Q&A with James Facer, Builder Sales Manager for Noritz
Is tankless water heater technology really all that marketable to homebuyers?
People are talking about tankless water heaters, and builders are fielding requests about this hot water heater. They can readily see its marketability. A Colorado townhome builder we know routinely conducts after-close surveys to learn what features really motivated the buyer to buy. In our experience, tankless water heater makes about 30 percent of these lists, which is higher than many other products, including some amenities that might surprise you. Overall, it probably ranks among the top five features in these hot water heater reviews.
Are the energy savings tankless provides really enough for most new-home buyers?
It often depends on the price point of the home as well as the time horizon the builder is using with his buyer.
The tank-versus-tankless price difference can be a challenge if the home is valued at $150,000 or less. Typically, builders of this type of unit will specify a very basic, 40-gallon hot water heater. A utility rebate might help justify the extra cost, but the tankless unit will still represent a sizable percentage of the overall cost of the home.
The newer, smaller Noritz tankless water heater models are also helping to close the cost gap between tank and tankless water heater prices. There’s movement in the other direction as well, as the price of commercial water heater tank units continues to climb as manufacturers work to meet rising energy standards.
But it’s important to talk more than comparative costs. Buyers are increasingly mindful of utility costs over the long haul. Tankless water heaters have a significantly longer life expectancy than conventional tank water heaters: 15 to 20 years versus eight to 10 for a tank unit. For owner’s intent upon remaining in their homes, those extra years represent a major value, as they will get a return on their investments during that time.
And let’s not forget: Providing a product engineered to last two decades can’t help but reinforce the builder’s own reputation for quality construction as well.
Is tankless a true green product?
Any product is measured on economics, social acceptance and — the new kid on the block — the environmental component. A tankless water heater meets all of these values. Builders and their buyers like the idea of continuous, instant hot water, as well as the energy and space savings. Over time, a tankless water heater has become more economically viable with lower up-front costs for smaller models, while the cost of a tank water heater is rising.
But while builders and buyers are better versed in the comfort, convenience, and economic values of tankless water heater technology, they don’t always look at the manufacturing process. A tankless water heater is a cradle-to-cradle product, environmentally sustainable from its packaging to its components. These products deliver lower emissions, reduced electrical consumption, a longer life cycle, and smaller amounts of potentially hazardous construction materials. It has also been proven to be easier to recycle those materials and components once the product is removed from service.
At Noritz, we have even affixed specific alpha codes to various plastic components inside the heaters to help identify their material makeup when it is time to recycle the unit. These products are manufactured by a plant that is committed to sustainability, with PV panels generating the electricity used in the production process. Noritz simply offers one the best manufactured tankless water heaters in the industry.