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What kind of water heating system is this?
July 4, 2006 10:09 AM   Subscribe

What kind of water heating system do I have? And can I install a timer on it?

Here's the setup: oil-fired furnace is in one part of the basement. From there, copper pipes run into a tank in another part of the basement. According to the tank, it's an electric water heater (State Select brand). But given the connection to the furnace, and the fact that the furnace turns on when we're doing laundry or taking a shower (or at random, for a few minutes at a time), clearly my water isn't heated by electricity alone.

I thought perhaps I have an indirect system, as that's the only scenario that seems to fit the setup I've described. But wouldn't such a system use a storage tank rather than an electric heater?

Because heating oil is so pricey, I'd like to put the system on a timer. In order to determine if that's possible, I need to figure out how the system works.
posted by schoolgirl report to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
 
I can't speak that it's not totally electric (though I think the furnace has little to do with heating the water) it's generally less cost effective to reheat water each time you need it unless you are using it very infrequently, such as one weekend a month. In those cases, like cottages and mobile homes, people also tend to have very small water heaters (5 gal or so) that heat up quickly.. and deplete even more quickly.

I think what you might be aiming for is a tankless water heater that's quite popular in some areas of the country and other parts of the world, but it has a much higher upfront cost.
posted by kcm at 10:56 AM on July 4, 2006


Does the electric water heater actually have electricity connected to it? If not, it might just be set up as a supplementary insulated storage tank for the furnace system (perhaps it was there before the furnace system was installed, and the plumber decided to incorporate it rather than bypass it).
posted by flabdablet at 4:51 PM on July 4, 2006


Hmm, good question, flabdablet. I'll check it out.
posted by schoolgirl report at 6:09 PM on July 4, 2006


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