Shop

Search
Close this search box.

Switching to a Tankless Water Heater? Commercial Manufacturer Adresses Common Questions

Frequent Questions About Switching to Tankless Water Heaters

You must be aware of the rising popularity of commercial tankless water heaters. The tankless water heaters market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 8.5% till 2030 (source). Rapid innovation in tankless technology has turned tankless water heaters into shiny new products that promise incredible benefits for businesses that need large volumes of hot water. In this article, we will go over some of the most frequent questions that businesses have when they consider going tankless with the hopes of busting some myths and clarifying the ground reality of tankless water heating.

Being one of the few water heater manufacturers that focuses primarily on the commercial market and tankless technology, we at Intellihot know a thing or two about commercial tankless water heaters and their application in hotels, restaurants, multifamily properties, and more. Here are some of the things we have learned from our experience serving businesses with their hot water needs:

Does Switching to a Tankless Water Heater Result In a Very High Upfront Cost?

High upfront costs are often touted as one of the cons of tankless water heaters when compared to traditional water heaters. However, such information is reserved for residential applications. When it comes to commercial properties, the reality is starkly different as contractors, plumbers, and facility owners/managers need to compare the composite installation costs of a tankless and a tank-style water heater.

Switching To Tankless

Unlike a residential application, a tank-style water heater in a commercial property like a hotel/restaurant would likely be unable to function effectively without external components like mixing valves and swing tanks. Not to mention the additional piping, setup, transportation, and planning that these components need. One of our own customers – the 23-storey Rincon Center public complex in San Francisco, CA would have needed to arrange for a crane (costing $25,000) to transport a large boiler to its boiler room had they decided against Intellihot’s tankless system. You can learn more about this installation here. 

To summarize, commercial tankless water heaters can incur lower installation costs due to their lack of reliance on bulky equipment and external components. Of course, the ability of a tankless water heater to function effectively without external components depends on the product chosen. Intellihot’s tankless water heaters, for instance, have functioned satisfactorily for years without external components – something our customers can attest to (the first-ever Intellihot water heater that we installed is still in operation today). Intellihot’s tankless water heaters reduce installation costs by almost 50%.

Does Switching to a Tankless Water Heater Actually Result in Lower Monthly Costs?

The tankless-versus-tank argument usually suggests that tankless water heaters make up for their higher upfront costs with their lower monthly expenses. Is this true for commercial properties too? Moreover, are the savings significant enough for tankless water heaters to claim superiority over their traditional counterparts?

Based on our experience serving commercial properties of various types, we can safely say that expecting significant monthly savings by switching to any tankless water heater can result in disappointment. Since every tankless water heating system is different, the level of savings can differ, with the installation setup and planning impacting the savings.

Switch to Tankless

However, Intellihot’s commercial tankless water heating system works systemically to reduce operational expenses, thanks to our patented, high-efficiency, descaling heat exchangers. Moreover, our guaranteed sizing tool provides different options with varying levels of expected monthly savings and redundancy.

Here is a cost-savings analysis for a 100-room hotel in Utah which clearly shows the monthly savings in operational expenses upon switching to an Intellihot tankless water heater:

Metric Current Tank-Style System Intellihot Tankless System
Total Gas Input
3,778,488 BTUs
2,670,132 BTUs
Total Heat Output
1,889,244 BTUs
2,509,924 BTUs
Standby Losses
472,311 BTUs
Purging Losses
581,887 BTUs
2670 BTUs
Efficiency Loss
460,976
237,642
$ Conversion Efficiency
50%
94%
Cost (Per Day)
$41.56
$29.37
Annual Savings Compared to Tank-Style:
-
$4,450.05

Will Switching to a Tankless Water Heater Result in Frequent Maintenance Like Flushing?

Flushing a tankless water heater is not a difficult or significantly time-consuming task. However, from our experience, we know that it can still be an inconvenience for facility managers. Moreover, businesses like restaurants aren’t even able to afford an hour of water heating downtime needed for flushing. So, will switching to a tankless water heater result in frequent maintenance?

Here too, we cannot provide a one-size-fits-all answer. Some tank-style water heaters are robust enough to operate without significant maintenance for a long time. Some tankless water heaters do need regular maintenance which can be inconvenient. Flushing or descaling is an annual maintenance activity that most tankless water heater owners need to undertake annually.

However, a well-engineered commercial tankless water heater is indeed beneficial when it comes to reducing maintenance headaches. Storage tanks do leak. Large boilers are more challenging to repair. Intellihot’s tankless units do not need to be flushed regularly due to our patented heat exchanger’s descaling ability. Moreover, Intellihot’s units are designed with the least number of spare parts that need to be replaced, offering customers a system that does not need frequent maintenance.

How Much Room Will I Save By Switching to a Tankless Water Heating System?

Space savings is another advertised benefit of tankless water heaters. This benefit does not need much justification: with the absence of a large storage tank, tankless water heaters will save commercial properties a lot of space. The amount of space that you can save depends on the tankless water heater that you select, as well as the size of your old tank-style water heater.

When it comes to Intellihot’s water heaters, we have witnessed our commercial customers save anywhere between 40 to 80% of space in their boiler rooms by going tankless. For example, the iconic Loew’s Miami Beach Hotel replaced three boilers and 1200 gallons of storage tanks with just three Intellihot tankless units, saving incredible amounts of space (See pictures).

Loews-Miami-Before
Loews Miami Beach Hotel's original tank-style water heater
Loews-Miami-After-scaled
Loews Miami Beach Hotel's Intellihot Setup

Is Switching to a Tankless Water Heater Difficult? Does Sizing a Tankless Water Heater Require a Lot of Planning?

Installing any kind of water heating system in a large property (think 100-plus room hotels, stadiums, and large residential properties) requires careful planning. Since tank-style systems have been the norm, most properties simply rely on upgrading their existing setup. For instance, most properties will simply purchase an identical 500-gallon boiler rather than re-sizing their property. While this is straightforward, it results in losing the opportunity to design a more efficient system.

Most tankless water heaters present a complicated sizing and installation challenge to commercial properties. Determining the required heating output for a tankless water heater follows a methodology which is different than tank-style systems. Moreover, tankless systems have different installation methodologies. This can make the actual installation process time-consuming. 

In order to remedy the sizing challenges, Intellihot offers in-house sizing with our guaranteed sizing calculator. Commercial properties simply need to enter some basic details about their property. Our calculator will rely on historical data and advanced modelling to present multiple options that are guaranteed to meet the property’s hot water demand. If the demand is not met, Intellihot will pay for any additional equipment charges. 

Smaller commercial properties like restaurants do not even need to go through the hassle of finding their existing hot water fixtures to size their properties. They can simply input their existing tank-style water heater in our drop-in replacement finder. Instantly, the calculator will recommend an Intellihot Neuron unit that is guaranteed to replace your existing tank-style water heater.

Intellihot’s Neuron series of drop-in tankless water heaters were specifically designed to replace tank-style systems quickly with similarly located connections and piping. By designing a commercial tankless water heater this way, Intellihot helps mitigate the challenge associated with the time-consuming and complicated installation procedure of a commercial tankless water heater.

Does Switching to a Commercial Tankless Water Heater Result in Very High Upfront Costs?

Unlike a residential application, a tank-style water heater in a commercial property like a hotel/restaurant would likely be unable to function effectively without external components like mixing valves and swing tanks. Commercial tankless water heaters can incur lower installation costs due to their lack of reliance on bulky equipment and external components. 

Does Switching to a Tankless Water Heater Actually Result in Lower Monthly Costs?

In general, yes. However, since every tankless water heating system is different, the level of savings can differ, with the installation setup and planning impacting the savings. 

Will Switching to a Tankless Water Heater Result in Frequent Maintenance Like Flushing?

Flushing or descaling is an annual maintenance activity that most tankless water heater owners need to undertake annually. However, a well-engineered commercial tankless water heater is indeed beneficial when it comes to reducing maintenance headaches. Storage tanks do leak. Large boilers are more challenging to repair. Intellihot’s tankless units do not need to be flushed regularly due to our patented heat exchanger’s descaling ability. 

How Much Room Will I Save By Switching to a Tankless Water Heating System?

With the absence of a large storage tank, tankless water heaters will save commercial properties a lot of space. The amount of space that you can save depends on the tankless water heater that you select, as well as the size of your old tank-style water heater. Intellihot water heaters have saved commercial properties between 40-80% of their space. 

Is it Difficult to Size and Install a Tankless Water Heater?

Sizing a tankless water heater follows a different methodology than tank-style water heaters. Installation also relies on a different process. Hence, installation can prove to be challenging. Intellihot has a guaranteed tankless sizing tool and a series of tankless units with similar piping to mitigate such challenges.