The Benefits of Smart Recirculation Technology in Tankless Water Heaters


As contractors, many homeowners rely upon your recommendation for the best products to use during renovations, new construction or remodels. Increased demand has been placed on smart home appliances due to their cost savings and energy efficiencies, making them highly desirable to end users. And as your customers seek recommendations on different home technologies, it’s important to keep in mind that not only can smart, energy-efficient appliances be found in popular products, such as lights, faucets and refrigerators, but also water heaters.

How it works

A smart tankless water heater has many benefits for the home, including customers having hot water faster at the faucet. But with built-in recirculation tankless technology, it learns a user’s hot water habit over several days and without any prompt, schedules a recirculation pattern to predict the delivery of hot water when it is needed. 

The built-in recirculation technology, such as Rinnai’s new Smart-Circ™ Intelligent Recirculation™ featured in the recently launched RE Series™,  works by tracking each time a significant hot water usage occurs, such as a shower or a bath. The tankless unit records the water use and then will schedule recirculation at that same time for the next seven days. If for some reason, the user starts to shower earlier in the day, the unit constantly learns and adjusts to new habits. So should something happen in a schedule, the tankless water heater will learn and adjust the hot water delivery accordingly. The tankless technology will eventually forget the old habit if significant hot water usage doesn’t reoccur. 

How it benefits the customer

This goes to show, that home appliances keep getting smarter. So, when you’re speaking with your next customer about incorporating smart products in their new home or remodel, use the list below to explain the advantages:

Never-ending supply of hot water: With the built-in recirculation pump that learns users’ habits, homeowners will experience never-ending hot water during regular demand periods without having to wait long at their faucet for the water to heat, such as in the mornings or evenings. This technology also adapts to unique usage cases, such as when your customers have guests, setting a new pattern on day one or until hot water usage returns to normal.  

Saving money: With this smart appliance, users can save on water usage and energy consumption through recirculation patterns and scheduled hot water delivery. These features reduce the need to continuously run water from a faucet or other appliance until it reaches the desired temperature, often wasting a lot of water. Energy is conserved by scheduling hot water delivery based on past usage versus having it on a mode that circulates at regular time intervals, ensuring the pump doesn’t waste energy by running during off-times when hot water is not being used.

Increasing longevity: As the unit is not actively working during periods when hot water is not in use, the appliance is maintaining its quality, reducing the strain put on itself and allowing the unit to function for a longer timeframe.

How it benefits the installer

There are advantages for customers to sign up for this innovative solution, however, smart recirculation technology not only benefits your customer but you as the installer. Time spent on installation is significantly reduced, as there is no need for external controllers. You will no longer have to set up the app or educate the customer on how to use them. You simply install and let the tankless unit record and learn the user’s hot water patterns, creating a smoother installation process.

Furthermore, additional time and money are saved during installation, as a dedicated return line isn’t necessary for the recirculation technology. A thermal bypass valve can be used, which allows water already in the system to recirculate through the cold-water line back to the tankless water heater for heating, enabling faster hot water regardless of plumbing configuration.

By becoming savvy in smart recirculation, you can provide your customers with the best recommendations to improve efficiencies in the home and be able to provide a faster installation. To learn more about Rinnai’s RE Series, featuring Smart-Circ Intelligent Recirculation technology, visit www.rinnai.us.

David Federico is Senior Director of Marketing at Rinnai America Corporation with primary responsibilities for leading the marketing strategy for its residential and commercial products. Before joining the organization in 2016, David held marketing leadership positions at multinational corporations including Georgia-Pacific. David is a graduate of Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Marketing.

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