless gas water heater issue description

The integrity of the water heater exhaust vent at the top of the roof is compromised as it has been pushed up a good six inches and needs to be corrected.

Original response to the tankless gas water heater issue from Joel Fedora

WCI will have a plumber look at this issue and address if necessary.

Lennar in-house legal response gas water heater issue

WCI will schedule Del-Air to inspect and repair if not installed properly.

Amanda Buffinton legal response to Lennar about tankless gas water heater issue

Accepted.

Buffinton response to Lennar outside legal (prior to filing the 558)

Resolved. Mr. Fannin reserves his rights.

Final WCI outside legal response to 558 complaint

WCI offered to resolve this item but the Homeowner canceled the repair.

Note: This is not true at all. See: WCI (Now Lennar Homes) Lied in Their Legal Response. Why?

Lennar executive’s response on 5/22/2017

Turn exhaust pipe to avoid conflict with vent and exhaust pipes. Add blocking to tankless water heater and correct all piping to tankless water heater.

Here is the slide for the water heater issue presented at the initial Lennar meeting at my home to discuss the ongoing construction issues. Mark Metheny, Steve Smith and Jim Yeadon were present.

tankless gas water heater installation lennar presentation mark metheny steve smith jim yeadon

The original slide giving an overview of the gas water heater issue.


Here are the separate responses for the piping separation you see in the tankless water heater pictures.

Tankless water heater pipe separation issue description

The apparent stress on the water heater exhaust vent, from having been pushed up six inches, has caused what appears to be a separation/split from the vent coming out of the top of the water heater inside the laundry room closet and needs to be repaired.

Original response to the tankless gas water heater pipe separation from Joel Fedora

WCI will have a plumber look at this issue and address if necessary.

Lennar in-house legal response gas water heater pipe separation issue

Del-Air to re-route the dryer vent and turn the goose neck 180 degrees. Roofer to repair roof system where vent was relocated.

Amanda Buffinton legal response to Lennar about tankless gas water heater pipe separation issue

Unacceptable response. Moving the dryer vent will not correct this issue. WCI has already agreed to inspect and repair the same issue (see Item No. 23). Additionally, WCI has not properly responded to the separation/split issue identified here.

Buffinton response to Lennar outside legal (prior to filing the 558)

Same response as above; however, WCI did not address the “separation / split” issue. WCI needs to respond to this separate issue.

Final WCI outside legal response to 558 complaint

WCI offered to resolve this item but the Homeowner canceled the repair.

Note: This is not true at all. See: WCI (Now Lennar Homes) Lied in Their Legal Response. Why?

Lennar executive’s response on 5/22/2017

Turn exhaust pipe to avoid conflict with vent and exhaust pipes. Add blocking to tankless water heater and correct all piping to tankless water heater.


Here are the responses to the mounting issue of the tankless gas water heater.

Tankless water heater mounting issue description

Mounting Integrity of Water Heater – Mr. Fannin has previously reported issues regarding his tankless water heater. He has noticed that there are screws pulling away from the drywall, which hold the water heater in place. He is very concerned about the integrity of how the water heater is mounted and demands that WCI review this issue to ensure his safety.

Original response to the tankless gas water heater mounting issue from Joel Fedora

None – this was recorded after the Lennar construction problems were assigned to the builder’s inside legal counsel.

Lennar in-house legal response water heater mounting issue

Per 6-30-15 letter from WCI counsel, the water heater was correctly mounted and passed inspection. Even though the home is no longer under warranty, WCI will inspect and adjust the mounting if necessary.

Amanda Buffinton legal response to Lennar about water heater mounting issue

Mr. Fannin will allow WCI to inspect and adjust the mounting if necessary. Mr. Fannin reserves his rights.

Buffinton response to Lennar outside legal (prior to filing the 558)

Same response as above.

Final WCI outside legal response to 558 complaint

WCI offered to resolve this item but the Homeowner canceled the repair.

Note: This is not true at all. See: WCI (Now Lennar Homes) Lied in Their Legal Response. Why?

Lennar executive’s response on 5/22/2017

Add blocking to tankless water heater and correct all piping to tankless water heater.