Indirect water heaters, also known as space and water heating systems or integrated water heating systems, use the home’s existing space heating system to warm water.
Direct Water Heaters
Even though they need a storage tank, indirect water heaters can be a better choice for the majority of homes. Indirect water heaters use the main furnace to heat fluids that are circulated in the storage tank through heat exchangers. If you use an indirect water heater with a high-efficiency boiler and insulated tank, it can be the most cost-effective way to provide hot water.
Even though they need a storage tank, indirect water heaters can be a better choice for the majority of homes. The main boiler or furnace is used to heat fluids that are circulated in the storage tank through heat exchangers. Energy is saved by using the point that the water tank stores. If you use an indirect water heater with a high-efficiency boiler and a well-insulated water tank, it can be the most cost-effective way to provide hot water. This is especially true if your heat source boiler has been set on “cold-start.”
Direct systems can be powered by electricity, gas, oil, or propane. They can also be powered by solar energy.
Tankless Coil Heaters
Tankless coil water heaters provide hot water as needed without the need for a storage tank. When you turn on a hot-water faucet, the water flows through a heat exchanger or heating coil installed in your main furnace or boiler. The most efficient coil water heaters can be found in colder months when heating systems are used frequently. However, they may not be the best choice for homes in hotter climates. Tankless systems can be electric, gas, or oil-fired. These systems can be used with hydronic or radiant heating systems, forced air systems, and other water heating systems.
How to Select a Combination Water and Space Heating System
Installation and maintenance may be cheaper with integrated or combined water and space heaters. You won’t require multiple utility connections since you only need one source of heating. Also, fewer moving parts need to be maintained or serviced. These high-efficiency systems could reduce your utility bills.
Usually, most combination systems for space and water heating are designed for new construction. Retrofit units are available for existing water heaters.
You should consider the size of a system when choosing one. Sizing a combined system requires different calculations from those needed to size a separate space or water heating system. It would be best if you left this to a licensed plumbing and heating contractor.
Use the combined appliance efficiency (CAE) rating to determine an energy-efficient combination space and water heating system. The higher the number, the more efficient the system. The efficiency rating of combination appliances ranges from 0.59 up to 0.90.
Installation and Maintenance of the System
The energy efficiency of a water-heating system that also heats the space can be maximized by installing and maintaining it properly.
The installation of your system is dependent on a number of factors. The factors to consider are fuel type, local building codes, climate, and safety. It’s, therefore, best to hire a plumbing and heating contractor for the installation. When selecting a contractor, be sure to consider the following:
Cost estimates can be requested in writing.
Check with the Better Business Bureau in your area.
Check if they will get a permit locally if needed and if they understand the local building codes.
Maintenance can extend the life of your water heater and reduce its loss of efficiency. Consult your installer or owner’s guide for maintenance tips.