Pinellas County Schools learns how Rinnai Demand Duo® Hybrid Water Heaters can ensure a reliable supply of hot water, reduce operating costs, and provide long-lasting dependability.


Pinellas County, Florida

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Like any other public school system, Pinellas County Schools in Florida operates on a tight budget and answers to a lot of vested parties, including a school board, parents and taxpayers. So, it’s no surprise that they’re always looking for ways to function more efficiently and effectively, to better serve students, save money and reduce time spent on equipment upkeep.


When water heating units started failing in the county’s Countryside High School, the county began searching for a dependable, efficient and serviceable solution for the school and its students and staff. What the county needed was a hot water source that didn’t have the same fallibility and short service life as the units they currently used. Moreover, they needed a system that offered redundancy, to avoid a complete loss of hot water during the school day. What they found was Rinnai’s Demand Duo Hybrid Water Heating System.

Smarter Hot Water, Quick And Easy

For years, the Pinellas County School System, located in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, relied on traditional tank-style water heaters. However, over time, those responsible for maintaining and servicing these units realized their lifespan was shorter than they’d expected – typically only six to eight years, at the most.


With the heat exchanger located on the inside of the unit, acidic condensate was consuming the tanks from the inside out, eventually causing the tanks to rupture. “With such a short life span, I knew there had to be a better alternative,” said Ty Crawford, in charge of maintenance for the school system. “We’ve been running Rinnai tankless products in other schools for about 10 years now, so we trust Rinnai.


“I’d heard about the Demand Duo,” Crawford continued, “and I thought it sounded like it might be the ideal solution for us. So I started looking into it.” It wasn’t long afterwards that TEMPACO, an Orlando-based distributor of natural gas and propane products, installed three Rinnai Demand Duo hybrid units at Countryside High School. These direct-replacement solutions were a fast, straightforward upgrade from the school’s tank-style units. And the successful installation has since led to more installations at other schools throughout the Pinellas County School System.

The Rinnai Demand Duo Hybrid Water Heating System has done everything we’d hoped – and more. We get reliability, savings and redundancy, all in one package. When you’re [...] a one-man show [...], it’s nice when you have something that works this well.

— Ty Crawford, Journeyman Boiler Mechanic, Pinellas School District, Tampa, FL

The Rinnai Advantage for The Demand Duo 119-Gallon System

  • Quick and easy upgrade from standard tank-style systems
  • Combines best of both a tankless unit and a tank-style water heater
  • Route venting through existing B vent or terminate vent vertically or horizontally
  • Rinnai C199 Commercial Tankless Water Heater eliminates thermal stress on the tank, lengthening life and maximizing performance of the unit
  • System weight up to 250 lbs. lighter than competitive units

How It All Came Together

When it came to heating water, Pinellas County Schools were concerned with increasing equipment life and cutting costs – not only for the new water heater install, but also for the long-haul on energy usage.


“We had experience with Rinnai tankless products,” said Ty Crawford, “and we knew that they did the job, while also saving money, and they never gave us a single problem.”


It was Crawford who suggested Rinnai again to TEMPACO, but this time he was interested in what Rinnai’s Demand Duo had to offer. “The ease of installation was the first big factor for Pinellas County,” said TEMPACO’s Lewis Johnson. Rinnai’s Demand Duo Hybrid Water Heaters feature connections similar to most tanks. So, in no time at all, customers can replace a standard tank and be operational again, with a minimum of disruption.


“They also liked the combination of tank-style and tankless technology, because that meant the heat source – the heat exchanger – was located outside the tank,” said Johnson. “And given the issues with their previous units, that was a huge factor.”


Tempaco installed three Demand Duo 119-Gallon Hybrid Tank Systems to replace two commercial tank-style water heaters, for food services, locker rooms, and rest rooms.

Savings From Day 1

According to Crawford, installed costs on the Rinnai Demand Duo units were about half the cost of sticking with the same units the school previously used.


“The up-front price difference was huge,” said Crawford, “but what has really surprised us since then is how much we’re saving on gas every month.”


On average, Countryside High School saves close to 20% on their monthly utility bills since switching to the Rinnai Demand Duo units. The commercial ENERGY STAR® certified tankless units offer 96% thermal efficiency, yet deliver more stable temperatures and more hot water than the school’s previous units.


Crawford expects to reap more savings over the long run, thanks to the Demand Duo’s dependability and serviceability.


“They’re worth their weight in gold, because they’re so reliable and easy to maintain,” said Crawford. “I don’t have to babysit them all the time, like we did the old water heaters. I was spending a ton of money keeping the old units up and running.


“Rinnai’s factory folks even taught a free, on-site class for my shop people on maintaining and servicing the Demand Duo,” Crawford continued. “So, if the heat exchanger ever does fail, I can swap it out for a fraction of the cost of new water heaters. And with the redundancy of the units, we never lose hot water, even during servicing.”

We’ve had zero problems — and not a single complaint from our schools — in the first year of use.

— Ty Crawford, Journeyman Boiler Mechanic, Pinellas School District, Tampa, FL

The Rinnai Advantage

  • Endless supply of hot water
  • Built-in redundancy – never experience downtime during the school day
  • Ability to service without system shutdowns
  • Save money – cut installation, maintenance and operational costs
  • Commercial ENERGY STAR® certified
  • 96% thermal efficiency
  • Ultra low NOx compliant

More Schools, More Demand Duo Units

Since October of 2016, when the Countryside High School installation took place, the Pinellas County School System has replaced tank-style units in another seven schools with Rinnai’s Demand Duo Hybrid Water Heating Systems. TEMPACO’s Johnson said that more Demand Duo installations are likely in the future for Pinellas Schools, as more schools’ old water heating systems fail.


“We’ve seen the track record with the Rinnai Demand Duo units now,” said Pinellas School System’s Crawford. “We simply don’t have issues with them. We’ve had zero problems - and not a single complaint from our schools - in the first year of use.”

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