What Alternatives Exist for Traditional Storage Tank Water Heaters?

Water heater manufacturers discuss alternatives to storage tank water heaters.

By Jeff Wardon, Jr. Assistant Editor

Energy efficiency is at the front of any facility manager's mind, especially those in healthcare facilities. Healthcare facilities tend to use vast amounts of energy, and water heaters are a part of that consumption. In this manufacturer roundtable, Healthcare Facilities Today speaks with water heater manufacturers about what alternatives are available for traditional storage tank water heaters. 

Are solar water heaters and tankless water heaters effective alternatives to traditional storage tank water heaters? 

“That is a difficult question to answer broadly. They might be, but that is not a given. You must analyze the overall application and understand the customer's needs to accurately determine the best water heating solution in any residential or commercial scenario.” 

— Dustin Bowerman, senior director of field services, Bradford White Corporation   

“Yes. Commercial tankless water heaters have grown dramatically in availability, capacity, and functionality over the past decade. The era of tankless water heaters is already here, with strong viable options available for all sizing needs. 

The advantages of tankless systems over traditional boilers are numerous, with the most significant one being efficiency. Heating water on demand saves up to 40 percent on energy costs, while also reducing carbon emissions by a similar amount. Additionally, tankless units save substantial space when compared to tank-style systems. Moreover, tankless units also reduce the risk of Legionella, as no water is stored in stratified tanks. 

Tankless drop-in replacement units are engineered for easy replacement of tanked systems, with water and gas connections similarly located on the unit, reducing installation time.” 

— Amy Turner, director of marketing, Intellihot   

“Tankless water heaters are excellent alternatives to traditional storage tank water heaters. First, they heat water as needed for as long as it is required, so properly sized installations will provide unlimited hot water. For commercial applications, multiple tankless water heaters can be installed either as wall hung racks or a free-standing rack, which provides redundancy, so if one of the units happens to have an error the other units can continue to provide hot water without interruption. Lastly, tankless water heaters last nearly twice as long as traditional storage tanks so they are a much better long-term investment.” 

— David Frederico, senior director of marketing, Rinnai 

Jeff Wardon, Jr. is the assistant editor for the facilities market. 

July 28, 2023

Topic Area: HVAC , Sustainable Operations

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