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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    13

    Indirect or electric

    Ok so my Amtrol 41 gal indirect boiler mate has started to leak from the top at the 6yr mark no longer under warranty. I was told that it has a gasket between the heat exchanger that may be replaced and it may solve the problem. However because it will cost $$$ or more to have it done and it may not guarantee that something will not go wrong after that I've been told to replace it. An indirect tank is $$$ plus. The cost of oil $3.60 per gal here in Massachusetts is also making me wonder if I should go for an electric water heater instead. Need some guidance. Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by jpsmith1cm; 11-08-2012 at 09:39 PM. Reason: Pricing

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,567

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Altmar, New York, United States
    Posts
    4,584
    what did your heating contractor suggest? it is hard for us to say with such little info.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,721
    How many people?

    I know a lot of people w oil use electric for summer, indirect in winter.

    If electric offers enough hw, go for it. Or switch to propane combi?
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    730
    When deciding on the fuel source, for space or domestic hot water heating, one first has to collect the relative cost of fuel in his area. Break down the cost per therm for oil and electricity and then compare the cost of installed equipment. Electric boilers and water heaters are often cheaper to install, but more expensive to operate. The average conventional water heat will last about 10 years, but the average indirect, about 30 - look to the Europeans and Canadians for a well insulated stainless steel indirect water heaters. Most of the indirect water heaters available today are very well insulated so standby losses are low.

    We just installed a Trin & Stor stainless steel indirect here in Minneapolis yesterday and noticed the lifetime warranty in the installation package. We don't sell equipment based on warranties, but it give you an idea.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    13
    @jpsmith Sorry I was in the zone typing and forgot the rules.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,721
    Here's a calculator. http://bit.ly/fuelbtucost

    (For heat pumps put 250-500% efficiency into the electric field. For HP Water heater I'm not sure I'd go higher than 200%)

    I love indirects, but from a cost effectiveness perspective I don't think oil, or even propane using a mod/con can touch electric when you factor cost of energy (pretty much =/=) and the cost of a really good indirect.

    Combustion efficiency may not fairly represent getting btu to your dhw. I would assume a lower delivered efficiency due to cycling losses and high temp requirements for hot water.

    Clearly this OP has already experienced that some indirects do NOT have ability to use extended depreciation period to justify added capital expense.
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Long Island, NY
    Posts
    280
    Quote Originally Posted by tedkidd View Post
    Here's a calculator. http://bit.ly/fuelbtucost

    (For heat pumps put 250-500% efficiency into the electric field. For HP Water heater I'm not sure I'd go higher than 200%)

    I love indirects, but from a cost effectiveness perspective I don't think oil, or even propane using a mod/con can touch electric when you factor cost of energy (pretty much =/=) and the cost of a really good indirect.

    Combustion efficiency may not fairly represent getting btu to your dhw. I would assume a lower delivered efficiency due to cycling losses and high temp requirements for hot water.

    Clearly this OP has already experienced that some indirects do NOT have ability to use extended depreciation period to justify added capital expense.

    Try it with these rates PAGE 5 http://www.lipower.org/pdfs/account/rates_resi.pdf

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,721
    is RIGHT! I can't make heads or tails of it. What's a 1000kw month total cost? How about 2000?

    If the cost is more than 15c per kw and you have good solar exposure, stop renting your energy source and become an energy producer. Solar costs between 10-20c per kw installed, the cost is fixed, and after 15 years it's paid for. The only cost after that is maintenance...
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Long Island, NY
    Posts
    280

    This is Easier

    334/1721 = 0.194

    Name:  LIPA.jpg
Views: 93
Size:  28.7 KB

    By the way I have an indirect (oil no gas available)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,721
    Looks like nearly 20c kwh.

    Do you have good open solar exposure? You have enough consumption to justify a decent sized system. I've heard people at your consumption getting solar at the 12c area.

    Put another way, you own your source of production, and instead of paying $300 to the electric company, you pay them $20 and pay the bank $180.

    Eventually the $180 goes away.
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    149
    There are benefits to using indirect water heaters with certain types of boilers. If your boiler is a high efficiency model, then heating domestic water can help give the low return temperatures required to make the boiler reach its peak efficiency. Using an indirect water heater in the Summer months allows the boiler to stay in use throughout the year, which is better for the boiler than standing idle. Using an indirect water heater reduces standby losses in cast iron and other high mass material boilers in the Winter months, instead of giving up as much heat to the air and up the stack the off time is used to heat the domestic water.

    So if you go with electric water heater add in efficiency losses to the boiler during heating season and potential maintenance such as descaling the waterside. I believe the reduction is approximately 20% you can figure when combining the energy requirements for creating both domestic and heating hot water using the same boiler when designing an indirect system. (I may be wrong with this, I usually do not reduce the boiler unless necessary and use the full combined load).

    Check out Triangle Tube or Weil McLain indirects (Triangle Tube makes the indirects for WM). They have a limited lifetime warranty against leaks in residential use.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    13
    Ok so I'm still dealing with this dilema. I tried replacing the gasket between the heat exchanger and tank but the thing is still leaking. I have looked at a Geospring Hybrid electric water heater that I may be able to get the full amount $$$$ rebate via the electric company. However I will need to have someone wire a 220 line from my panel in order to get that set up. Or do I just stick to teh indirect and pay $$$$ for a new tank.
    I'm still confused on which will be more cost effective in the long run. This link says to go electric
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/c...ic-tank.89754/

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