Fix Richmond Code 13: Tankless Water Heater Troubleshooting

Encountering a Code 13 on your Richmond tankless water heater can be a source of frustration. This error indicates that your heater’s experiencing an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS) failure, which is crucial for safe operation. Understanding what triggers this code and how to address it is essential for maintaining your hot water supply and safety.

In this article, you’ll discover the common causes behind Code 13 and step-by-step guidance to troubleshoot the issue. We’ll also provide tips to prevent future occurrences, ensuring your water heater runs smoothly. Keep reading to get your hot water flowing again without the hassle.

Common Causes of Code 13 on Richmond Tankless Water Heaters

Code 13 on your Richmond tankless water heater signifies a problem with the unit’s oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). This safety device monitors the oxygen level in the room to ensure proper combustion air is available. Here, you’ll find the primary reasons that may trigger this error and how to address them.

  • Inadequate Ventilation: Tankless water heaters require a constant flow of fresh air for combustion. Restricted air supply can cause the ODS to activate the error code.
  • Blocked Exhaust: Blockages in the unit’s venting system can lead to an improper balance of gases. Make sure there’s no obstruction in the flue pipe that could cause the error.
  • Sensor Malfunction: The ODS itself could be faulty. If it’s sending incorrect signals to the control board, the error code will appear.
  • Circuit Board Issues: Sometimes the problem lies not with the sensor but with the circuitry. A malfunctioning control board could incorrectly trigger a Code 13.
  • Dirt and Debris: Accumulation of dust and insects can interfere with the sensor’s operation. Regular maintenance is key to keeping the sensor clean.

You’ll need to investigate these potential causes to correctly diagnose and remedy the issue with your heater. Regular maintenance and ensuring proper installation can prevent these triggers, maintaining the efficiency of your tankless water heater.

Troubleshooting Code 13 on Your Richmond Tankless Water Heater

When you’re faced with a Code 13 error on your Richmond tankless water heater, there are several steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue. Immediate action is critical to ensure your water heater continues to function efficiently.

Check Ventilation

Inadequate Ventilation is a primary cause of the Code 13 error. Make sure:

  • Air intakes are completely unobstructed.
  • Nothing is blocking the exhaust.
  • The venting system is properly installed according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Inspect the Oxygen Depletion Sensor

Another step is to examine the Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS):

  • Look for signs of dirt or debris that may be affecting its function.
  • Make certain there’s no evidence of sensor damage or disconnections.
  • Consider consulting a professional for sensor calibration or replacement.

Evaluate the Circuit Board

Electrical issues may also trigger Code 13. Pay attention to:

  • Circuit board connections, ensuring they are secure and undamaged.
  • Error codes or signs of malfunction that may point towards the need for a circuit board replacement.

Regular Maintenance Checks

Periodic maintenance can prevent issues from becoming serious. It’s recommended to:

  • Schedule regular inspections with qualified technicians.
  • Perform routine cleaning of air filters and venting systems.
  • Keep the area around your heater clean and free of clutter.

By systematically addressing these areas, you stand a solid chance of resolving the Code 13 error and restoring optimal operation to your Richmond tankless water heater. Remember, if the troubleshooting steps don’t resolve the issue, it’s prudent to consult with a certified technician who can provide a more in-depth diagnosis and expert repair service.

Step 1: Checking the Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS)

When your Richmond tankless water heater presents a Code 13 error, one vital component to examine is the Oxygen Depletion Sensor. This sensor plays a critical role in ensuring the safe operation of your unit by monitoring the levels of oxygen available for combustion.

Here’s how you can check the ODS effectively:

  • Power off your water heater before starting any inspections to ensure your safety.
  • Locate the ODS, typically found near the combustion chamber.
  • Visually inspect the sensor for any signs of dirt or soot build-up. Debris on the sensor could interfere with its function.
  • Gently clean the sensor using a soft brush or a cloth. Be careful to avoid damaging any components.

For a thorough check:

  • Ensure the wire connections to the ODS are secure. Loose connections can lead to false readings or failure to operate.
  • Test the sensor’s resistance with a multimeter, if available. The instruction manual usually indicates acceptable resistance levels.

Maintain Regular ODS Inspections:

  • Scheduling periodic checks of the ODS can help avoid future code 13 errors.
  • Replace the sensor if it shows signs of damage or if cleaning does not clear the error.

Remember that while this step is essential, it’s only a part of the overall troubleshooting process for the Code 13 error. If, after inspecting and cleaning the ODS, your water heater still displays the error, proceed to the next step in the troubleshooting guide.

Step 2: Cleaning the Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS)

When resolving the Code 13 error on your Richmond tankless water heater, the second step you’ll tackle is cleaning the Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS). This is an essential step because a dirty ODS can prevent your unit from functioning properly.

Before you begin, ensure that the power supply to the water heater is disconnected to avoid any electrical hazards. Locate the ODS – typically near the bottom of the unit where fresh air enters. Gently remove any dirt, dust, or soot that may have accumulated on the sensor, using a soft bristle brush or a can of compressed air. It’s vital that you do not use water or cleaning agents, as this can damage the sensor.

After cleaning the sensor, it’s important to check and secure all wire connections to the ODS. Loose wires could contribute to the error message and impede the proper operation of the water heater.

Now that the ODS is clean, you must test its resistance with a multimeter. A functioning ODS should show a resistance reading that aligns with the specifications stated in your Richmond heater’s manual. If the readings are off, it indicates that the ODS might be faulty and replacement may be necessary.

Remember, regular cleaning of your Oxygen Depletion Sensor as part of routine maintenance can greatly reduce the likelihood of error codes, including Code 13, and extend the lifespan of your tankless water heater.

Step 3: Replacing the Oxygen Depletion Sensor (ODS)

If cleaning the ODS hasn’t resolved the Code 13 error on your Richmond tankless water heater, the next step is to replace the oxygen depletion sensor. A faulty ODS can compromise the unit’s safety mechanisms, making replacement crucial for both performance and safety.

When to Replace the ODS:

  • The sensor’s resistance readings are irregular
  • The unit repeatedly displays the Code 13 error after cleaning
  • The sensor is visibly damaged or corroded

Purchasing the Right ODS:

Ensure you purchase the correct ODS for your model. Using the wrong sensor can lead to further issues or unsafe operation. Always opt for OEM parts to guarantee compatibility and reliability.

Replacement Process:

  • Power down the unit and turn off the gas supply
  • Disconnect the old sensor and remove it from its housing
  • Install the new ODS, making sure it’s securely in place
  • Reconnect any wires to the new sensor
  • Power up the unit and observe if the error persists

Testing After Replacement:

Once you’ve replaced the ODS, it’s imperative to test the water heater. Doing so will confirm the new sensor is functioning correctly and that the Code 13 error is resolved. Monitor the unit over the next few days to ensure the error does not recur, signifying a successful replacement.

Regularly checking the ODS as part of your maintenance routine can prevent unexpected failures. By staying on top of sensor health, you’ll enjoy uninterrupted service from your Richmond tankless water heater.

Tips for Preventing Code 13 on Your Richmond Tankless Water Heater

To bypass the inconvenience of error Code 13, there are several proactive measures you can take to maintain your Richmond tankless water heater’s performance.

Ensure Proper Ventilation: Your water heater requires adequate airflow to operate correctly. Check the vents regularly to remove any obstructions and verify that the venting system follows the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Regular Maintenance Checks: Scheduling periodic maintenance by a certified technician is vital.

  • Inspect the fan and air intake system for debris.
  • Confirm the Oxygen Depletion Sensor is functioning properly.
  • Verify that the gas pressure is within the recommended range.

Air Filter Cleaning: The air filter should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions. A clogged filter can lead to insufficient airflow, triggering Code 13.

  1. Turn off the heater.
  2. Remove the air filter.
  3. Wash or vacuum it thoroughly.
  4. Allow it to dry before reinstalling.

Circuit Board Inspections: Electrical issues can cause malfunctions. Check the circuit board for any signs of damage or wear. If you’re unfamiliar with electrical components, enlist a professional.

Gas Line Assessments: Ensure your gas lines are not leaking and have no restrictions. Regular checks will help preserve the integrity of the gas flow to your heater.


Tackling a Code 13 error on your Richmond tankless water heater needn’t be a headache. By following the troubleshooting steps provided you’re already on the right track to restoring your system’s functionality. Remember that prevention is key; regular maintenance and attention to the crucial components such as ventilation, the air filter, and gas lines will go a long way in averting future issues. Don’t wait for another error code to pop up—take action now to ensure your water heater runs smoothly for years to come. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll enjoy the comfort and efficiency of uninterrupted hot water.