ATLANTA — The answer to the question, “Will we heat homes with water heaters?” is “yes.” Rheem has introduced an Integrated HVAC & Water Heating System Powered by Tankless Technology, a product that offers home heating and hot water from a single source. When combined with Rheem cooling equipment, the system offers complete air and water home comfort. The Rheem Integrated HVAC & Water Heating System is the first of its kind to be designed, built, and warranted by a single manufacturer, ensuring seamless product integration that can create an efficient home comfort system.

All Rheem tankless water heaters have been designed to operate with the Rheem Hydronic Air Handler, said Rheem’s Tankless Marketing Specialist Shaun Thomas. The firm has three base models of tankless water heaters with inputs of 199,900, 180,000, and 150,000 Btuh. The 199,900 Btuh model produces 4.37 GPM at a 75°F rise, or 3.46 GPM at a 90°F rise. The heating efficiency will be equal to that of the tankless, which currently offer an 82% efficiency rating.

When paired with Rheem cooling coils or heat pumps, the system can be rated together. Matched systems are under development that can be tested and rated by the Air-conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute, Thomas told CONTRACTOR.

“As the only manufacturer of both HVAC and water heating solutions, Rheem is the first company to develop a truly integrated HVAC and water heating system, built by one manufacturer, designed to provide complete whole-home air and water comfort,” said Rheem CEO JR Jones. “While other companies may produce one portion of an integrated system offering, the Rheem Integrated HVAC & Water Heating System is the first to use products designed to work specifically with each other. This innovative breakthrough product provides multiple benefits for homeowners and tremendous selling advantages for HVAC and plumbing contractors.”

The heart of the Integrated HVAC & Water Heating System is Rheem tankless technology, which in this application fulfills domestic hot water needs and also provides heating to the home. When a Rheem tankless water heater is matched with a Rheem hydronic air handler, hot water is circulated through the hydronic air handler to provide warmth and is then re-circulated back to the tankless water heater. This pairing of products provides a “soft” heat to the home while maintaining comfortable humidity levels regardless of the climate.

The Integrated HVAC & Water Heating System also offers an installation benefit for contractors by cutting the number of gas appliances installed in a home comfort system in half. Rather than running separate gas lines and vent systems for both the water heater and furnace, contractors only need one gas line and one vent system.

The system is controlled by domestic hot water priority. Rheem has an inline flow detection system that will shut the air handler down when the domestic load exceeds the system’s capability.

“The tankless unit itself will adjust and continue to produce hot water at the thermostat setting,” Thomas said. “If the flow rate exceeds the tankless water heater’s capability, then it will dial down the flow to maintain temperature. With our installation design, when a shower is turned on the water flow to the air handler will decrease. As more domestic draw is required, the flow to the air handler will decrease to a point that is no longer efficient to operate. At that point, the flow sensor in the air handler will turn off the pump, allowing the full flow to the domestic use. We will also check from time to time to see if flow has been restored to try and prevent room temperature loss.”

Tankless water heaters, when appropriately sized, are capable of providing a home with continuous, efficient hot water, making the integrated comfort system an efficient product with low operating costs. Rheem tankless water heaters offer new burner technology and other smart features such as a new 3-in./5-in. concentric vent system and integrated condensate collector, all of which can save contractors money on installation costs.

Rheem tankless water heaters are Energy Star qualified and eligible for a federal tax credit of 30% of the total installed cost, up to $1,500. The Rheem Integrated HVAC & Water Heating System Powered by Tankless Technology carries a five-year air handler warranty and a 10-year tankless heat exchanger warranty.

Rheem Mfg. Co. (www.rheem.com) is privately held with headquarters in Atlanta. In its 83rd year of operation, the company manufactures a full-line of residential and commercial heating and cooling systems; tank, tankless, solar, and heat pump water heaters; swimming pool heaters and commercial boilers throughout North American and world markets. The company's brands include Raypak, Ruud and Rheem.