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Summer water heating solution

Looking for a summer water heating solution. I am considering an indirect heating solution with a electric back-up. An indirect is a great heating season solution but keeping the boiler on all summer is a waste. My fuel choices are electric or oil, no gas available. Anyone have experience with these? I know that the best solution is probably a HPWH and PV panels but I am not well situated for solar.


  • the_donut
    the_donut Member Posts: 374
    Electric is expensive but easy to maintain. We have hard water in my neck of the woods and scale builds up pretty quickly from the high temperature of the elements so flush the tank every year or so.

    Another thing I dont like about electric is the slow recovery time. Gas generally recovers twice as fast as electric, unless the electric is a tankless and your supply water temps from well/city is warm. Around here water is 45 or so out of the ground to 70*+ rise takes a while.
  • Jon_blaney
    Jon_blaney Member Posts: 275
    We have good water here. Tankless electric would require a significant electrical service upgrade.
  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 929
    Vaughn has an indirect water heater that they can put an electric element in it. You can run the indirect water heater from the boiler during the heating season and electric element during the non heating season. Also if the boiler goes down during the heating season you can still make domestic hot water with the electric element in the indirect water heater.
    Where are you located at?
  • Jon_blaney
    Jon_blaney Member Posts: 275
    I am in RI. I actually just e-mailed Vaughn . Do you have experience with this type of setup?
  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,334
    @Jon_blaney, you have to use a fuel source one way or another. Don’t get caught up thinking your boiler is “on all summer.” It’s not heating your home, it’s just satisfying your domestic hot water needs. A Btu is a Btu no matter the fuel source. Keep it simply: indirect off your oil fired boiler.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,725
    I'll +1 @Danny Scully. Do the math, especially with a boiler like the EK, or any triple pass with a well insulated indirect & piping. If your boiler ran 1/2 hour a day to make DHW, and your firing at 1gph (probably less unless you're in a large home), that's about $1.50 a day, max $45.00 a month. Electric won't be cheaper unless you have really cheap rates. I'd only consider the 'electric' element route if I could tie that into some solar...but the cost...oh the cost.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,147
    And I'll agree with @Danny Scully and @STEVEusaPA -- and add one other comment. Occasionally heating the boiler will reduce condensation and corrosion in it.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England