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Tankless water heaters improve water heating efficiency in an Indiana condo community

Cascaded Navien NPE-240A tankless water heaters installed in three phases at condominium community in Culver, Ind.

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May 04, 2020 |
Jason Richards, A+ Plumbing Heating and Cooling, with Navien NPE-240A tankless water heaters

Jason Richards, owner of A+ Plumbing Heating and Cooling, installed Navien NPE-240A tankless water heaters at Culver Cove, a condo community in Indiana. Photo: Navien


Culver Cove is an 80‑unit condo complex located on Lake Maxinkuckee near Culver, Ind.

Originally hot water was supplied from three strategically located utility rooms, each with six 100‑gallon commercial tank‑type heaters. Circulating pumps and mixing valves were required to prevent scalding. Rich West, Executive Director of Culver Cove, was looking for a more efficient hot water system to reduce energy costs, especially during low demand periods. His research led him to the Navien Premium Efficiency (NPE) tankless water heaters that would eliminate the energy cost of constantly running the tanks to be ready for hot water demand.

West worked with Mike Lambert, then with Mid-City Supply Co., and Clark Boyles of P-M & Associates, the Navien distributor and rep in northern Indiana. They recommended a phase one installation of five cascaded Navien NPE-240A units for about one-third of the complex—about 26 units, from one to three bedrooms each. With the proven energy savings of the first phase, Culver Cove proceeded to change out the other two utility rooms that served the rest of the condos.


Culver Cove, an 80-unit condo community in Culver, Ind., installed Navien tankless water heaters to improve energy efficiencyCulver Cove, an 80-unit condo community in Culver, Ind., installed Navien tankless water heaters to  improve its overall energy efficiency.


Lambert and Boyles worked with Jason Richards, Owner of A+ Plumbing Heating and Cooling, to work out details for sizing, designing, and installing the system. The installation of each section took about a week and a half, including removing the old tanks. The five Navien units used two sets of four-inch PVC vent pipes that ran through the roof in an existing 12‑inch B vent.



Efficient hot water supply.  “The five Navien units are cascaded so when the master unit comes on, it triggers the next one in line to help as needed, and so on until all units are running if necessary,” said Richards. “Each time a Navien unit comes on, it’s a different master-slave situation, so all five units have equal run times.”

Technical factors. “Unlike the old tank system, we could eliminate the external circulating pump and mixing valve, since we can set the temperature at 120 degrees,” said Boyles. Another factor in selecting Navien NPE-A tankless water heaters was the internal recirculating pump and buffer tank, which assure an uninterrupted flow of hot water.


Old conventional water heaters at Culver Cove, Inc., condominiumsOld conventional water heaters at Culver Cove condominiums were replaced to improve energy efficiency.


Energy and water savings. “We have noticed a decrease in our energy cost from NIPSCO, our local gas supplier—a real dollar savings every month,” said West. “We have applied for an energy rebate. I also have seen a decrease in our domestic water use.”

Easier installation. “One of the main reasons we went with Navien is the ability to use PVC,” Richards said. “The common venting also makes it less expensive. In this retrofit situation, we could use existing penetrations to run our vents. That saved a lot of labor.”

For more information: NavienInc.com.

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