If you’re a plumber, knowing what products and new technologies beyond
can be a tremendous boon to your business. After all, if you know what’s in demand, you can then offer those new products to your customers.
But how can you know which plumbing products and technologies are most in demand?
That’s where we come in.
We scraped data from millions of plumbing-related Google searches to identify which plumbing technologies are in demand (assuming high search volume equals high demand). We then sorted, analyzed, and now present that data for your perusal.
We only included queries with “buyer intent” behind them. In other words, we only included queries that a person might enter if they were in the process of purchasing a product. We excluded queries that were primarily informational, such as, “How does a tankless water heater work?”
Use this data to help you understand the plumbing landscape as a whole, as well as what plumbing products and services you might offer to your customers.
Plumbing Technology #1: Tankless Water Heaters
By far, the technology getting the most Google searches every month is tankless water heaters. The searches include both electric and gas tankless water heaters, with each getting well over 20,000 searches per month.
A tankless water heater is, as you might guess, a water heater that does not use a tank. Rather, it heats the water as it flows through the tank, providing an endless supply of hot water.
- Rinnai (approx. 21,000 per month)
- Rheem (approx. 12,000 per month)
- Ecosmart (approx. 3,500 per month)
What’s clear from this data is that people want the convenience of never running out of hot water, which is exactly what a tankless water heater supplies. They want to be able to take long, luxurious showers without worrying whether the hot water will run out.
Additionally, consumers may be wanting to save on energy (and money).
that tankless water heaters can be significantly more energy efficient than standard hot water tanks. By using less energy, a tankless water tank benefits both the environment and the consumer’s wallet. If you are planning to get one, check out this
Plumbing Technology #2: Hot Water Recirculation
Closely related to tankless water heaters is the concept of hot water recirculation. Hot water recirculation systems keep hot water constantly circulating through the pipes in order to provide hot water instantly.
Without a hot water recirculation system, water that was hot cools in the pipes, meaning that more water must be pumped through them (and go down the drain) in order to get hot water.
- Watts (approx. 7,000 per month)
- Grundfos (approx. 5,000 per month)
- Laing (approx. 1,500 per month)
As with tankless water heaters, hot water recirculation pumps provide two distinct advantages. First, they ensure that hot water is available instantly. You don’t have to wait for the shower to heat up before you climb in.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, hot water recirculation pumps save a significant amount of water from going down the drain since you don’t have to wait for the water to heat up. This, in turn, helps both the environment and the wallet.
Plumbing Technology #3: Smart Irrigation
The technology getting the third most searches every month is smart irrigation related tech. Smart irrigation is irrigation technology that is controlled by a digital control device, such as a panel on a wall (which is often connected to an app).
Using smart irrigation control tech, consumers can turn sprinklers on and off from their mobile phones, set smart timers to determine what gets watered when, and even let their system adjust automatically based on forecasts from the National Weather Service.
- Rachio (approx. 13,000/month)
- RainMachine (approx. 6,000/month)
- Bhyve (approx. 6,000/month)
The abundance of searches for smart irrigation technology suggests two things. First, people want the convenience of being able to tightly control their irrigation system. They want to be able to use their mobile phones to set timers and determine what gets watered and when it’s watered.
Second, they want to be able to conserve water, which is becoming an increasing issue as droughts occur throughout the United States. Smart irrigation technology makes it much easier to control how much water is used, which saves money on the water bill and preserves water in the event of a drought.
A pattern is beginning to emerge at this point. People want to be able to control exactly how much water they’re using so that they can both help the environment and save money on water.
Plumbing Technology #4: Leak Detectors
Coming in fourth place among most searched technology is leak detectors. Much like smoke detectors, leak detectors alert you when there is a water leak in your house. These detectors are manually placed in places where a leak is likely to occur and alert you if a leak does occur.
- Samsung Smartthings (approx. 1,500 per month)
- LeakSmart (approx. 1,000 searches per month)
- Nest (approx. 800 searches per month)
Clearly, there are two big concerns when it comes to purchasing a leak detection system. The first, and most obvious, is damage caused by flooding. People are concerned that a pipe might leak or break and want to prevent as much damage as possible. Hence, they want to install a leak detection system.
Second, people are also concerned about the cost of leaking pipes. Over time, the expense of water lost from a leaky pipe can add up. In order to avoid such costs, people want to catch leaks as soon as they happen.
Plumbing Technology #5: Touchless Faucet
Touchless faucets work just as you would expect them to. A sensor detects when a hand is placed under the faucet and water comes from the faucet.
- Delta (approx. 5,500/month)
- Moen (approx. 4,000/month)
- Kohler (approx. 1,500/month)
One note of interest on this point is that there are a significant number of searches for touchless
faucets. It seems that touchless faucets are more of a priority in the kitchen than in other rooms, such as the bathroom.
When it comes to touchless faucets, obviously the primary concern is hygiene. With a normal faucet, you have to touch it to turn it on, and every time you touch it, you spread germs. With a touchless faucet, you never need to touch it and thus don’t spread any germs.
There is some convenience factor as well. Touchless faucets are
easier to use than standard faucets, although not by a huge factor.
Plumbing Technology #6: Greywater Systems
A greywater system takes water that has already been
(not come into contact with fecal matter, etc.), and diverts it to an irrigation or recycling system. In other words, water that you may have used to wash dishes is then used a second time, either for irrigation or by being pumped through a recycling system which cleans the water.
This indicates that people don’t have much knowledge of greywater systems and are searching on more general terms instead of brands.
When it comes to the
behind greywater searches, it seems relatively obvious. If at all possible, people want to recycle water. Again, this goes back to saving water in the event of a drought, as well as saving money on the overall water bill. Because a grey water system effectively recycles water, it can significantly cut down on the amount of water used every month.
Plumbing Technology #7: Smart Toilet
Smart toilets offer numerous functions that standard toilets don’t, including:
Water saving features
Massaging bidet wash
Built-in sensors that alert you to possible tank leaks
Emergency flushing system during power outages
Slow closing lid
Bluetooth and MP3 capabilities
Obviously, not all of these features are available on all smart toilets. Each toilet will have its own set of features.
- Kohler (approx. 4,000/month)
- Ove (approx. 500/month)
Smart toilets offer many conveniences that standard toilets don’t, and depending on how much you want to spend, you truly can experience a bit of luxury while on the toilet. They also offer excellent water-saving features absent from standard toilets, as well as overflow protection, which greatly diminishes the chances of a clogged toilet causing spillage.
Overall, it’s probably safe to say that if a person buys a smart toilet, they’re primarily buying it for convenience reasons.
Plumbing Technology #8: Smart Shower
Smart showers feature a variety of technologies not offered by standard showers. For example, the temperature can be precisely controlled, either from a digital panel or an app. The shower can be turned on and off via an app or even by voice. The water spray can also be easily adjusted at the touch of a button.
No other brands generate significant amounts of searches each month.
Like smart toilets, smart showers offer luxuries that simply can’t be touched by standard showers. Unlike other technologies, such as tankless water heaters, which are purchased for economic reasons, smart showers are primarily a luxury item.
Nevertheless, it’s clear from the number of searches each month that a significant number of people want to purchase them.
Plumbing Technology #9: Touchless Toilet
Touchless toilets are a simpler version of smart toilets. Their primary feature is that they automatically flush, meaning you don’t have to actually touch the toilet with your hands.
- Kohler (approx. 1,300/month)
- American Standard (approx. 300/month)
- Delta (approx. 300/month)
Much like the touchless faucet, the touchless toilet is primarily a hygienic purchase. It allows a person to use the toilet without ever actually touching it with their hands. It seems likely that as smart toilets become more advanced, the demand for purely touchless toilets will most likely lessen.
Plumbing Technology #10: Bluetooth Shower Head
A Bluetooth shower head is a showerhead that includes a Bluetooth enabled speaker. This allows you to connect a mobile device to the showerhead and listen to music.
Perhaps more than any other item, a Bluetooth shower head is a luxury item. It doesn’t offer any practical functionality other than allowing you to listen to something while taking your shower.
Despite this, it generates a significant amount of search traffic every month, suggesting that there is a significant demand for such a product.
Plumbing Technology #11: Smart Water Heater
Smart water heaters offer a variety of additional functionality not provided by traditional water heaters. These features may include:
A smart thermostat which allows you to precisely set the temperature
Energy smart modes which respond to user patterns to save hot water
Diagnostic screens which make it easy to deal with any problems that may arise
- GE (approx. 800/month)
- Aquanta (approx. 700/month)
- Nest (approx. 200/month)
While the search volume for smart water heaters may not be particularly high right now, we should expect to see it rise in the future as more and more smart homes are built. At the moment, it seems that consumers are purchasing smart water heaters for both the convenience of setting the temperature precisely and the ability to save some money on hot water.
Three distinct patterns emerge from the above data.
First, people want convenience. They don’t want to wait for hot water. They want to be able to listen to music in the shower. They want toilets that light up at night. This desire for convenience is creating demand for new plumbing technologies such as smart toilets and Bluetooth shower heads. If you want to effectively serve your customers, you need to be familiar with and ready to install this new technology.
Second, people want to save money on their water bill. The large volume of searches for smart irrigation systems and tankless heaters shows this. People are tired of spending money on water that they’re not using. They want to utilize new technology that will save water and save them money.
Finally, people want to preserve water. This concern is particularly relevant in places like California, where droughts occur and the need to preserve water is particularly high. New technologies that help preserve water are going to be increasingly in demand as global warming heats up and droughts become more commonplace.
If you’re in the plumbing business, take note of the technologies mentioned above. We should expect to see them adopted by even more people as time goes on. If you want to keep up with your competitors, it’s essential that you be familiar with these technologies.
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