Think Utah and you think high elevations and powder snow skiing, right? Not exactly where you would expect to find tankless water heaters installed outdoors. Think again. Towers Murray Plumbing, a long-established contracting company in the heart of the Salt Lake Valley, is demonstrating how this cost-efficient alternative to tank-type water heaters can satisfy customer demand for continuous hot water without the expense of retrofitting an older home’s gas-piping and venting systems.
While tankless is gaining in popularity, the technology typically needs a larger gas supply line and Category III stainless steel venting material, which may not be required by a conventional, tank-type water heater. As a result, owners of existing homes looking to upgrade to a tankless unit often balk at the high cost of redoing this interior infrastructure, according to Towers Murray purchasing agent Terry Matsamas, whose company offers both tank-type and tankless water heaters made by Rheem Water Heating.
Towers Murray Plumbing has been installing tankless water heaters for more than 15 years and currently fields about 25 calls for tankless installations every month. But Matsamas says the company would likely install far more tankless units if existing homes were configured differently. “For new construction, we would bid tankless for every job. But in existing homes, venting and gas piping can be a problem.”
So Matsamas and his colleagues at Towers Murray Plumbing are helping their customers avert those inside obstacles by
installing tankless units outdoors – despite the cold winters in Utah. “We’ve found that with proper protection, there’s no reason not to install a tankless unit outdoors,” says Towers Murray manager Mike Muscaro, who installed a Rheem tankless water heater on the outside of his own home.
Down to 30-below: The Rheem outdoor tankless line features freeze protection to -30°F and -20°F, depending on the model. To further ensure reliability in cold regions, outdoor installation typically includes protection of the water pipes, while homeowners can also opt to install the outdoor tankless unit in a recessed box. Only Rheem offers options for installations at higher elevations (up to 9,840 feet).
Muscaro has been delighted with the performance of his own tankless water heater. He insulated the unit and wrapped the pipes with heat tape: standard procedure for the exterior installations his company does. The winter of 2006-2007 was a record-breaker for much of Utah, but Muscaro has seen no difference in hot water-delivery time or in the temperature of the water.
I talk to a ton of people, and I tell them I wouldn’t trade mine,” he says of his outdoor tankless unit. “This is a great way to help my customers get the tankless unit they want, but without the added expense for inside installations typically found in older homes.” While still innovative in Utah and other northern states, exterior and garage installations of tankless water heaters are quite common in warmer climates. “I prefer to put in tankless heaters,” says Ron Gillespie, a Rheem installer who owns Trilogy Plumbing near Phoenix, Arizona. “Tankless water heaters are a step forward in reducing homeowners insurance rates, saving money on energy bills, increasing their livable space and, most importantly, conserving energy,” he says.
Gillespie should know; he also has a tankless unit in his own home.
Customer problem-solver: Helping customers tackle challenges and solve problems is a good way for any business to stay on top, and Towers Murray Plumbing is no exception. The family-owned company hinges its long-running success to timely service, professionalism, and high quality products. The Rheem outdoor tankless water heater is just one way the company helps customers achieve their home-improvement goals, on their own terms.
“People love Rheem water heaters,” Matsamas adds. “We’ve had nothing but compliments. We love being Rheem contractors, and we’re very confident in the Rheem name.”
RHEEM MANUFACTURING COMPANY, headquartered in Atlanta, is a leading worldwide provider of total comfort systems including water heaters, heating and air conditioning equipment, pool and spa heaters, and boilers. Its Water Heating Division manufactures a full line of tankless propane (LP) and natural gas models that provide a continuous flow of hot water whenever needed. With no standing pilot light and no storage tank, the energy-saving units eliminate the need to maintain a large supply of pre-heated water.
TOWERS MURRAY is located at 5757 South State Street in Murray, Utah 84107; telephone: 801-266-3529.