Give Thanks for Tankless

How restaurants and retail heating facilities can cut costs and improve efficiencies with commercial tankless water heating.

By Sal Brunetto

Saving time and money, while maintaining efficiencies across all operations, are the most crucial — and often most challenging — demands placed upon restaurant, retail and small business operators. Especially when managing food operations, commercial kitchens need to run flawlessly, counting on hot water — at the right temperature, all the time. And not just for food prep. Whether it’s for hand-washing, for food safety, and for customer restroom sinks, commercial restaurant water heaters need to produce hot water instantly and consistently.

One way to achieve savings is by investing in tankless water heaters. Having reliable, on-demand hot water reduces many potentially costly risks for commercial kitchen managers. The availability of new, improved, and more affordable gas and electric tankless water heating solutions provides a viable solution for hot water requirements.

Reducing Standby Loss Saves Time and Money

Standby loss is a common form of resource waste that afflicts a wide range of commercial kitchens. This phenomenon is especially common with sinks. Here kitchen workers often stand by idly as gallons of water rush down the drain, waiting for hot water to travel from the central heater and to the point of use through yards of piping. As a result, your restaurant stands to waste water each time a prep worker or cook needs a flow of hot water.

In addition to water waste, heat loss occurs as a result of the process of pumping water from a central heater. No pipe insulation is perfect. The larger your restaurant, the more heat is lost as water flows from one location to the next. These instances of excess energy consumption are likely to manifest as inflated monthly utility bills.

In addition to keeping utilities bills from escalating, going tankless helps members of your kitchen staff save time on a daily basis. Tankless water heaters are installed near points of use and are designed to reliably provide heat on demand. This set-up guarantees that employees aren’t standing around waiting for water to heat up, wasting precious productivity time, ramping up energy costs simultaneously.

Less Heater Means More Storage Space

In addition to efficiency improvements, going tankless can help your commercial kitchen staff save space as well. Tankless water heaters are significantly smaller than traditional models. This is especially relevant for smaller kitchen where storage space is lacking. As a result, there are more incentives for your kitchen staff to consider a tankless upgrade when some extra square footage can make a big difference. Pitching a multi-faceted, tankless solution is an easier investment to sell to restaurant owners than a new tank in a potentially less obtrusive location. This goes double for restaurants that are forced to install larger water heaters.

A Healthy Restaurant is a Happy Restaurant

Tankless models boast advantages for commercial kitchens that go beyond energy savings and space economy. Restaurants and other members of the foodservice industry must contend with strict water heating standards, especially at points of use. High-performance tankless models are designed with innovative, built-in heat controls. This technology ensures that water flowing from the kitchen is always within one degree of safe and sanitary temperatures. In addition to keeping your kitchen safe from compliance problems, tankless water heaters guarantee that the palms and fingers of kitchen workers are free of sickness-inducing bacteria.

In cities where space comes at a premium, these inches can make a valuable difference. Electric tankless water heaters are reliable systems that can serve a small business for up to 20 years. And tankless systems do not require regularly scheduled annual maintenance. Small business owners already have enough on their plate without having to add hot water to their list of things to do. They can count on the reliability an electric tankless water heater system provides, and focus their energy, time and resources on more important aspects of their business.

Stay in the Black

With a growing array of models and configurations, code compliance is now attainable, ensuring retail kitchens have gallons of hot water available when needed, especially during peak business hours.

Restaurants utilizing electric water heating can easily and efficiently convert to an electric tankless water heater which will save operators a minimum of $100 a year on utility bills, according to the Department of Energy. Tankless systems save more money in the long run, because its only using energy once to heat up water, rather than over and over to keep it warm.

Get a Business Boost

Facilities that have recently installed a water tank can still benefit from tankless booster solutions. Tankless water heaters can provide commercial kitchens with a booster that is roughly 90% smaller than tanks, so they take up very little space. On top of this, they heat water on demand, so they can be used in smaller spaces to achieve specific results. 

— Sal Brunetto serves as Rheem Manufacturing Company’s corporate national accounts manager. He joined Rheem in 2008 and has substantial experience in the application of commercial HVAC equipment, boilers, standby generators and water heaters in restaurant environments.

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