The stakes are always high for commercial businesses’ decisions and especially those related to equipment investments. Every penny adds up and, in some industries like restaurants, margins are notoriously unforgiving. Equipment downtime is costly, whether or not it is planned, and hot water is very often a non-negotiable element of either the customer experience (i.e., hotels, multifamily homes, college dorms, office buildings, etc.) or production process (i.e., restaurants, manufacturing and more).
When it comes to water heaters, some business owners and building operators might see these factors as reasons to stick to the traditional, tank-type water heaters that have done the trick for decades. But if these considerations are assessed objectively, they all actually play into the three greatest strengths of a tankless water heating system.
Uptime: Eliminate the emergency
Eliminating downtime is the number one benefit of commercial tankless setups, despite it being a common source of concern for business owners that are unfamiliar with the technology. Tankless systems are scaled-up by adding additional units to meet the demand of commercial operations. These extra units provide an important layer of redundancy for many businesses, especially those in industries like hospitality, healthcare and assisted living that rely on hot water for the health and comfort of their guests, patients and residents alike.
Multiple units can be installed to increase the volume of a system, but each is still able to function independently if needed. This allows other units in the system to meet demand in the event of scheduled or even unexpected service, maintaining the facility’s ability to deliver hot water to their customers.
The redundancy of commercial tankless systems also provides an opportunity to mitigate wear, which can prolong the life of each individual unit.
Space savings and scalability
Flexibility and the ability to adapt can be critical to profitability and the survival of small businesses. Tankless systems offer the unique ability to scale up without a drastic change in physical footprint, which allows businesses to focus on investing in equipment for current business needs — rather than potentially inaccurate forecasting.
Space is also an incredibly valuable commodity. Traditional tank-type units heat and store water so it is ready for later use, which also requires the space to do so. Finding this extra real estate for tank-type water heaters can be costly for many businesses. Tankless units are much smaller than boilers or large storage tank units and, with the ability to install units outdoors, installers can not only save space, but eliminate the need for venting altogether. Not having to waste an entire room or even a whole floor to accommodate consistent, back-to-back water needs, like those of a 24-hour fitness center with constant shower demands, can be an enormous advantage.
Resources are also available to help contractors and engineers organize tankless installations so they are easy to install and minimally invasive. These systems offer single-point connections for water, gas, condensate and electrical making installation easier than ever. Systems are available for indoor or outdoor installation, with back-to-back or inline configurations, and wall hung or floor mounted design for ultimate flexibility.
Condensing tankless water heating units provide significant efficiency benefits compared to traditional atmospheric tank-type counterparts, as tankless units only operate on-demand and do not use energy to maintain a reserve of hot water. This method also enables a greater degree of flexibility for business owners and facility operators that see sharp fluctuations in use. Stadiums, gyms and restaurants can achieve noticeable cost savings just by eliminating the energy used to heat water that will never leave when the business is closed, or the facility unoccupied.
These efficiency benefits help to significantly minimize the overhead costs of commercial operations, while providing arguably an even more impactful environmental benefit. Businesses across the country, Rheem included, are placing more emphasis than ever on sustainability and minimizing their impact on our environment. Tankless solutions are one of the best ways that companies and end users can mitigate energy consumption without compromising reliability.
The technology in today’s tankless units has evolved to boast higher efficiencies and smarter system controls, some of which are even manifold ready and come equipped with built-in condensate neutralizers. These key advantages and technology improvements are accelerating the adoption of tankless systems across the commercial landscape, so now is the time for your business or clients to consider the shift if they have not done so already.