Noritz Combi Unit At Work
Stanwood, Wash., resident Brian Fleming had a serious heating problem in his two-story home. The 10-year-old, split-level structure had lacked effective space heating since day one.
“The builders had not designed my forced-air heating system to handle two floors, so the downstairs portion was always cold,” explains Fleming, who used his furnace system for less than 25 cycles annually, instead relying on a gas-powered fireplace to heat his upper floor. He was therefore forced to sometimes run two to three space heaters on the lower floor for several hours just to maintain comfort levels. “I was spending a significant amount on my electricity bill to heat this space,” he recalls.
Water heating, though less of a problem, was still noticeably difficult whenever he and his family needed to run multiple fixtures simultaneously. “We had a 40-gallon tank water heater, so whenever somebody tried to shower while the laundry was running, the warm water would run out very quickly,” he says.
A Two-in-One Solution
Fortunately, Fleming, who works for Reid Pacific Company and serves as manufacturer’s representative for Noritz America, had the opportunity to beta-test the new combination boiler/tankless water heater (Combi) from Noritz, allowing him to kill two birds with one stone. The Noritz Combi CB, which meets “Energy Star Most Efficient” standards, is a year-round, whole-home solution that utilizes high-efficiency condensing technology to deliver hot water to both domestic hot water and hydronic space-heating applications. It made the forced-air furnace system and tank water heater completely unnecessary.
Whidbey Island Plumbing (Oak Harbor, Wash.) undertook the installation, situating the 90-lb. wall-hung Combi CB unit in Fleming’s garage. Radiant tubing was stapled up underneath in a serpentine fashion between stud bays. Venting the unit was accomplished through the garage wall, using concentric PVC pipe that handled both intake and exhaust.
Chasing Out the Cold
Since the installation, Fleming has observed a marked improvement in energy savings and indoor comfort. “You can actually feel the heat on everything in the room, from the table to the couch,” he notes.He has also seen a total cost reduction of around $60 on his monthly gas and electricity bills. “Not having to run those space heaters all the time saves a lot of energy,” he explains, also noting that the first floor-slab remains warm long after the Combi system cycles off after meeting the setpoint temperature. On the water heating side, Fleming and his family can now take showers and do the dishes for as long as they like, because the condensing tankless technology provides as much hot water as needed for as long as needed with an efficiency of 95 percent. “Once that tankless unit fires up, it provides endless hot water and a consistently enjoyable heating experience,” he affirms.
The combination boiler proved to be a highly workable heating solution for Fleming, who no longer needs to deal with cold spots in his room space or shower. “I see no reason to ever go back to forced air or tank water heaters,” he states.