Misc: Navien NPE-240A Navilink App missing scheduling function

NPE-240A
Summary:
Just had a new tankless water heater installed in my house to replace a failing 22 year-old 50 gallon tank.  Couldn't be happier w/ my new tankless, but was dealing with weirdness on the Navilink app to control/view my new Navien.  The app's scheduling function (for the recirculation pump) was missing.

Solution:
NR-20DU
  • Disconnect NR-20DU remote controller. (if you want to schedule via App)
    • *DIP Switches need to be set properly as well.

In my case, w/ a bridge valve in my furthest faucet, is considered "External Recirculation".
Check w/ your plumber for proper settings, they set mine properly.
If you are in the Atlanta area, I highly recommend Plumbing Express LLC.
Ask for Jonathan DeWeese.

For reference only, these were set correctly by my plumber for my setup.
  • DIP Switch 1 Off, 2 On.  (Internal Recirculation would be the opposite)
  • Parameter 18 set to On (This is to enable Navilink)
These settings are detailed out in the installation guide.

DO NOT just look at youtube for suggestions, there are some videos out there that are just plain WRONG.

Details:
My understanding is that "External Recirculation" refers to the use of a bridge valve, typically installed in the furthest point from the water heater.  Basically utilizing my cold water pipes as a poor man's hot water loop.  "Internal Recirculation" is when a dedicated hot water loop is actually installed.  That will be way more expensive to retrofit a house that does not have a dedicated hot water loop, so external recirculation is usually more common.

With regards to the Navilink schedule function, my plumber was just as confused as I was since this was one of the primary reasons I wanted the Navilink function.  Long story short, installing the NR-20DU remote controller unit disables the apps remote scheduling capabilities.  Simply disconnecting it enables the scheduling function in the Navilink app.

When thinking about it, it actually makes sense.  You wouldn't want 2 devices dictating possibly conflicting schedules.  Although documentation wise, it's almost as if you're led to believe that the remote controller is required for Navilink schedule function.  So what is the difference between the two?

Quite simply, Navilink allows a more complex schedule.  The NR-20DU controller only allows 3 schedules.

Next is to figure out how to have app enable the 'hot button'.  Cursory glance appears to me that I need the hot button kit, but that appears to disable the scheduling function.  This leads me to believe that the unit might be dumb in its status info to its controllers.  Meaning if a 'schedule' is active, pressing/activating the hot button will turn that off.  Seems like a split brain issue that Navien works around by simply disabling competing functions.
NaviLink App & Wi-Fi Control

[UPDATE: This post is pretty active w/ comments, so thank you.  I'd like to help summarize findings from fellow Navien owners in the comments.
  1. Default recirculation schedule is every 30 minutes if a 9F degree drop is sensed.
  2. Recirculation is basically just keeping the hot water in the plumbing hot so you get hot water faster.
  3. Adding a "Hot button" overrides schedulers (navilink or NR-20DU).
  4. Disabling schedules simply disables "recirculation", the function that keeps hot water hot in the plumbing for 'instant hot water'.
    1. Hot water is still on-demand when in a 'off-schedule' mode, but may take longer for hot water to dispense because the plumbing is cold.
Schedule ENABLED

Schedule DISABLED
]

Comments

Unknown said…
The app is not the most intuitive. It gives me the option to 'control' and create a weekly schedule. It does not specify what 'control' means. I assume it is for what re-circulation, but not sure. I also don't have a 'hot water' button in the app. I am not sure why not. Looking at the various videos before buying the Navilink router, they make it seem like the app would include a 'hot button' feature.
Do I need to buy anything else to get that 'hot button' in the app?
Zsoldier said…
You are right. The control is recirculation only. Hot button documentation is super vague too. Hard to really know if you need button or not. Also alludes to the fact that recirculation control gets disabled too.
Dave said…
I have been battling this unit for 2 years. I love everything about the hardware. The Problem is the damn Navilink and the support they have from Korea. 2 yeas of this is insane. I have even had to swap out control and front panel boards to get the function to work, but they broke that with an app update. Since the app updated and removed the option to enable or disable the recirc and enable or disable the schedule, mine has not worked and defaults to every 30 mins recirc. Support has been useless for the most part and just points to Korea Dev team. I call about every 6 months to get any updates on the issue they know nothing about every time. What I am finding now is if you call at 8am Eastern time you get New Jersey. They are top tier support and know the most. They had me un-register and re-register to get it working. I am still seeing wonkey things happening but the schedule seems to work now. I am going on 1 day so far and its working. Hopefully after 2 years this crap is over with and I can not heat my basement up to 90 in the summer.
Zsoldier said…
I agree. The Navilink app is "meh" at best and their documentation of the "smart" features is nonsensical. I actually only use the app to view status and utilization these days. I have even turned off the scheduling function cause it's wasteful if I'm not around and forget to turn it off. On-demand takes a bit longer to heat up, but oh well. Smarter that way, just not instant.
Unknown said…
Dave, if you could enlighten me (other users) on what you had to do to get scheduling to work that would be great. I hate the app as it is just not user friendly. If you throw the toggle switch to enable scheduling I don't know if it is 'on' or 'off'. I would like it to recirculate in the mornings when we take showers and then not for the rest of the day. But would like to have the 'instant button' in the app that I could push in the evening, where it would recirculate the water for me on demand, and then five min later I can take a hot shower. Right now I have it on recirculate all day long, which gives me instant hot water, but wastes a lot of energy. Thanks for any insight you can provide.
dradam said…
Same Issue -- Solved ! I think?

I have had the same problem for 2 years. Despite setting up a schedule with navilink my NPE has been recirculating at will and costing me $$$ gas.

Based on Daves post and "unknown" above I unregistered and re-registered the Navilink.... but also had an epiphiny... The enable/ disable buttons are wrong !!! They should read "Enabled/Disabled" When it says enable the schedule works. I think it is a Korean translation issue.

A caveat : I could not reregister using my Iphone x with IOS 13. I had to use my wifes IOS 12 Ipad. Once registered I was able to login and use my phone to control the unit again. Navien tech support is aware of this issue and I assume Navien will fix this in the next app update.

Like the unknown poster above I hope they will create an app based hot button ( and widgit) for the occasional recirulation. (the actual hot button kit which I tried turns off the scheduling ability).

So Navien:
Please fix IOS 13 compatibility
Clarify the enable/disable schedule button if I am correct
Please add a hot button to the app and better yet a a widgit.

If it fails me again I will repost.
Unknown said…
Follow up:

As in my recent post the Navilink and schedule have finally been working corectly. I have been doing a little tweaking of parameters 12,14 and 15 to try to keep the warmest and most consistent water in my pipes during a scheduled recirculation. In addition to the suggestions I made in my last post It would be nice if Navien had a recommended algorithm for adjusting these parameters.
Unknown said…
Addendum

As I stated in my last post the enable and disable buttons are wrong. If you hit enable it shuts off scheduled recirculation and the machine reverts to default recirculation. As a consequence If you want to recirculate off schedule jut turn off (Enable) the schedule in the app and then in a few minutes turn it back on ( disable) your schedule a work around to a hot button.
Eric The Red said…
So I just got off with a "Senior" support specialist at Navien Customer support. They stated that the "Default" re-circulation schedule is every 30 minutes if it senses a 9 degree drop. Once you connect a hot button or a Navilink to the water heater, this overrides the default every 30 minutes schedule...period. It is assumed that when you connect a hot button that you only want it to recirculate when you hit the button, and it is assumed that when you connect a Navilink that you will set up a schedule and have it recirculate within those hours specified. If the hot button is not engaged, or a schedule is not specified and enabled in the app then the water heater simply will not re-circulate. So disabling and enabling the schedule does not work as a workaround to the hot button feature not showing up except for the fact that when enabled it will find that the reservoir temp is lower than it should be and begin to heat it, which then in turn will allow it to start to recirculate again (not time saving or water saving at all).
Eric The Red said…
What I have found to keep it easy for understanding the schedule enable/disable on the app...is to add the letter "d" at the end of the word being displayed. Enable=Enabled, and Disable=Disabled.
Unknown said…
If the hot button is not engaged, or a schedule is not specified and enabled in the app then the water heater simply will not re-circulate. Quote

Have you tried creating a schedule but then disabling the schedule? With a specified schedule if I then disable the schedule my unit will run 24/7 recirc/heat.

Is your hot button circuit board still installed? Mine is not. It can be easily removed.

5. So having found this out, it would seem that the only way to engage a "hot button workaround" would be to enable the schedule...have it figure out/sense the reservoir tank is cold and begin heating the reservoir tank and therefore initiating a re-circulation. There is not a workaround if you have the schedule enabled; disabling it does not initiate a re-circulation.[/QUOTE]

With Navilink installed and communicating (no hot button board installed) and my scheduled program "disabled" my unit recirculates and heats 24/7 as though it were a regular heater as you have shown above 30 min /9 degrees . When my programmed schedule is enabled(working) and I want to take a shower "off" schedule disabling the programmed schedule will initiate unit recirculation and heat if the temp has dropped- hence the workaround. This does indeeed work for me. You must then hit enable again to go back to your schedule or the 30 min 9 degree recirculation will apply 24/7. If this is not your experience perhaps the firmware has changed since my install about 3 years ago. Or perhaps if your hot button circuit board is installed it may have an effect. Be sure your Parameters and dip switches are set correctly.

To test this ----while the schedule is enabled (and no hot button installed), but you are off schedule go to the unit and then hit disable on the app. If yours works like mine you will see the symbol for recirculation start within moments.

Obviously the best option would be for Navien to create an app based Hot Button (no additional circuit board) which can be used in conjunction with the scheduler. Despite multiple posts and e-mails they have not done it. That said adding a "D" to the words enable and disabled should be an easy software fix. I ditched and removed the hot button circuit board early on because it did not allow the app to set a schedule. It was one or the other as you have noted. I never tested the "workaround" with the hot button board installed.

I set my schedule for 7AM when I wake up to 10PM when Everyone would no longer take showers. From what I was told this means it will not run/recirculate overnight from 10:01PM to 6:59AM because of this schedule Quote.

What you say here is correct-- I hope you know that you can set multiple schedules in one day- such as showers from 7-10 am and 7-pm to 10pm. The unit will not heat or recirculate between schedules(unless you disable the schedule)

Best wishes.
jamesf said…
I am looking at options for my recirculation too.
When you say:
"I hope you know that you can set multiple schedules in one day- such as showers from 7-10 am and 7-pm to 10pm. The unit will not heat or recirculate between schedules(unless you disable the schedule)"
Is it true that you cant schedule only recirculation? That the schedule turns on and off heat too?
So if I only want recirculation from 7AM - 10AM. Then the rest of the time I would not even get hot water?

Thanks
Unknown said…
When in a schedule the unit will circulate and heat according to the parameter settings.

When the schedule is enabled, but you are not in a recirculation when you call for hot water the unit will turn on, fire and give you hot water because it senses flow. It may just take longer for the hot water to get to your fixture because it was not recirculating at that time.

The unit will always respond to calls for hot water and provide it when there is flow.

The recirculation schedule just gets that hot water to youe farthest fixture faster in times you are most likely need it.

Example- outside a schedule it takes about 70 seconds for my water to get hot at my farthest fixture. During a scheduled recirculation it takes about 4 seconds. While it does use energy to keep water in the lines hot during circulation- it save a lot of cold water from going down the drain.

Hope tis helps

icv said…
Got it. Thank you for the clarification!
Zsoldier said…
Just want to say thanks for everyone that has commented thus far. I've learned some things myself. I've also updated the blog post w/ summarized information from everyone's comments.
icv said…
Thanks for the summary and the reply to my question as well as the others. One last dumb question. With the -A uinits (with the recirculation pump) does that pump have to run to supply on demand hot water? My pump seems to run every time I need hot water. It may not run the entire time but it does run.

For example: If I turn on my hot water faucet, I can hear the pump start and run. I get hot water right away since recirculation mode is on. If I turn the faucet off and wait until the pump stops, then turn hot water on again, the pump runs again. Is that necessary and normal? Can't how water flow through the heat exchanger under pressure without the pump assisting?
Unknown said…
Thats an interesting question and I am not sure of the answer. Are you sure it is the pump running and not the blower for the heat exchanger? that fan will come on when water is called for and go off a bit after the call has stopped.

You may be correct though-- when you call for water it comes from the outside source and maybe the temp difference triggers the recirculation? That would make sense to me if you are calling for water during a scheduled recirculation interval. Have you tried it outside of a scheduled recirculatian?

I would be interested if anyone has a definitive answer. I have not noticed this on my unit, it is far from the location of my fixtures.
Zsoldier said…
While the line might still be hot, it won’t stay that way with cold water being pumped in. So when you request hot water, it’s going to start the pumps to make sure that water stays heated as it passes through. I’m fairly certain this is the case.
icv said…
Thanks for the replies.

Wouldn't cold water, under pressure, move through the heat exchanger and get heated without the need for the pump? What if I had recirculation off or a non recirculation unit? In those cases the water would do just that, right? I may test that by turning dip switch 2 off.
It seems unnecessary to use that electricity. And also my pump makes an odd noise like a groan at the end of each recirculation cycle. It's a bit of a bother to hear it. Does anyone else's do that? wondering if that is normal.
Unknown said…
Interesting reading these comments. Recently updated to an NPE-240A. I thought we could re-use the remote controller (NR-10DU) from our old NPE-180A but it does not work with this. So I purchased a NR-20DU remote controller to gain the programmable recirculation feature. Called Navien to find out what/if the dip switch settings should be when using the controller and they will not give them to me as the homeowner. Apparently this information is only for a licensed contractor.....sigh. Can anyone lend some guidance as to what the recommended dip switch setting should be? It is not in the manual.

Thanks in advance
dradam said…
Your question is two parts:

1) To have recirculation you must either have a dedicated return line, or a return line through your cold water system using a grundfos valve or the newer Navien "navicirc valve" connecting the hot to cold water lines. To do this you must have a water flow valve inside the unit set to "ext"for external circulation and and in "patrameter" settings option 2 must be set to thermal bypass valve "on".

As of naviens technical bulletin updated march 2018 dip switches are 1-off(down) 2Up(on) and everything else off (down)

2)Nr-20 Du--- I do not have this controller. I have the wireless navilink. To enable navilink control parameter 18 must be set to "on". I dont know if your controller works the same way.

To access the parameters menu you must shut off the unit then hit up (+) three times down three (-) times and up (+) four times again. then use the up/down buttons to enter parameter mode-- not Tec.

Hope this helps
Unknown said…
Thanks for the reply.

I do have a dedicated return line and the valve is set to "ext". I was previously using the unit without any remote controller and in the "intelligent preheating" setting but found it to be recirculating in the middle of the night. I appears it is not that intelligent....

It's just a bit frustrating that I need to have a plumber ($$) come set the dip switches as opposed to Navien providing the information directly. Going to search a bit more and see what I can find. Maybe I need to invest in the Navilink system.

Thanks.
Zsoldier said…
I'll have to look at the manual again, but the one I have does detail dip switch settings.

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