Case Studies

Iowa Plumber Promotes Tankless Water Heaters To Energy - And Cost - Conscious Consumers

Cook Plumbing recommends installing an eco-friendly, energy-saving tankless water heating solution to aid household budgets as well as the environment.

There’s no denying it: the world is going green, and in a hurry. Home service providers in virtually every sector – from manufacturers to builders to contractors to designers – are responding to consumers’ rapidly growing demand for products and services that conserve on resources and utility expenses. In an uncertain economy beset by rising energy prices, consumers want eco-friendly decisions to be cost-efficient.

Offering a reliably high performance and an energy-efficient design, gas-fired tankless water heaters provide exactly the kind of environmental and economic benefits homeowners are looking for. Smart plumbers are getting in on that action and promoting tankless technology on their service calls and in their shops and showrooms.

Immediate, positive impact: Cook Plumbing Corporation of West Des Moines, Iowa, has been an exclusive dealer for Rheem Water Heating only since autumn 2007, but the move is already paying off. Plumbing contractor John Buttz, who oversees Cook’s residential installations, says offering tankless water heaters has made a quick and positive impact on the business. 

“Within the last 12 months, we’ve installed 40 Rheem tankless units in homes,” Buttz says, adding that most of his customers opt in specifically for the cost-savings. He believes it’s becoming more important than ever for the plumbing industry to deliver solutions that reflect customers’ needs and values, and that includes saving both kinds of green — energy and money.

Show me the money: “It was the money savings,” confirms homeowner Kris Vorhees, a Cook customer who chose a tankless water heater when her new home was built this year.  “We thought it was a good idea, since we’re gone for three months over the winter,” says Vorhees, explaining she didn’t want a tank-type water heater that would heat water even when there was no demand for it. “So when we picked out our plumbing fixtures at Cook Plumbing, we also asked for a tankless heater.”

The majority of Cook Plumbing’s tankless installation work has been in new-home construction, but more recently retrofit installations – replacing existing tank-type heaters – account for about 20 percent of the business. Michael Riesberg, one of Cook’s retrofit customers, first heard about tankless technology from radio advertising.

“I did a fairly extensive search of all the brands I could find on the ‘net, along with looking at the local retailers,” he says. “I found that the Rheem unit would give me the needed gallons per minute, even in the coldest time of the year here in Iowa.”

Cost savings were the driving factor, Riesberg says. “Like most people, I had a budget.  John came to my home and did a great job of explaining the differences among several of the competing units and why his brand was the best water heater for the money.  The unit has delivered all the hot water my wife and kids and a dog could soak up — and without a hiccup.”

Cost-conscious: Buttz is proactive in educating both new and retrofit customers about tankless benefits, and he is careful to explain the need for proper sizing.  He also spells out the difference in upfront costs, noting that Cook Plumbing’s new tankless installations typically run between $1,400-$1,600, while retrofits range from $1,600 to $2,200.

“I try to see if there is a good place to put the new tankless to make it less expensive for the homeowner and easier for us with the piping,” he says of retrofit installations. “I warn the customer if we must boost the gas pressure, run longer gas or water lines, or run extra metal flue piping, because all of that adds to the cost.”

Buttz also uses his own positive experience with tankless technology to make a strong statement to his customers. “I tell them I have one at my own house and how well it works.”

Buttz converted from a tank water heater to a tankless unit for the same reasons as his customers: to minimize energy usage and operating costs. “We kept running out of hot water,” he says, noting that he initially added a 40-gallon tank water heater and tied in a recirculation unit, but found that it simply wasn’t cost-effective. So he installed a Rheem tankless unit with a flow rate of 7.4 gallons per minute (at a 45°F rise in water temperature from the cold-water inlet of the water heater to its hot-water outlet). Today, he couldn’t be happier.

“A little over a year ago, we hosted seven bikers who were participating in a race across the state. We have three tub-showers, and they used them all. We didn’t have any issues with hot water. That was a good test!”

Feel-good purchase: As a true believer in tankless technology, Buttz actively promotes the benefits to his customers. “They are willing to pay a little bit more up front if they feel they are doing something good for the environment,” he says.

Tankless offers plenty to feel good about. More energy efficient than conventional tank heaters, tankless water heaters provide a continuous supply of hot water, but only on demand. As a result, no energy is burned to continuously heat stored water during idle periods. 

“We’re really happy with Rheem tankless,” Buttz says, adding that Cook Plumbing has yet to receive a single callback or complaint.

NOTE: Publication-quality photograph of the image shown in this press release can be downloaded at the following location on the web: http://www.LNCmail.com/pr08/rh0884/cookplumbing.html

About Rheem Manufacturing Company
Rheem Manufacturing Company (www.rheem.com) is a privately held company with headquarters in Atlanta. In its 81st year of operation, the company manufactures a full-line of high-quality residential and commercial heating and cooling systems, tank and tankless water heaters, swimming pool heaters and commercial boilers throughout North America and world markets. The premium brands of Rheem Manufacturing Company include Raypak, Ruud and Rheem. Rheem Manufacturing Company is the official heating, cooling and water heating supplier to Richard Childress Racing and Kevin Harvick Inc. as well as the major associate sponsor of the No. 29 Sprint Cup® car driven by Kevin Harvick, 2007 Daytona 500 Champion, 2007 Craftsman Truck Series Champion and 2006 Busch Series Champion. Rheem is also the primary sponsor of Kevin Harvick Inc.’s No. 33 and No. 77 cars in Nationwide® Series and sponsor of KHI’s 2 and 33 entries in The Craftsman Truck Series. 

 
KEY CONTACTS:
 
CONTRACTOR:
John Buttz
Cook Plumbing
1425 Fuller Road
West Des Moines, Iowa
515-225-9532 ext. 20
 
HOMEOWNER:
Michael Riesberg
8819 Townsend Ave
Urbandale, IA 50322
E: mikeriesberg@msn.com
T: 515-707-8320