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Installing new indirect water heater: stainless vs. hydrastone?

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Hi folks! I am a complete layman, not super handy, yet still own a home in Fairfield County, Connecticut ... and we’d like to install a new indirect water heater in the house. There’s just a very old oil burner and for the obvious reasons, we want a separate water heater.

So we’ve started to solicit estimates. The first two we’ve received are very different and we’d love some informed opinions on why we’d go with one vs. the other. The two recommended so far are:

35 gallon Alliance SL Hydrastone-lined heater
45 gallon SuperStor

The person who recommended the Alliance said it provides more hot water without interruption than a much bigger “regular” tank.

They are fairly close in terms of pricing.

I’m not going to spend months fretting over this, just thought there might be an obvious advantage to one approach. We just want adequate hot water for a four-person household with two bathrooms.

Thanks for your help!

Comments

  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,766
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    SuperStor is better and if it should fail there will be no excuses
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 930
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    Why is Superstore better?
    Stainless steel tanks are susceptible to high chlorides in the water. Cloridies will attack SS tanks. The Burnham Alliance is a stone lined tank and it is built by Vaughn who has the same model under their own name. Both of these units are good I would go with a stone lined over SS. Check your water quality first. F W Webb sells its own private label indirect water heater called the Purepro built by Amtrol. This unit has a plastic lining where the water is in the tank. Your contractor can get a price on this unit at F W Webb. Vaughn now has a plastic indirect water heater called the Featherweight. There are models out there that are glass lined. Many good indirect water heater on the market. Get your water checked first plus Check for cloridies.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,700
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    What kind of stainless are those tanks? "Stainless Steel" can mean a lot if things.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Canucker
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,569
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    I absolutely agree that water quality should play into this. I usually see concrete tanks when water quality is an issue.

    That said, I prefer stainless.
    You should also consider the coil design. Some of the more compact ones will scale given the right (or wrong) water.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,539
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    For what it's worth the Vaughn stone lined electrics, there are a ton of them around here seem to last forever. 20 years is not uncommon. The electric utilities used them as rentals
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,322
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    Not to be a difficult child (oh right, did I hear someone say?) but is there a good reason you haven't considered an oil-fired stand alone hot water heater? You have the oil in the house... one of the places I care for has an independent oil fired hot water heater (the main heat is steam) and it has lasted well -- and provides all the hot water needed. It's a 32 gallon unit, but with 104,000 BTUh input you'll not run out.

    At a very different price point, but of interest if you are concerned about energy conservation, are hybrid heat pump/electric water heaters. They don't have the super fast recovery of the oil units -- but for moderate use they are very efficient indeed.

    Just some other choices to think about.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,539
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    @Jamie Hall , I know you like oil fired HW. I haven't done one in a while but from what I remember the price point on those has pushed them out of site. Plus if it's not a replacement electrical, flue, oil line etc. I know we can't talk price but I am guessing double the cost of an indirect install. Potential flue issues if not large enough
    JacquesD23
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,322
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    @Jamie Hall , I know you like oil fired HW. I haven't done one in a while but from what I remember the price point on those has pushed them out of site. Plus if it's not a replacement electrical, flue, oil line etc. I know we can't talk price but I am guessing double the cost of an indirect install. Potential flue issues if not large enough

    Quite. They are more expensive, and the flue could be a killer. Just a thought. One of the other places I care for has one of the hybrid heat pump units. Very nice. Good on energy. Not so good on the pocketbook to buy...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • NY_Rob
    NY_Rob Member Posts: 1,370
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    If you're on city water- you should be able to obtain your suppliers "annual water quality report". Look up your chlorides level, compare that to the requirements for water quality for the SS Ultra. If you're within spec, the Stainless should last a long time.
  • DC123
    DC123 Member Posts: 69
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    Why is the assumption that stainless should last longer than thermoplastic, glass, or stone-lined indirects?
  • NY_Rob
    NY_Rob Member Posts: 1,370
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    Thermoplastic sounds interesting, has it been around for enough time to have a track record?
  • DC123
    DC123 Member Posts: 69
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    Good point. But surely stone has been around long enough to compare?
  • NY_Rob
    NY_Rob Member Posts: 1,370
    edited January 2018
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    When I was looking in to indirect tanks (spring 2016) for my mod-con- I recall reading of cracks in the stone liners. Of course those are isolated incidents, but who the heck wants to lug a couple of hundred pound tank (Burnham 50gal stone lined tank is 313lbs) up/down basement stairs if they don't have too, even if it is covered under warranty. In theory, without cracks... the stone lined tanks could last decades? With decent water quality the SS tanks should last years too.
  • DC123
    DC123 Member Posts: 69
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    Will be very interested in how the new Vaughn plastic tanks hold up. Those are all <100 lbs!
    Canuckerbob eckNY_Rob
  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 930
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    There are pros and cons to IDWH that are Stainless Steel, Stone Lined, plastic or glass lined.
    Read the warranty on the models you are considering.
    I just read the new Vaughn Featherweight and that has a 10 year tank warranty. Home owner can make it into a lifetime tank warranty by sending in a check direct to Vaughn for $199 within 30 days of installation.
    If the tank failed under 10 years (say it lasts 8 years and it fails) you get a new tank (must pay labor to get it replaced) and at that time you can pay I believe $199 and then the tank would have another 12 year warranty.
    Read the warranty fine print. I believe if you purchase the lifetime warranty right away with a Vaughn IDWH you might be able to transfer the warranty to a new home owners if you sell your house. Read the fine print of any warranty.

    A Vaughn 35 gallon IDWH will take care of two showers without any trouble.
    Store the water in an IDWH at 140 - 160 degrees F and use a good mixing valve to mix down to 120 Degrees F going out to your faucets.
    A 30 or 35 gallon IDWH can produce a lot of hot water for your showers.

    From what I know when IDWH are installed the most common mistake is running to small of a supply and return line from the boiler. Some IDWH have 3/4” fittings so contractors run 3/4” copper and not 1” copper. 3/4” copper delivers 40,000 BTU where 1” copper delivers 72,000 BTU. So to get the proper amount of BTU to the coil in the IDWH you need to run the right size copper from the boiler to the IDWH coil.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,539
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    Pretty much any indirect needs to be piped in 1" People that know nothing about heat transfer or flow rates use 3/4" cause they just look at the tapping size