Fixing Richmond Tankless Heater Code 12 Error: A Step-by-Step Guide

Encountering a Code 12 on your Richmond tankless water heater can be puzzling. It’s a signal that your unit is experiencing a flame failure, a common issue that can disrupt your hot water supply. You’re not alone in this; many homeowners face similar challenges with their tankless systems.

Understanding the causes behind Code 12 is crucial to getting your water heater back to its efficient self. In this article, you’ll discover the common triggers for this error and step-by-step guidance to resolve it. So, let’s dive into the world of tankless water heater troubleshooting and get your system running smoothly again.

What Is Code 12 on a Richmond Tankless Water Heater?

Code 12 on your Richmond tankless water heater signals a flame failure. This error message indicates the water heater is attempting to ignite but can’t sustain a flame. If you’ve encountered this error code, it’s integral to address it swiftly to ensure your water heater resumes normal function.

Several factors can trigger Code 12 errors:

  • Insufficient gas supply obstructs the heater’s ability to produce a suitable flame.
  • Malfunctioning igniters or flame rods prevent the system from igniting or detecting the flame.
  • Airflow restrictions or exhaust blockages may cause the system to shut down as a safety precaution.
  • Faulty printed circuit boards can lead to improper operation and miscommunication within the system.

Recognizing and Rectifying the Issue

To rectify a Code 12 error, start by checking the gas supply. Ensure your gas valves are fully open and your home has an adequate gas supply. You’ll also want to inspect the venting and air intake passages for any obstructions that could be causing airflow issues. Regular maintenance including cleaning the igniter and flame rod can often resolve these errors without the need for professional intervention.

When troubleshooting, examine the electrical connections for any signs of damage or looseness that could impact functionality. If the problem persists, consulting the user’s manual or contacting a certified technician is recommended, as tampering with the internal wiring or components without expertise can be hazardous.

Common Causes of Code 12 on Richmond Tankless Water Heaters

Understanding the common causes of a Code 12 error on your Richmond tankless water heater is essential for prompt and effective troubleshooting. Here’s what you need to know to diagnose and address the issue yourself.

Inadequate Gas Supply

Your unit requires a consistent and sufficient gas flow to operate correctly. Disruptions to this supply could lead to a flame failure.

  • Ensure the gas valve is fully open.
  • Check for bends or kinks in the gas line.
  • Verify the size of your gas line meets the heater’s specifications.

Faulty Ignition Components

The igniter and flame rod play a pivotal role in the functioning of your heater. If they’re not in good working condition, a Code 12 could be the result.

  • Inspect the igniter for wear or damage.
  • Clean the flame rod to remove any carbon build-up.
  • Confirm the wiring connections to these components are secure.

Ventilation Issues

Proper venting is crucial for the removal of exhaust gases. Any blockages or restrictions can cause an error code to appear.

  • Check for blockages in the venting pipes.
  • Look for signs of inappropriate installation.
  • Ensure there’s adequate clearance around the venting outlets.

Electrical Malfunctions

The printed circuit board (PCB) is the brain of your water heater. Issues here can lead to various error codes, including Code 12.

  • Visually inspect the PCB for any obvious signs of damage.
  • Check for loose or disconnected wires.
  • Reboot the system to reset electronic components.

Seeking professional assistance if you’re not comfortable handling these components yourself is always advisable. Trained technicians have the expertise to diagnose and repair issues that are beyond typical homeowner maintenance tasks.

How to Troubleshoot Code 12 on a Richmond Tankless Water Heater

Facing a Code 12 error on your Richmond tankless water heater can be a nuisance, but with a systematic approach, you’ll tackle this challenge promptly. Let’s look into a structured method to efficiently diagnose and address the issue at hand.

Check the Gas Supply
Firstly, ensure that your gas supply is not the culprit. A common reason for flame failure is insufficient gas flow.

  • Inspect the gas valve to confirm it’s fully open.
  • Review your gas line size; it must meet the requirements specified for your model.

Inspect Ignition Components
Faulty ignition components are often to blame for a Code 12 error.

  • Carefully clean the igniter and flame rod from any debris.
  • Check the electrical connections leading to the igniter for any loose or damaged wires.

Ventilation and Airflow
An obstructed vent system can lead to flame failure as well.

  • Verify that the venting and air intake passages are clear of obstructions.
  • Look out for any signs of condensation or blockages that might interrupt airflow.

Electrical System Check
Electrical faults can also trigger this error.

  • Examine the power supply for consistency.
  • Identify any error codes on the printed circuit board which might signal a deeper electrical issue.

Remember, if you’re unsure about any of these steps or if the problem persists after checking these components, it’s best to consult a certified technician. Regular maintenance and adherence to the manufacturer’s guidelines help in preventing similar issues in the future.

Step-by-Step Guide to Resolving Code 12 on a Richmond Tankless Water Heater

If your Richmond tankless water heater is displaying a Code 12 error, you’re likely experiencing an issue with the flame or gas supply. By following this straightforward guide, you’ll be able to identify and possibly rectify the problem.

First, let’s ensure your gas valve is fully open. A partially closed valve can’t provide enough fuel for the burner, leading to an incomplete combustion process and the display of Code 12. Next, check your propane tank; it might need refilling if you’re on a liquid propane system.

Take a look at the igniter. A faulty igniter won’t properly initiate the flame. If it’s covered in dirt or soot, a gentle cleaning may be all that’s needed. Conversely, if you find any visible damage, it’ll require replacement.

Additionally, inspect the flame rod. Its job is crucial – to confirm to the system that a flame is present. Dirt can interfere with its function, so a good clean here can also go a long way. If corroded or damaged, you’ll need a new flame rod.

Finally, air supply and venting must be unobstructed for efficient operation. Ensure all intakes and exhaust paths are clear from debris or blockages. Remember, improper ventilation can lead to unsafe operation and contribute to the Code 12 error.

Gas Pressure Adjustment

For gas pressure issues:

  • Check your manual for the correct pressure settings.
  • Use a manometer to verify that the gas pressure matches the necessary value.

If the pressure is off, you’ll have to adjust it to meet the manufacturer’s specification. However, crucially, this task is best left to a certified technician, especially if you’re unfamiliar with gas appliances.

Remember, safety comes first when handling your Richmond tankless water heater. If you’re not confident in performing these tasks or the problem persists, don’t hesitate to contact a professional for assistance. Regular maintenance checks by a certified technician are the best way to keep your unit running smoothly and efficiently.

Tips to Prevent Future Occurrences of Code 12 on Your Richmond Tankless Water Heater

Experiencing a Code 12 error on your Richmond tankless water heater can be frustrating. However, there are proactive steps you can take to minimise the chances of this error cropping up again.

Schedule Regular Maintenance Checks: Regular servicing by certified technicians ensures that any budding issues are nipped in the bud. Technicians can spot early signs of component wear or impending failures.

Keep the Area Around the Water Heater Clear: Proper ventilation is crucial for the efficient operation of your water heater. Make sure that nothing obstructs the airflow around the unit.

  • Remove any debris or leaves
  • Ensure flammable materials are stored well away from the heater.

Monitor Gas Line Pressure: Gas pressure irregularities can trigger Code 12 errors. Consider installing a gas pressure monitor that alerts you to any deviations from the ideal range.

Clean Igniter and Flame Rod: Dirt and grime can accumulate on the igniter and flame rod, disrupting proper function. Cleaning these components during each maintenance session will keep them in good working condition.

  • Turn off the water heater
  • Carefully clean or replace parts, as necessary.

Inspect Venting System: An obstructed venting system can lead to inadequate exhaust of combustion gases.

  • Regularly inspect the venting system for blockages
  • Check for proper installation to prevent future issues.

By following these tips, you’ll significantly reduce the likelihood of encountering a Code 12 error on your Richmond tankless water heater. Regular attention to these details will help ensure your unit operates efficiently and reliably over the long term.


Tackling a Code 12 error on your Richmond tankless water heater can be straightforward when you know what to look for. Remember, keeping your heater’s components clean and ensuring proper ventilation are key to avoiding this issue. While you can handle some troubleshooting yourself, don’t hesitate to call in a professional for gas pressure adjustments or if you’re unsure about any step. Regular maintenance is your best defence against future problems. Stay vigilant with these preventative measures and you’ll enjoy uninterrupted hot water from your efficient and dependable tankless system.