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Oil fired hot water vs electric

The hot water storage tank(40 gallons) in my house has to be replaced (the third one in 13 years)Our domestic water is from town wells-very hard. Here's my 3 questions.
1.do I just replace the tank and continue using my oil fired boiler for my hot water,
2.scrap the tank and use the coil directly from the boiler( one daughter is away at college and her younger sister will be in college next year that will just leave my wife and I).
3. install a 50 gal. electric hot water heater. There is no gas service in my neighborhood. I know that the initial cost will be high for the new efficient electric heater but over time will the cost of oil vs the cost electricity be more economical or do you think it would be more expensive?
Marty in Massachusetts

Re: Oil fired hot water vs electric


It sounds like your service techs are really missing the problem on this one; perhaps it's time to replace them with a new service person.

What are they saying is the cause for the tank failures???

There's no way this should be happening so frequently--one of these tanks may still be in warranty, & often the coil can be removed & cleaned.

I assume you're talking about an indirect hot water heater, and that its central coil is clogging up with calcium from the hard water.

The other 2 options you mention are not good---the hw coil in the boiler (item 2) is only 3/4" thick & will clog up with calcium even faster than the indirect.

You'll probably have the same problem with an electric hwh & pay much more for the high elec. rates to boot.

Nor do I think you should let anyone talk you into installing a tankless water heater system--they also are prone to clog with minerals in areas that have hard water.

Perhaps the installer has put in what is known as a "coil type" indirect hot water heater---this type of ihwh has a coil that circulates the boiler hot water thru the tank to pick up the heat for the hot water domestic supply.

I assume this is where you are having the problem???

The coil inside the IHWH keeps clogging up with calcium & they have to replace the whole tank???

If this is the case, I would insist they instead try a cleaning, or install a "stainless steel tank within a tank" style of IHWH.

This will make it more difficult for the hard water to clog the tank & it should last a lot longer.

It may be necessary to have a water softener assembly installed on your incoming supply line if you continue to have problems.

Have the installers mentioned anything about what's causing the problem??

Have they offered to try & run a mineral reducing solution thru the tank coil???

Stainless steel "tank within a tank" IHWHs are made by Triangle Tube Phase 3, Weil Mclain Gold, Lochinvar Squire, TFI Everhot, Viessmann indirect, and several others.

You can Google all of these indirects to get more info.


Re: Oil fired hot water vs electric

Nashua tech- Thanks for the reply. The domestic water we have in town( Norwell) has a reputation . A few years ago the water dept. did upgrade the filter systems and it has been better but the water is still very hard. Every one in town has the same problem. They know that their tanks will only last 5-10 years max. I did check on the warranty and the first two tanks were covered, had a ten year total. The first one was replaced in '97 so I'll have to pay for this one. The fittings and the tank itself has a pinhole leak so it will definitely have to be replaced. After doing research and taking into account all my options, cost, usage etc..
I have decided to just replace the tank and stay with my oil fired system. If they ever put gas on the street I will be the first in line to change over.
Thanks again

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