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Old 11-29-2016, 05:07 PM
 
21 posts, read 30,368 times
Reputation: 16

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I had a contractor install zone heating in my bedroom as part of a renovation a couple years ago and he said a 50 gallon hot water heater would suffice since it's only 270 square feet. I now suspect he was simply trying to cut costs since the heater was installed as part of the overall room renovation. The system is having problems now and another contractor told me there should be a boiler in there, but the cost will be $6000 (which is almost half what the total initial renovation cost). I'm inclined to believe him since the system has had a couple of problems already, but wanted to sanity check it here. Should residential heating never be run off of a hot water heater?
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Old 11-29-2016, 05:33 PM
 
Location: The Twilight Zone
12,018 posts, read 13,834,303 times
Reputation: 8447
Shoulda just tapped into the existing heating system...
A HWH should work though if done right. Sounds like maybe he goofed on something.
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Old 11-29-2016, 07:37 PM
 
9,806 posts, read 16,141,419 times
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No reason it shouldn't work with a water heater, provided there's enough radiator (water heaters put out cooler water so you need more), and the rest of the plumbing was done right. What's wrong with it?
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Old 11-29-2016, 07:44 PM
 
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Why is the system now having problems if it was good for a couple years?? What's it doing?
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Old 11-29-2016, 08:26 PM
 
21 posts, read 30,368 times
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I supposed "worked fine" isn't quite accurate. The initial contractor had to come back several times at the outset, once to replace the circulator and a couple other times to bleed the lines since they kept becoming air locked. Once they addressed those problems last year, it worked fine for the rest of the season, but now this year it failed to work again when we turned it on. The system doesn't have radiators, it is baseboard heating.
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Old 11-29-2016, 08:36 PM
 
Location: The Twilight Zone
12,018 posts, read 13,834,303 times
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Bleed the lines? The oil lines or the baseboard piping having air issues?
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Old 11-29-2016, 08:52 PM
 
21 posts, read 30,368 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by hotkarl View Post
Bleed the lines? The oil lines or the baseboard piping having air issues?
The system is gas.

Yes, it's the baseboard piping running from the heater, through the room and back. That was becoming air blocked. I assume the circulator crapped out due to getting overworked when nothing was flowing through.
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Old 11-29-2016, 08:58 PM
 
Location: The Twilight Zone
12,018 posts, read 13,834,303 times
Reputation: 8447
Call a plumber.
And possibly a lawyer.
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Old 11-29-2016, 09:19 PM
 
Location: Suffolk
395 posts, read 341,808 times
Reputation: 504
Stop hiring handy hacks who get their ideas from the internet.

Since you've had issues from the start, just bite the bullet and have it replaced with a proper system. Is this water heater also supplying hot water to your sinks and shower? (Please say No... Please say No... )
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Old 11-30-2016, 08:01 AM
 
507 posts, read 1,374,855 times
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I concur with Alex that this is a serious problem (and code violation) if domestic water is being mixed with heating system. This set up also voids the h/w heater warranty (and may violate code, someone here ought to know). But, a hot water heater is inherently unsuited for this purpose, as heat (at least non-radiant heat) typically relies upon much hotter water than the 120-130 degrees typically produced by the h/w heater. A hot water heater has an expected life of only about 10 years, but deploying it in an environment such as this will drastically shorten its life as it will cycle in ways it was never designed to, and perform a task (re-heating warm, recirculating water) it is ill-suited for.
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