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Go with a booster tank or new electric water heater?

Joseph_4 Member Posts: 274
I have a customer with oilheat with a domestic hot water coil. He currently has an electic water heater which has started leaking. The way it was set up (12 years ago) is that the hot out of the  domestic coil is the feed in to the cold side on the 50 gallon electric water heater.  A pump circulates water back to boiler if  water in electric hot water heater drops below 100 degrees. I'm used to seeing this set up with a regular booster tank. never saw with electric hot water heater.  It didn't look like the wiring was right. so I tested it with a meter. There was only one hot leg 120v. The water heater is a 240v water heater. Its never been messed with.  That means it was never wired right. He tells me he has never had a lack of hot water even with multiple showers one after the next. Now, strange as it sounds.(at my local plumbing supply)  A 50 gallon electric hot water heater is $350. A 50 Gallon booster tank is $445. I'm wondering if the old company put in an electric hot water tank simply because it was cheaper and didn't care to wire properly or was there a reason they put electric water heater? What would you put in?



  • Al Letellier_21
    Al Letellier_21 Member Posts: 402
    booster tank or water heater

    You didn't mention how big the boiler is. We see a lot of set up like you mention up here in Maine, and yes the electric tank is cheaper but it allows one to shut down the boiler in summer months. You would have to have a separate aquastat of this kind of set up, using the tank thermostats for the electric elements, but that is done fairly easily. If this is a small residential boiler, I would go with the booster tank.
  • Ron Jr._3
    Ron Jr._3 Member Posts: 603
    We use electric water heaters

    as booster tanks quite often . They are prewired 220 volts but we switch it around so the lower elements aquastat controls a bronze circulator with 120 . Just like the original setup at you customer's house . The price difference could be due to the aquabooster having more tappings in the tank to optimize being heated with coil water . Some come with the circ too .

    We install our aquaboosters with 4 pipes now if the house has 3/4 piping or larger ( like a System 2000 tank ) . Less of a pressure drop to the faucets than force feeding the water through a 1/2 inch coil . .   
  • Greg Maxwell
    Greg Maxwell Member Posts: 212
    Electric Tanks

    Electric tanks were always used in this application in my opinion because they are more economical to buy. A more permantnt solution would be to incorporate an indirect water heater, doing away with the coil completely. (dont take it out of the boiler, leave it in) Yes, it will require more piping to begin with, but when you are done, your customer will have a much better situation. I dont know what the boiler is, but if it has a low enough water content, you could run it as a cold start. Even if you cant, you could run the low limit down to 120 or so, to maintain some water temp on the boiler to prevent much of a lag.
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