Noritz takes up the battle against Zombies

Noritz helps save an Orlando, FL community from the perils of zombies… zombie houses, to be exact, with tankless water heaters

Zombie houses (nothing to do with the undead) are the unfortunate result of the flood of foreclosures that occurred when the housing bubble burst in 2008. In some cases, houses were abandoned by homeowners and ignored by banks, leaving homes to decay as homeowners around the property helplessly endured the growing blight on their neighborhoods.

Enter Keith Ori, CEO of Parhelion Homes and cast member of FYI and A&E Network’s “Zombie House Flipping.” Kicking off its second season, the crew finds and purchases these abandoned homes, renovates them, and then flips them — selling the renovated homes for a profit and restoring the neighborhood’s sanctity at the same time.

The crew of Zombie House Flipping steps in at Copeland Avenue

Such was the case with a property Ori helped locate on Copeland Drive in Orlando, Florida. Originally built in 1930, the 3,000 square foot home had been vacant for five years, and was badly in need of repair. With four bedrooms and three full bathrooms, plus kitchen, laundry, and other living space, the house was one of the few in Orlando that also had a basement. Located near the city’s historic center, the house was also already plumbed for gas.

So when the crew began to think about improvements, a gas tankless water heater, which could easily be installed in the home’s basement, topped the list.  The model Ori chose was a Noritz Residential NRC98-DV-NG vented for indoor use.


Noritz fits with the vision of the house

Ori and the rest of the Zombie House Flipping crew always renovate with an eye toward energy-efficient solutions, so the Noritz NRC98 hit the mark, especially when compared to electric storage water heaters.

“The whole idea that with a regular tank-style water heater, 24 hours a day you’re keeping 40 to 50 gallons of water hot at all times…if you ask yourself how much sense that makes, it almost sounds preposterous,” says Ori. “We’re using an enormous amount of electricity all across the country to keep water hot 24 hours a day when we only use it in very small intervals. Gas non-storage water heaters are sort of a common sense solution that I think a lot of people in the United States are coming around to.”

Aside from the energy savings made possible by a tankless unit that only fires on demand, Ori noticed major installation benefits.

“Literally the biggest surprise we had during the installation was how easy it was. We’ve used units by other manufacturers, and the venting wasn’t quite this simple and intuitive to use.”

Noritz tankless adds value

The real estate listing for the house at Copeland Avenue included specific mention of the tankless water heater, and Ori says that’s far from accidental. “It unquestionably adds value to the property. When people buy a house, they’re looking at the value of the house and the equity. But the second thing that people look at is what it’s going to cost them to own it. Lowering the operating costs is a big deal. It’s a definite selling feature.”

Ori says the family who purchased the house at Copeland Avenue were savvy buyers who understood the basics of no-tank water heaters even before they moved in. Now, the unit provides constant and unlimited hot water for all of their needs.

The future of water heaters

Ori’s experience with this Noritz unit has inspired him to go tankless as often as possible. “We’re going to do this type of unit in every house where it’s practical to do it. It’s a big selling feature,” says Ori.

As for this house in particular, Ori couldn’t be more pleased with the overall outcome. “This is a spectacular house. We won the 2017 City of Orlando historic preservation award for the work we did here.”

The house’s renovation fit with Ori’s philosophy on how to bring a historic house into the modern era. “When I do historic houses, what I try to do is infuse modern convenience while keeping the original architecture,” he says. “The Noritz is just one of those modern aspects,” continues Ori. “You’re living in a house that has these great bones, but you know inside your head that when you turn the hot water on, you’re never going to run out. That is definitely not historic – that’s future stuff right there.”

To view the episodes of Zombie House, please visit