Having hot water is important for everyone, especially for restaurants that must meet health and sanitation standards to stay in operation. Without adequate hot water, dishes cannot get washed, food cannot be served and the doors cannot stay open.
According to a 2018 report by the National Restaurant Association, increasingly, restaurants have begun placing a priority on conserving resources and operating more sustainably. From investing in efficient equipment, to using recyclable packaging, to reducing food waste and sourcing food locally, restaurants have taken sustainability to heart.
Food for thought
One way for restauranteurs to operate sustainably is by investing in a tankless water heater, and, indeed, many already are. The same report surveyed 500 restaurant owners and found that nearly a quarter have installed them in their establishments.
“Tankless water heaters are, and will continue to be, an increasingly attractive option for restauranteurs looking for reliability and a smaller footprint at their establishments,” says James Facer, national account manager for commercial products at Noritz, a tankless water heater manufacturer.
Facer offers the following reasons why the technology is gaining steam.
A key benefit for restaurant owners is the peace-of-mind that comes from redundancy that can prevent a shutdown of all operations due to a lack of hot water.
Typically, replacing one 199,000 Btu/h storage tank water heater requires two 199,000 Btu/h tankless water heaters. This means that, even if one of the latter units fails, the other one can still keep operations going at a minimum until repairs are completed.
Larger applications can bank multiple units in series, using racks and a multi-unit system controller. These setups offer maximum peace-of-mind because there is no single point of failure. Like a winning sports team, if one player is down, the others will pick up the slack.
Smaller space footprint
Many restaurants have extremely cramped kitchens and utility areas, and a tankless unit will gain a restaurant owner some needed breathing room for cooks and servers.
Not only are tankless water heaters small in footprint, they also can be wall-mounted, resulting in a zero footprint. The most important effect of this is the reduced risk of tripping or other accidents in the restaurant’s kitchen or utility area. The last thing an owner wants is to get slapped with a worker’s compensation claim because of an injury.
In commercial applications, two 199,000 Btu/h tankless water heaters can be an affordable alternative, plus they also avoid the 6% latent heat losses caused by storing unused water.
When installed in a series, tankless water heaters activate their load-tracking feature, which tracks hot water demand and modulates operation to use only the amount of gas necessary to get the job done. Load balancing ensures that operation is equalized across all units, so one doesn’t get undue wear and tear.
It’s no wonder so many restaurant owners are switching to this on-demand technology for improved sustainability. Facer expects this trend to continue.
Facer says an increase in raw materials costs caused by new U.S. tariffs also don’t affect tankless manufacturers in the same way as it does other product makers.
“Restaurant owners can build in redundancy and reclamation of space [with tankless] for a surprisingly similar price point,” he explains.