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Propane hot water heater or boiler????

david_10 Member Posts: 1
My home has 2 zones of heat pumps, 1st floor and 2nd floor. The back up (emergency heat) for these systems is hydronic which is sourced from a propane hot water heater which works well. The circulation pumps are located in each respective air handling unit. I believe the hot water heater is an efficient model and is about 9 years old (house was built in 1995).

I am not fond of heat pumps and my question is...Am I better off leaving my current installation alone and running it on emergency heat whenever the heat pumps are not producing sufficient heat, or should I consider changing out the hot water heater to a true boiler with a domestic hot water coil/exchanger setup? The existing propane setup is convenient, since the house is already setup for it, however, I would consider a fuel oil alternative if it is sensible to do so.

What advantages will the boiler provide to me that the hot water heater cannot. I like the current simplicity of the existing water heater setup, but will consider any options.

Thank you in advance for any thoughts you may have...



  • Joe_13
    Joe_13 Member Posts: 201
    If you're not getting enough warm air

    a boiler would be a solution since the HWH will max out at 140 degrees. A boiler can push 180-200 to the hydro coil on those deep chill days we've been having. Your HWH is also near it's life expectancy, a good boiler should last at least double that. Unless you have a large underground LP tank and you can do your fill up off season, most will tell you LP is expensive to run. Depending where you live, oil or nat gas might be cheaper.
  • John Mills_3
    John Mills_3 Member Posts: 221
    WH efficiency

    Most water heaters top off around 65% efficient where the least efficient boiler of today is at least 80% efficient going up from there.
  • jim lockard
    jim lockard Member Posts: 1,059

    How are you venting that water heater David ?. How would you vent the boiler?
This discussion has been closed.