Originally Posted by Subsailor
Hank- great looking install and something I am thinking about doing. On a scale of 1-10, how difficult of an install was it? I am assuming you also had to get a new door for the outside (and subsequent painting) and route the new wiring to the control panel, right?
The Gen III unit fits perfectly in the place of the Gen I or II. The new door can be gotten in white with white silicon ring or black with a black silicon ring.
The gas line connection on existing heaters is located inside and must be disconnected from the outside, Always use two wrenches; on the tubing fitting and one on the heater's fitting. When the heater is pulled out, the gas line is exits through a hole in the heater. The Gen III has the gas connection on the rear which will require creating a 90 degree bend close to the end of the gas fitting. Although the 3/8 copper gas line is soft copper, a tubing bender must be used; otherwise the tubing might be kinked.
Once the gas line is detached, remove the hot and cold water line connections from within the access panel and cut the electrical lines (careful not to short them and put safety wire nuts on to protect).
With gas water and electrical disconnected the existing heater can be pulled out. My Berk had a Girard WUD (Winter Use Device); which is a solenoid operated valve tee'd to the hot line, which the heater would open the valve (by the orange wire) if the water was near freezing and sent the water to the grey tank. I never knew that was there and Girard does not use it anymore.
Once the heater was removed, I used a pvc tubing cutter to cut the hot and cold line as close as possible to first encountered fitting. For the WUD device, cut it from the return flow line to the grey tank and cap the line. My cold supply line was also tee'd to a manual drain valve which I never knew existed. I removed that valve and did not reinstall.
Once the rats nest of plumbing is removed by cutting away, there should be left hanging in the compartment, the hot, cold and possibly the WUD return line if your unit had it. There are three ways to connect the hot and cold line to the new heater; they are: 1) Use PEX clamps, The PEX clamp and removal tools are expensive. I was fortunate to borrow. Note, salvage the heater connection fittings.2) Complete the tubing runs using Shark Bite fittings. No special tools required here, but fittings are very expensive. 3) Use one Shark Bite fitting on each line to covert to flexible lines, like used on sinks.
The control pad is connected via two light gauge wires where polarity does not matter. Because where the heater is located, if the control was to be mounted far away, I would have to deal with slides. I got lazy and mounted the control on the trim next to the clothes washer compartment.
As for the door, the plastic slide button needs to be removed prior to painting. There is a small spring within the button which need to be pulled out first before removing the button. Be careful here and document its orientation when removing, so that it can be properly reinstalled. I had the door painted by an auto body shop that does graphics, for $150. They found the Berk paint codes useless and was more comfortable with mixing and matching by themselves.
Girard has two tech support guys located at Goshen (Mitch & Scott 866-559-1221) that can help when in a bind.