Unreliable Boiler: How to Regulate Temperature
LESLIE: Chris in Connecticut needs some help choosing a new water heater and wants to go tankless. Tell us about it.
CHRIS: Hello. I have oil heat right now and a boiler and the temperature regulation is really off on my water and I was wondering if I could get a tankless water heater with oil heat or if I would be better off just going with an electric water heater or what options I have.
TOM: (overlapping voices) OK. Well, you can’t get – there’s no such thing as an oil-fired, tankless water heater.
TOM: You have a boiler now that’s supplying your domestic hot water?
TOM: OK. There’s a valve called a mixing valve that usually is what you need to adjust to control the temperature.
TOM: So this may be a situation where you just don’t have it set right.
TOM: Is the temperature of the water extreme? Is it way too hot?
CHRIS: Sometimes it gets really hot and then sometimes it’s just – you have the hot water all the way up and it’ll be cold.
TOM: Hmm. I would not necessarily look to replace that because with a boiler you have an endless supply of hot water with that type of setup. I mean some people complain because you have to run your boiler in the summer, essentially, to deliver hot water. But if it’s installed right, it’s not an issue.
And there’s a tank that you can put on the side of that that looks like a water heater; it’s called an AMTROL tank. And basically, it’s a heat exchanger where you use the heat of the boiler to transfer its heat to the water but it’s a little more stable and you don’t need that whole mixing valve situation. So there may be a couple of other options here, aside from just, you know, forgetting it and getting an electric water heater.
CHRIS: OK. That sounds like a good option.
TOM: So I would talk to an HVAC contractor, because I think that there’s probably a smarter solution.
TOM: You want to preserve the best of what you have, which is a reliable way to provide a lot of hot water. You just want to get the temperature situation under control.
CHRIS: OK. Thanks a lot.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.