Tankless vs indirect heat

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Jesse Kershaw

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I have a cottage that currently has an indirect heat Amtrol WH-7L water heater that has started leaking.

Because it's mostly used for summer the water heater is working to heat the water heater when the boiler isn't working otherwise. And in the winter we keep the heat on low but again I assume there is energy being used to keep the water hot.

After seeing the price of a replacement unit ($1100) I'm considering installing a tankless water heater instead.

My thinking is it will be more efficient for the intermittent use of a second home. It's several hundred dollars cheaper for one the size I need (single bath) condensing. And I don't have much experience with boilers and infect heaters but I'm familiar tankless water heaters.

Cons: I have to run the gas line, run a PVC exhaust, put in a pump for the condensation.

Thoughts on this? Would I save enough to make it worth the hassle?




In the trades
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If used only intermittently it might not save enough to be worth the hassle. But more details about fuel cost, annual/seasonal fuel usage would be needed to drill down on it. Tankless water heaters are somewhat higher maintenance than an indirect or plain old tank. If the boiler is a ridiculously oversized cast iron beast it might be cheaper/better to install an electric water heater.

If you air condition the place or run a dehumidifier in summer to keep the humidity down, a heat pump water heater might be a better bet (though substantially more expensive than a plain electric tank.) A heat pump water heater takes humidity out of the room air, and provides a very modest amount of sensible cooling, using about 1/3 the amount of electricity of a plain electric tank. If located in the boiler room it would "harvest" some of the jacket losses of the boiler during the heating season (assuming you even bothered to keep the water heater at temp when the house isn't in use.)
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