Water Heater as source for Baseboard Heat
I'm hoping you guys can help me get a handle on this...
We bought our house about two years ago. Main heat souce is gas furnace hot air, but house has an addition (family room 16'x16' and bathroom 7'x6') that used a hot water heater with a circulator pump to provide heat to baseboards (22' of baseboard in family room and 5' of baseboard in the bathroom).
The first winter the water heater/baseboard system did a good job of heating the room, but I don't think it was very efficient (high gas bills). We wanted to upgrade the system as the water heater was old (probably 20 yrs or so) because I was afraid of tank failure (it had a lot of rust), but money was tight, so we just turned it off and used an electric oil-filled radiator to heat the space in the begining of this season.
When we could afford it last month, I had a heating contractor come out and give me a recommendation. He told me even the smallest boiler would be too big for my application and told me the best bet would be to just swap the water heater for a new one. ( The old heater was a 30 gallon 40k btu unit) He recommended a 40 gallon 40kbtu unit. I asked if there would be a difference in the max water temp between the old and new units and was told no.
Three weeks ago they put the new unit in and replaced my old thermostat for the room with a new programmable unit.
Here's the rub...
Even with the water heater set at high, the room won't get as warm as it did with the old heater. ( I even insulated the lines (36 ft total) that run through the unheated crawl space under the room with no increase in heat output. They were un-insulated with the old heater with no problems.
They came out today and checked the whole system and basically said it was fine and as good as I can expect.
My question is, did the old heater have a higher temp output?
I asked the guys if they new what temp the new heater would produce and they said they were unsure but it was probably around 130f and that was plenty.
When I asked if a unit that put out higher temp water woul help my situation, I was told no, that my baseboard would still only put out the same amount of heat no matter how hot the water flowing through the pipes was..something about the fins being heat-saturated. Which I find hard to believe.
After they left I did some reasearch...
Bradford White says the max temp for a residential heater is 160f and my old heater was probaly rated at 180f. They said their combination unit with the heat exchanger and their commercial units both do 180f (My heating contractor told me that both the combi and the commercial units would be the same max as my residential unit)
Did I get hosed?
Is the heater insufficient for my heating needs?
Sorry about the length of this post, but I really need to figure out what to do.