The owners of this Connecticut laundromat/café pondered the scenario of 25 washers all running hot water at once, which would involve long fill times. However, a gas-fired tankless unit allowed the washers to remain 120°F at every single washer for as long as they take to fill.

When cousins Jesus Ortiz and Laury Rosario decided to open the first combination café and laundromat in the state of Connecticut, they chose a manifold (connected) six-unit, tankless water heating system, simplifying one of the most important aspects of their business - providing plenty of hot water on demand at the right temperatures at a more affordable cost.

Load of Laundry ... on Rye

The Spin Cycle Café Laundromat in Newington offers 25 commercial-grade washers and 24 dryers on one side of the building, plus an inviting TV lounge with limited café service on the other. Even at full capacity, the washers reliably deliver hot water, thanks to the gas-fired tankless units manufactured by Rheem Water Heating. (The owners use a tank-type heater to provide heated water for the restrooms and the café.)

U.S. military veterans Ortiz and Rosario built their business from scratch, spending more than two years converting an existing building into their fusion dream. Because of their business format, the pair was required to separate the water and mechanical systems for the laundromat and food-service segments completely and to install backflow preventers. “There was no standard for a hybrid operation like this,” Rosario explained.

The original plan called for a conventional, 100-gal, tank-type water heater to feed Spin Cycle’s commercial washers. But after studying the advantages, the brothers switched to tankless. Rosario had researched the technology and realized that tankless water heating was a growing trend.

“It’s being used more and more, especially for larger projects that require a lot of hot water at one time,” she said. “I thought: ‘If it can work for those facilities, why not a laundromat?’”

Mark Bruder of Pendleton Associates, the local sales representative for Rheem Water Heating, designed the system, calling for six units. Assuming an incoming water temperature of 40°F and a 23-min. wash cycle, Bruder geared the system to provide 24.6 gal of 120

Way Of The World

Robert Ouellette, owner of R. J. Ouellette Plumbing and Heating in Coventry, installed the system. “Had Spin Cycle gone with a new boiler, it would have cost $25,000, and the owners would have had to maintain temperatures 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said.

Newington building official Peter Hobbs, who approved the plans at Spin Cycle, said their tankless system was the right one to use for this kind of business. “The washing machines are sitting idle much of the time,” he explained. “There’s no question that by not operating 24/7, but only on demand, the tankless units will save the owners money on energy bills.”

As with any new business, low operating costs are key to success. While the new Spin Cycle has no usage experience with a boiler or a tank-type water heater to weigh against the tankless option, Rosario is encouraged about the energy savings they’ll gain. “Just comparing our gas bill to our electrical bill, the gas cost is three-quarters lower.”ES