Questions on indirect water heaters

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drabina

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Few months back, I bought a house where indirect water heater (41 gallons Amtrol BoilerMate) is installed. All was fine until the casing developed 20+ inch crack. Water is not leaking so I guess for now I am just loosing efficiency. I had one person to come over to take a look at it and he recommended to replace it with regular (direct?) water heater. He told me that the current system will use the furnace even in the summertime to heat the water.

Could somebody in layman's terms explain to me what are the advantages of indirect water heaters and if I should or should not replace it with regular water heater?

I am asking because the Amtrol replacement is more than double the cost of regular water heater. Currently, our basement is nice and hot but I can imagine that in the summertime it is going to be an inferno in there with all the equipment working.
 

frodo

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th person was telling the truth, the boiler runs to keep the water in the boiler mate at the correct temp

i would als recommend a 40 gallon water heater,,if electric,

i assume you have gas at the boiler,,,but what about a flue?

if you go with gas,,,ddepending on the size flue you have,,,you might need to install a new flue

so,,,have a electrictian give you a price on 220 run to the water heater

and get a price on a flue for the water heater from a plumber

get 3 prices each total of 6 ..

after you gt prices,,,you can then make an informed decision
 

slownsteady

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I have a Boilermate, and i like it. It is heated as a separate zone on my oil-fired boiler. Yes, the boiler will run in the summer, so you can't turn it off, but the BoilerMate is very efficient, so it's not like it runs all the time. Myself, my wife and two daughters, and we never have run out of hot water.
If you get a direct water heater, you will have to supply it with a heat source. In my neck of the woods, nat. gas is not available, and electric is too expensive, leaving only propane as an alternative. So we replaced the propane water heater years ago.
YMMV, depending on your circumstances.
 

Snoonyb

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they suck.........
An acquaintance converted a 3 bdrm ranch to a 5 bdrm tudor with 7 bathrooms, master suite, maids quarters and guest suite. In the early 90's changed from 1 80gal to a Noritz on demand, reduced the nat. gas use by 40%, and has never looked back.
 

frodo

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An acquaintance converted a 3 bdrm ranch to a 5 bdrm tudor with 7 bathrooms, master suite, maids quarters and guest suite. In the early 90's changed from 1 80gal to a Noritz on demand, reduced the nat. gas use by 40%, and has never looked back.
ok, fair enough,
lets look at cost

tankless is twice as much to buy up front than a tank type

tank type requires little to no maintenance, flushing every year can be done by home owner

tankless, requires it to be flushed by a licensed tech twice a year
or warranty is void

my gas bil for nat gas is around $20.00 a month,
you say you can save 40% ok lets make it 50...easier on the math

20 a month multiply by 12..$240 a year
50% savings is $120 a year you pay for gas

cost of tech to mainain unit twice a year as per warranty
400 bucks
400 subtract the 120 you saved $280. in the red per year




also,,the units only last 8 o 10 years as opposed to 15 /20 on a tank type
these are just my thoughts, not argueing, i just do not like them
I spend a lot of time switching home owners back to tank types because of the sandwich problem
 

Snoonyb

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That may be your experience, but I taught the owner, and I give them all the option, how to do the maintenance himself.

Success is being smarter than what you are working on.
 

frodo

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That may be your experience, but I taught the owner, and I give them all the option, how to do the maintenance himself.

Success is being smarter than what you are working on.
if he is doing maintance himself

that is a hole in one :thbup::thbup::thbup:
 

drabina

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Thanks for all the replies. Direct swap for indirect water heater would be the easiest but I am still contemplating standard gas water heater. New gas line shouldn't be a problem as it already runs across the whole basement to the boiler and dryer. The issue may be the flue if I can't reuse the existing one from the boiler.

As to the efficiency, I read that the indirect ones are more efficient but somehow I am still not sold on the boiler running in the summertime. Basement has no A/C and currently in wintertime the air temperature is very high. Can't imagine what it will be during hot jersey summer.
 

nealtw

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Thanks for all the replies. Direct swap for indirect water heater would be the easiest but I am still contemplating standard gas water heater. New gas line shouldn't be a problem as it already runs across the whole basement to the boiler and dryer. The issue may be the flue if I can't reuse the existing one from the boiler.

As to the efficiency, I read that the indirect ones are more efficient but somehow I am still not sold on the boiler running in the summertime. Basement has no A/C and currently in wintertime the air temperature is very high. Can't imagine what it will be during hot jersey summer.
So have you considered insulating the room the boiler is in with venting to the outside that can be open in the summer?
 

drabina

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So have you considered insulating the room the boiler is in with venting to the outside that can be open in the summer?
I was thinking about that. Again, I am not an expert on HVAC but if I vent the hot air to the outside, wouldn't it draw either conditioned air from the house or humid air thru the windows/cracks? I may be replacing one problem (heat) with another (loss of a/c efficiency or humidity).
 

nealtw

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I was thinking about that. Again, I am not an expert on HVAC but if I vent the hot air to the outside, wouldn't it draw either conditioned air from the house or humid air thru the windows/cracks? I may be replacing one problem (heat) with another (loss of a/c efficiency or humidity).
You do benefit from the heat off the boiler in the winter time so perhaps just a bathroom fan in the ceiling to run only when the boiler is running in the summer time.
 

frodo

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1 and 1/2 times the size of the largest flue opening


your flue pipe will have to be resized, if the largest apliances has a 6'' flue

then the new flue will have to be 9'' or round up to 10'', they do not make 9''

and, if the furnce is a positive air flow [fan assisted]

then it has to tied in below the water heater..see image

CommonVent1Fixed.jpg
 
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slownsteady

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If your boiler is throwing off so much heat, then that could change the equation. I put in the BoilerMate when I replaced my boiler and it is still fairly efficient and well insulated (doesn't throw much excess heat).
Which leads me to ask, what kind of boiler do you have and how old is it?
 

drabina

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Which leads me to ask, what kind of boiler do you have and how old is it?
I have Dunkirk gas boiler model XEB-5. I have no idea how old is it but could be from late 80s.

I bought the house in November so the heating was already on. Part of the basement that has the boiler and exposed heat pipes is very warm. The adjacent finished basement is normal temperature but wouldn't need the heat on if we keep the doors open between the two sections. Of course the part of the house directly above the basement with boiler is also noticeably warmer due to the heat rising up.
 

slownsteady

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I've noticed on my setup that I can detect more heat loss from the pipes than the boiler itself; It's pretty easy to insulate pipes in a basement...if they are exposed.
 

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