Pros and Cons of Indirect Water Heater

Indirect water heaters don’t use gas or electric heating elements to heat water, instead, they use heat transfer. Heat transfer coils are used to run between the furnace or boiler and the tank, the liquid inside the coil is heated and then cool down in the water tank, before cycling back through the source of heat. In the right environment, an indirect water heater can be an extremely effective water heating solution for your home. If you are considering installing it, I suggest you take time to learn a thing or two about it including the pros and cons of indirect water heater.

What Is an Indirect Water Heater?

Generally speaking, an indirect water tank relies on an external source of heat of its own electric or gas heating elements. It uses a storage tank and an external heating source to heat up the water. As a result, indirect water heaters don’t usually have heating elements stuffed inside the storage tank. They use your home heating systems such as a boiler and furnace to warm up the water. This arrangement is known as a combination or integrated heating system since two dissimilar units combine to work together.

How Does an Indirect Water Heater Work?

This method of using heat transfer is quickly becoming popular in residential and business properties. However, bear in mind that an indirect water heater is not suitable for houses. However, if your home can suit this system you can enjoy a wide range of benefits, some of which we will talk about in this article later.
In summary, this is how an indirect water heater works:

  • Uses an outside source of heat (boiler furnace)
  • The water tank does not contain heating elements
  • Features an integrated heating system
  • Works under unique conditions

Indirect water heaters need a water tank to store heated water. The hot water is heated via hot transfer. This is made possible by linking up a sequence of heat transfer coils along water pipes between the heat source and the water storage tank. The fluid passes through the coils, which heat up the water and then cool off in the tank. At the heat source, the water turns into steam due to high temperatures, but when it cycles back to the tank, the available cool water takes away the heat from the coils, thus condensing the team to liquid, which is recycled back to the heat source to continue the procedure.

It is important to note that not all furnaces can be used in indirect water heaters because some of the earlier versions are not compatible with modern HVAC systems. Because of this, boilers are more commonly used in this system because they are compatible with most modern HVCA systems and extremely effective because of the intensity of their steam heating.

Since the storage tank also stores energy, the boiler or furnace will not have to turn on and off regularly. This can help you save energy.

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What are the Pros and Cons of Indirect Water Heater?

Let’s continue to find out the pros and cons of indirect water heater:

Pros of indirect water heating

When used under proper circumstances, an indirect water heating system can have many benefits, including:

1. Increase efficiency

Using an indirect water heater allows you to save on energy. The system reduces the amount of heat loss substantially, thus making it a more efficient method for water heating in our homes. This can also be witnessed in the reduced running or furnace or broiler. Indirect water heaters are extremely energy-efficient and significantly reduce heat waste.

2. Reduce flue losses

Another benefit of an indirect water heater is that it reduces flue gas losses. Bear in mind that flue gas losses are the number one cause of heat loss in traditional boilers, thus an indirect water heating system can be a major improvement.

3. Easy to install

Despite featuring a series of integrated systems, an indirect water heating system is pretty much easy and convenient to set up provide your home has the right conditions to accommodate the systems. Moreover, they also don’t take up too much space in the house.

4. Affordable compared to the direct heating system

In addition to being more energy-efficient, indirect heating systems don’t require extra fuel lines or venting. Since they don’t have independent costs, they are more cost-effective compared to other forms of water heating. Because they use a heating system that is already there, it means that they can save huge amounts in the long run.

5. Low maintenance

Once you install it, the indirect water heater is quite easier to maintain. The heating system does not include heating elements or additional burners, meaning that there are very few parts that need your attention. This way, you can easily come up with an effective maintenance solution.

6. Higher recovery rates

Indirect water heating systems do not compromise the quality of hot water. In fact, these systems can produce more volumes of hot water compared to a traditional tank heater, in higher recovery rates. Going indirect means you can have access to greater volumes of hot water compared to the average conventional hot water tank.

Disadvantages of Indirect Water Heater (Cons)

Unfortunately, an indirect water heater also has some drawbacks, just like any other manmade system in this universe.

1. Feasibility

Indirect water heating systems are largely not feasible in old houses that still use furnaces because most of these legacy furnaces could not heat the water exchange pipes.

2. Not ideal for a small family

The indirect water heater is known for producing large amounts of hot water. This, of course, is great for huge families, but if you are alone or don’t share your home with many people, then an indirect hot water heating system may not be the ideal choice.

3. High installation costs

Generally, indirect water heaters are cost-effective, but you will need to cough some huge sums of money for initial installation. The cost can skyrocket further if your current heating systems are not compatible with indirect water heating integration.

4. Takes longer to produce hot water

Another drawback of an indirect water heating system is that it takes longer to produce hot water compared to traditional tank-style heaters. This is probably because indirect water heaters don’t store hot water which is readily available to flow instantly when you need it. When you turn on your hot water tap, the first pour will be cool or room temperature at best.

Hopefully, this article will help you to learn the pros and cons of indirect water heater and take buying decisions.

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