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Selling Tankless is a “No-Brainer”


California contractor Mike Jungers explains how the EZ Series’ new 25-year warranty has been an important “game-changer” for his business.

Mike Jungers, owner of Complete Plumbing, Heating and Air, has been in business in Southern California’s Orange County for more than 30 years. Committed to meeting the needs of their customers, the team at Complete Plumbing has embraced new technology as a way to always deliver on that commitment.

In the following interview, Jungers explains why partnering with Noritz to offer its line of residential tankless water heaters has been a major value to his company and, more importantly, to his customers.

Q: How long has your company offered tankless technology?

Mike Jungers: We have been installing tankless water heaters since the inception of the technology in the United States. A lot of plumbers were very skeptical when tankless heaters were introduced, because of the perceived intricacies with wiring and installation. But because our offering includes heating, air conditioning and water filtration, for us, it was an easy next step.

We are technically savvy and already had the knowledge and tools to install and maintain tankless heaters. There are a lot of benefits to this technology, and the learning curve isn’t as high as people think.

Q: How do you sell the benefits of tankless technology to customers?

Jungers: When I come to a customer’s home, the first thing I consider is their wants and needs. If they had a water heater that leaked, I’ll ask if they’ve considered another option, rather than just putting in another tank. Have you considered tankless? We make the offer, “Would you like this to be the last water heater you ever buy?”.

Tankless heaters with a 25-year warranty provide peace of mind to a homeowner. I have so much confidence in this technology and the company standing behind it, I tell homeowners: “Any problems, you don’t pay a dime.” This 25-year warranty is a game-changer, and I put a 25-year labor warranty on it too just to make the decision easier.

I also sell the benefits of this technology. Complete does a lot of kitchen and bath remodels, and we see a lot of beautiful tub and shower installs. I tell clients that a tankless unit is the only option to enjoy a hot bath and shower in that space. I explain that the unit has a temperature setting, so they can set their preference.

I then talk about space considerations. A tankless unit can be installed almost anywhere and takes up significantly less space than the large tank-type heaters. We’ve put them in attics, under crawlspaces in homes — it can go virtually anywhere, including outside, which is nice.

The last selling point is service, and it is huge. We can be proactive with a tankless water heater, so that keeps the life cycle cost down. Nine times out of 10 when we have a leak — and I’m talking a drip — with a tankless water heater, it is due to the hard water we have in Southern California. Routinely, we install a drain pan under the heater so there is no damage.

Also, when we do a maintenance check on a tankless unit, which every contractor should do every 1 to 2 years depending on water quality in the area, I always remove the ports and look at the tube bundles. If I see signs of green or corrosion, I alert the homeowner by showing them the problem.

You can’t see inside a tank heater to determine the level of corrosion. Replacing these parts is covered under the warranty, so our customer isn’t paying out of pocket to keep the unit operating at peak efficiency.

Q: How did you make the decision to partner with Noritz for your tankless offering?

Jungers: One of the issues that I have always seen is that, with tankless water heaters, all the piping configurations come in at the bottom. What I like about Noritz, with the new EZ Series, installation is very easy, since all the plumbing and wiring connections go through the top. Noritz also makes venting really easy.

Now, with the 25-year warranty announced in January, picking Noritz is a no-brainer. I tell my customers: this is the product I have in my house. Make sure it is installed properly and is regularly maintained — and then forget it.

Q: How do you think tankless water heaters benefit your company?

Jungers: One of the things that attracted me to Noritz is they are very contractor-friendly. They cater to the contractor, as long as they install the units properly. They also honor their warranties. The hard water in California can scale up the water heater, and Noritz is really good in standing behind the product. It is also the easiest tankless unit to install, so every plumber on my crew is comfortable with this technology.

Q: How do you bring in the green aspect of the technology?

Jungers: The green aspects of the product that we highlight are: the low emissions into the atmosphere, the gas savings that come with heating only the hot water you’re using, and the water savings that come when you’re not waiting for hot water to arrive at the outlet. In California, this is a big deal, and customers like hearing it.

Q: What are the pain points with tankless and how do you eliminate them?

Jungers: There is a misconception about the difficulty of tankless. Plumbers, for the most part, are like “Pull out the old one, put in the same new one” without thinking about it. Tankless is different: You have to think about it — most especially where you are going to put it, proper sizing and venting. It isn’t hard; it is just different.

Q: Does the new EZ Series change the game for tankless water heaters?

Jungers:  The EZ was developed to make things easier for our customers and hopefully bring down the installed cost of this technology. With the new EZ Series, not only is it a 25-year warranty, but it is easy to install because all the connections are through the top. Noritz has made it really easy to vent too; there are options to cover all the conditions.

Q: Do you really tell homeowners that tankless is the last water heater they will ever buy?

Jungers: My contractor buddies think I’m crazy to do this, but my question back to them is: Why wouldn’t I? I want that customer for life too. We do more than just plumbing for a customer; we want to be their source for heating, air, water filtration, full-service plumbing. If I can solve a leaky water heater with a product that solves their problem and provides peace of mind for 25 years, I stand a better chance that they will keep them using us.

With the cost of marketing these days, it is a no-brainer.