Noritz’s tankless water heaters are seeing increased interest among homeowners.
By Alan Dorich, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Media
Whether for washing hands or bathing, people like to have quick access to hot water. The common tank water heaters warm water all day, so that they are ready when the homeowner is. However, “That’s pretty inefficient,” Andrew Tran says. “I tell people that it’s like leaving your stove on all day.”
Tran serves as the marketing manager for the North American operations of Noritz, which offers a more efficient option. The company, based in Japan, sells tankless water heaters, which use heating plates to flash heat the water, giving users “endless hot water,” he says.
The technology, Tran explains, was originally developed in Japan in the 1950s to help users to save space. “They were forced to innovate, and just recently, tankless is starting to see an uptick,” he says.
This follows the increased interest in green projects, including net zero energy homes. “Tankless is in that category for green,” he says. “It’s more efficient because you heat the water as you need it.”
Noritz has sold its water heaters in the United States and Canada since 2002. Although the technology is still in its infancy in North America, “New builds are starting to have them in their homes,” Tran reports.
Retrofit projects also are using them, but tankless as a whole “makes up about 15 percent of the whole water heating category,” he admits. “We still have a lot of ground to make.”
But Noritz will adapt by spreading awareness of the products’ benefits. For example, the initial costs of a tankless water heater can be high, but energy companies often provide rebates when residents purchase them.
The water heaters also provide residents with savings. The tankless can reduce energy costs by 60 percent, when compared to a standard, 50-gallon tank, Tran says.
They also provide, unlike a typical heater, an endless stream of hot water and take up less space. “It’s a lot smaller than a storage tank,” he says. “It allows you to put more [things] in your garage.”
The tankless water heaters also benefit users’ health by providing them with cleaner water. “There’s a lot of mineral and rust buildup inside a storage tank,” he says.
Sometimes, users can hear the particles moving around inside a very old tank, he notes. But the tankless does not hold any water at all. “It’s based off of flow rate,” he says. “This is like on-demand, cleaner water.”
Rugged and Reliable
Noritz is not the No. 1 seller of tankless water heaters in its industry, but it has earned a reputation for high quality. “We’re like the Apple phone of our industry,” Tran says, noting that its heritage also provides an advantage. “Japanese technology is known to be more rugged and reliable.”
Although the company moves at a slower pace than its competitors, “It’s because our R&D team is so detail oriented,” he says, adding that products are repeatedly tested. “When we release something, we make sure it’s of good quality.”
Noritz also has adapted to the trend of smart homes with a Wi Fi adapter. “That allows you to adjust your tankless temperature or see if it needs to be [serviced],” he says.
Tran sees a strong future for Noritz as new homebuyers and those looking to renovate invest in its products. “They’re wanting the smarter and energy efficient appliance,” he says, noting that more laws may require them to go greener.
California, he notes, is requiring all homes to be outfitted with solar panels by 2020. “I see that trend going towards water heaters as well,” he says. “We’ll be a part of that.”