Forget the bells and whistles – International H2O is focused on style, reliability and lowering operator costs

Aug. 11, 2022
Ryan Pinagel, vice president of sales and operations for International H2O, believes that “bells and whistles” on water units can be a costly mistake for operators.

Some point-of-use water filtration systems offer digital readouts featuring number of gallons used, filtration status, hot and cold temperature, a clock and data on the number of plastic bottles saved. While those systems can lure in some customers, Ryan Pinagel believes that “bells and whistles” on water units can be a costly mistake for operators.

“We avoid those bells and whistles”

Pinagel is vice president of sales and operations for International H2O. “We avoid those bells and whistles because when a manufacturer does that, there is pressure to use cheaper electronic components,” said Pinagel. “’When there is a focus on sourcing electronics parts from China, the operator can count on plenty of service calls.”

Lowest equipment failure rate

International H2O takes an operator-focused approach that extends from the equipment itself to the marketing materials. “We have always endeavored to provide equipment that is simple from a function standpoint, with the goal of eliminating costly service calls,” Pinagel said. “As a result, International H2O has the lowest three-year failure rate in the industry at 0.05%.”

Operator savings

According to Pinagel, the International H2O equipment failure rate is about 5 times lower than the nearest competitor. “When you consider the cost of service calls – at least $150 per call – labor demands, fuel and customer inconvenience, our exceptional equipment performance translates to a tremendous amount of savings for an operator,” he noted.

How does equipment failure occur?

Pinagel explained that equipment failure can be related to several different things, including the lack of quality in the cooling compressor for the cold tank, lack of quality in the hot tank heating elements, problems with the metal used for either of those two components and electronics. “Our competitor’s equipment is heavily electronics based, with electronic components and PCB boards that come from China,” Pinagel said. “Those boards are built for a minimal cost, and they are not built with technologies that are intended to last a long time.”

U.S.-based design is a plus

“We steer far away from electronic components when they can be replaced with mechanical options,” he explained. “For the remaining percentage of components, when we have to use electronically controlled components, we use U.S.-based design, manufactured in Korea, that are intended to last from 10 to 15 years.”

Simple value proposition

For Pinagel and International H2O, the value proposition is simple. An operator who chooses International H2O, upright or countertop units, will experience minimized downtime, minimized service calls and an improved user experience. “In our thought process, reliability is more important than the bells and whistles. If we're talking about a call center or an executive office for example, the employee is running off to the breakroom to fill up their bottle of water before they get back to work. Is it really a priority for them to see a meter that shows how many plastic bottles they saved? Do they need a clock on the unit? No – they need reliable performance from the water unit,” said Pinagel.

Reliability and performance are differentiators

“While the flashy, feature-laden water machines can create some buzz in a location, those units tend to have a high turnover rate, because every little electronic component adds to the chance of equipment failure,” he said. “Those units are having an issue every, two, three or four months that requires a service call. At some point, a competing operator using our equipment is going to show up and say, ‘Oh, how often is that breaking down? You won't have that problem with my unit and since you are paying a higher monthly rental rate, I can now save you money and provide you with reliable service.’ In reality, our reliability and performance are real differentiators.”

International H2O’s operator-centric approach goes beyond equipment reliability.

  • They are currently one of the only manufacturers to offer white labeling and marketing material services for operators, providing materials that are branded with the operator’s logo.
  • Their water units are labeled and designed so that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for end users, such as property managers and office managers, to be able to find International H2O directly. “We want to protect operators. We want to sell to operators. We don’t want to compete with them,” said Pinagel.
  • To strengthen an operator’s brand, International H2O offers private label, professionally branded equipment for operators and is currently exploring custom colors.
  • International H2O is now offering white label 3D video renderings of their water units for operators.
  • Operators can request a specific internal configuration that will accommodate their filtration system. “We are totally flexible with the internal configuration of a unit,” Pinagel noted. 
  • International H2O offers key account installation support. “We have seen clients land national accounts that require installation in multiple cities. We have the resources to get an installer for them in each market area to facilitate and help them fulfill their contract,” said Pinagel.

“We are dedicated to helping operators succeed and we do it in so many ways,” said Pinagel. “It goes well beyond the equipment reliability, as important as that is. We urge operators to have a conversation with us to see for themselves how International H2O can elevate multiple aspects of their water business.”

To learn more about International H2O, email Ryan Pinagel at [email protected] and visit