Home>Discussions>INSULATION & HVAC>Electric Hot Water Heater vs. Oil Burner Hot Water
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Indirect is the Way

I found this thread to be pretty insteresting. Just wanted to chime in some other issues that were not addressed.

That 700 Amtrol Indirect is the low end of their line and only carries a 5yr warranty. Generally a 40 gallon indirect that carries a minimum of a limited lifetime warranty is going to cost retail a thousand dollar bill. Now add the piping, zone valve or circulator and most likely a zone control to give the indirect priority, the additional electrical work and the possible installation of a thermal expansion tank that may be necessary and the 2,700 bucks is not that far off.

There are also other items that add to the install. How about that boiler aquastat that now needs to be changed on the boiler to the proper aquastat.

The use of an indirect is the way to go. There jacket loss is much less than a tank style heater, their recovery is hands down quicker and the warranties exceed water heaters.

An indirect that is installed properly will provide years of hot water. If you are looking to cut down oil cost one of the better ideas is to install a Beckett Heat Manager or similar simple control that allows better burner cycles while purgeing out the heat sitting in the boiler out to the heating system where you can use it instead of sending it up the chimmney and out the jacket. You may also want to do a heat loss of the home and you may find that you can have the boiler down-fired.

There is a bigger picture when you are looking to save on fuel.

Re: Electric Hot Water Heater vs. Oil Burner Hot Water

I am looking into possibly puttin an indirect water heater. According to the hvac guy it's about $2400 installed. With a mclien type I'm sure they are using one of the top ones which are around 1400 but that's still about a 1000 install probably a little less. Is this reasonable, and I currently have a on demand water heater coil. Is it worth changing, since we will be going from a 2 bath to a 3 full bath?

Re: Electric Hot Water Heater vs. Oil Burner Hot Water


I still think it would be advantageous for you to go with the indirect hot water heater.

Other factors you should consider would be that what you have now (a small hw heating coil inside the boiler) is totally inadequate to meet the DHW (domestic hot water) needs of a family of your size, especially if you plan to expand your bathrooms; Google "hot water peak hourly usage" to find a worksheet to compute how many gallons of HW your family needs (usually during a "rush hour") for showers, washing, dish cleaning, etc.

The previous posts in this thread have noted the lower cost of the Amtrol Boiler Mate Indirect, which costs approx $700 plus installation; I have installed a number of these units and have had no troubles; the other units have a stainless steel tank within a tank & thus cost approx $1400 plus install; as previously noted, the install requires a zone valve or zone circulator ($100), perhaps a control box ($100), perhaps a new aquastat ($300), wiring, labor, and the $2400 doesn't seem that far off, especially for the higher end models, which are slightly more efficient than the Boiler Mate; talk to the installer about changing your current aquastat, which, because it controls a tankless coil, must keep the boiler at 140 degrees 24/7; the indirect will allow you to have a "cold start" aquastat installed, which will save a lot of fuel in warmer months & the summer when there is no longer a need to fire the boiler just to keep the DHW hot.

Whatever one you choose, you're buying a heat exchanger that uses the hot boiler water to heat the DHW----these units have a track record of usually lasting DECADES before they exhibit any problems; in addition they have no burner (oil,gas, etc) of their own and no flue to waste fuel & require venting.

The customers I've installed this unit for are elated with its care-free operation, and the advantage of never running out of hot water.

So try to think of the long term, where you will pay an up-front cost for installation now, but can expect to have all the hot water your family needs, and be reasonably assured that you won't have any breakdowns with this unit for years to come.

Always get at least 3 separate estimates from installers in your area; the install estimate is liable to be considerably lower with some of the estimates you get if you take the time and effort to get a number of them before you buy.

Re: Electric Hot Water Heater vs. Oil Burner Hot Water

Well then te next question is, is it worth getting one of the more expensive ones?
The only thing I've found ****** that shows any performance difference is that some like McLean only loose 1/2 degree per hour which is great, but say you use the sink and take 2 gallons or 5 will that kick off the boiler as well? And if it does then I may as well get a cheaper tank since my wife is home and uses it every 3-5 hours at least unless she's out but even then she'll be back within 6 hours. So 6 degrees of heat loss I wouldn't think it'd kick off.

Re: Electric Hot Water Heater vs. Oil Burner Hot Water

It's me again, we ended up not changing the hot water heater during the project. I just couldn't get my wife to go for it. We now have 3 1/2 baths. And we're used to only using 1 major device at a time. So it's not bad, but I'm sure this will change as my kids get older. In any case the new question is what do you guys think of the heat pump water heaters?
I'd like to see if I could find a indirect water tank with a heat pump. Thus it could use the oil to heat it up initially and whenever there's a big drop in the hot water temp, and the heat pump when it's not as much ie, a shower & the dishwasher may turn on the oil, but using the sink/and a toilet may not.
In any case I'm curious if anyone has seen this, and/or would it be better to switch to just heatpump/electric. (the downside here is I'm in NE PA, it gets cold in the winter, the basement stays at a nice 60 degrees (and warmer near the oil furnace. But with using the oil less, it wouldn't be as warm and I could see the electric going up a fair amount between that and the heat pump for the AC.
So like I said,oil indirect vs heatpump / or is there a hybrid out there? And no Gas isn't available in my area

Re: Electric Hot Water Heater vs. Oil Burner Hot Water

I switched from tankless in boiler to MS-40 after the first of this year. Got a quote from oil company and thought it was high.

Since I can do most plumbing myself I was going to try DIY. I think the materials cost me more than I imagined , about $400, because the cost of copper anything is up. I purchased the MS-40 and the zone parts from a plumber friend and paid his prices. The fittings and other copper parts I shopped the big box stores. I also put unions on each connection along with isolation valves so I can easily purge the loop.

Added Taco ZVC404 as the controller with two Taco 571 zone valves. The priority is for the MS-40. Before the MS-40 I had the aquastat at 160LL and 180HL, after it is 140 and 160. After I was satisfied the boiler was working as I wanted I finished up the work with the addition of an outdoor reset module as the aquastat was ODR ready.


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