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Steam Boiler preheating domestic how water heater?
We bought our home in January. It appears that someone once tried to use the steam boiler to preheat the water going to the hot water heater. The first photo shows the pipe from the left (the upper pipe)that heats up when the boiler comes on and then heats all of the water going into the cold water intake for the hot water heater (that is the lower pipe coming towards the camera, I was standing next to Hot Water heater). The whole system is circular as the second photo you can see shows the hot water exit pipe (from the left) connects with the boiler (pipe from the right) at a T that goes up and becomes the pipe on the left of the first photo. When the hot water only is running through the pipe the upper pipe does NOT heat up and does not heat the cold water intake but when the boiler comes on it does heat the pipe and heat the cold water intake water.
But some mornings we have no hot water in the tank. My theory is that as the boiler runs all night it heats the cold water intake water and the hot water heater does not turn on because it thinks it is full of hot water. Does that make sense?
Should I turn the valve off that connects the boiler to the cold water intake pipe?
This seems like a bad hack of an idea. Or is there a valid reason to have connected this way?