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Thread: using electric hot water tank as backup to oil fired indirect water heater

  1. #1

    Default using electric hot water tank as backup to oil fired indirect water heater

    I'm in the process of replacing a 50+ year oil boiler with a new 3 pass boiler. The new boiler configuration will include a new indirect hot water tank (SuperStor 60) to provide hot water for the house.

    When I bought the house recently, the previous owner had installed a relatively new electric hot water heater tank (can't be more than 3 yrs old) which is currently providing the hot water for the house.

    I am thinking whether it makes sense (practically and economically) to keep the current electric hot water heater as a backup to the oil fired indirect tank that is being installed.

    I've been told it will cost about $400 to $500 to move, repipe, and rewire the current electric tank to sit parallel to the new indirect hot water tank. The electric hot water tank would sit empty and would only be filled and used for emergencies if the oil fired indirect tank or the boiler goes does and cannot produce hot water.

    Does it make sense to consider this or should I just junk the current electric hot water tank and forget about using it as a emergency backup.

    Any input and advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    Today's boilers are pretty reliable. I'm not sure it is worth the cost to keep that intact.

    One thing you could do that may make sense (if you can leave it where it is) is to use it as a tempering tank - leave it off, but use it's output as the input to the indirect. In the winter, you'd have a warmer supply of water to heat. If you plumbed a bypass, you could turn it on and use it for your hot water if the boiler died. Still probably not worth the cost. It might make a difference, depending on your electric rates.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    DIY Member msgale's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006


    I f the boiler failed, would you take a hot shower in a freezing house?

    Andif it's cold enough, for long enough, you would need to drain all the house pipes, anyway.

  4. #4
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Default heater

    A water heater that is left empty for any period of time is a candidate for severe rusting. The anode rod cannot protect it from rusting, and the moist air inside it will encourage failure.

  5. #5
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008


    When I drink I should not post.
    When I drink I should not post.
    When I drink I should not post.
    Last edited by Thatguy; 07-10-2009 at 04:15 PM.


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