Reply To: Tankless Water Heaters – What tank manufacturer's don't want

The Tank Tankless Water Heaters – What tank manufacturer's don't want Reply To: Tankless Water Heaters – What tank manufacturer's don't want

#5813
TMS
Participant

Larry, thank you for the kind words and for the information on GFX. I spent some time reading from their website. I just forwarded the link to our head of engineering to ask him about it as well. I really like to know what is available in the market. It helps me position our products where it makes sense. I will give you a brief background on the company to begin addressing some of your points.

We have been in business since 1928 and are one of the world’s largest gas appliance manufacturers. We are a vertically integrated manufacturer so we have complete control of the components used to make our products. We make hundreds of products ranging from dishwashers to shower misters and plasma dryers. We are ISO 9001 and 14001 which is the environmental standard equivalent of 9001. Our company is extremely quality minded which is evident to anyone touring our manufacturing facilities.

We originally came to the US with our zone and whole home heating products. We began selling a limited offering of our tankless product about 7 years ago. We recently introduced a direct vent gas fireplace that is approaching .80 EF because it utilizes a modulating gas valve. You can have a fire with little heat because of it which is a major plus in many of the warmer climate zones.

I have only been with the company for a little more than one year. I came from a plumbing background; working for two of the biggest faucet manufacturers. When recruited for my position I was aware of tankless water heating but my knowledge was limited to what I had researched when wanting to put one in my home about 4 years ago. While going through the interview process, I did quite a bit of homework on the company. I liked what I learned and they evidently liked me and here I am today.

Our company has a significant brick and mortar investment in the United States and has no intentions of disappearing. We have a US Headquarters but we also have Regional Offices being opened in major markets. I am the manager for the California office which will be two years old in April of 2007… We recently opened a location in Florida and Texas is in the process of being set up now. There are another 3 locations in line after Texas. These are not tiny little satellite facilities. I have a training room that can accommodate as many as 80 people, local parts inventory, multiple conference rooms, a showroom and significant office space. We have technical support and application engineering in the office and we make ourselves available to guide contractors who are new to the product.

I am in total agreement about the poor information floating around and I can tell you we work very hard to provide facts to anyone interested in our product. We have a sizing program on our technical website that allows the user to enter ground water temperature, and various other variables (gas line, custom showers pertinent to determining which product is best as well as how many units are needed. There are tabs specific to what type of application you are looking at; apartments, hotel, tank replacement, etc…

There is also a comparison tool that lets you look at the differences between our product and various other tankless models on the market as well as a GE 40 Gallon tank water heater. This site is constantly updated with new and additional information. I did not want to mention any specific company names in case it is against the rules of this site but I would be happy to email it to you if you are interested.

We use sealed combustion and concentric venting so the combustion air is brought in from outside the home. This is a significant detail when comparing tankless technology. If a unit requires combustion air from the space in which it is located, the space needs to be large enough to provide enough fresh air or substantial vents need to be installed to allow more air into the space from outside. We have a temperature sensor on the outlet water side that controls the temperature within 2 degrees of what the temperature is set at on the control unit.

The control unit provides a history of error codes so a service person can diagnose the problem more efficiently. More than 90% of our problem calls involve improper installation. This is why we have a huge amount invested in training and education. We have been setting up Authorized Service Providers nationally to make warranty service calls. We are the only tankless company that offers one year of labor on warranty parts. We want people to have a good experience. It will only hurt us long term if we turn our backs on problems.

We are investing in getting good information to architects and mechanical engineers so that plumbing systems will be designed around the use of tankless instead of just slapping them in where the tank or boiler was supposed to go. Split systems in large homes with huge demand make a lot of sense so recirculation can be eliminated. Tankless water heaters can go outside of the home surface mount or recessed closest to where the water is most needed. Recirculation is horrible for copper pipes and unless done per our approved set-up, can reduce the warranty on the heat exchanger. This is true with all tankless manufacturers. We have an application drawing on our Hot Water Design Manual that shows the way to incorporate recirc without reducing the warranty. We are the only company that does offer that solution as well as the option of an “on demand” system.

I completely understand the “takeback” component and can only say that as with all things, there are upsides and downsides. If that same household had a 75 gallon tank with that teenager, chances are he would still take long showers but the parents would be the ones stuck with no hot water left. I guess good old fashioned rules need to be introduced back into homes. Perhaps a lot of other problems would be solved. My father would have given me the gas bill had I done that 🙂

I would love to invite you down to attend a class as my guest. I would also be happy to share some information on some installed projects that are extremely successful. Schools are becoming a strong market for us. I just got off the phone with a plumber in Los Angeles that has a private school with an old boiler and a 500 gallon storage tank. The replacement equipment cost is $50k for the boiler and based on our calculations we can provide enough water for their demand for less $10k installed. We are installing product at a large, new high school campus in San Diego next month if all goes as planned. It is the sister to another similar school that has been open for just over a year. They are being killed by their gas bill because they are heating large quantities of stored water when no one is even at the school. We will be metering the gas at both locations so they have concrete facts on the savings. Stay tuned…we will share the results.

Thank you for the great info. I look forward to talking to you again.

My best wishes for a Happy New Year,

Ms. Taylor Shaw

Water Heater Rescue

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