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Old 10-18-2011, 10:49 AM   #1
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Am I missing a HWT?

Hi there....

I need help with a seemingly stupid question.

I purchased an old house 2 years ago that had enormous mold and animal smell problems. The good news is that after 2 years, I have a house that no longer makes you want to vomit when you step inside. Eventually, I want to do a full gut of the previously hacked-in electrical & plumbing and install new. But while I'm saving my pennies, I've installed temporary fixtures for my temporary bathroom & temporary kitchen and am getting ready to move into the house. And, my boiler has been recently cleaned and all the steam heating is working without issue.

However, I only have about 30 seconds of hot water before it turns lukewarm (true for the bathtub and both kitchen and bath sinks, both of which have separate hot/cold lines without a mixing valve). And if the boiler hasn't kicked in a couple of hours, I get nothing but lukewarm H2O.

Call me crazy, but is it possible that I'm missing a indirect fired hot water tank off my boiler??? There is not a HWT in my basement, and my boiler doesn't have the small red tank I've sometimes seen hanging off of old boilers. (which I can only assume was a holding tank).

Somehow, during the home inspection (2 years ago) there must have been some hot water. Did I have a dud of a home inspector that missed my lack of a tank? Did the contractor (who did an half *ss job on the basement demo) remove my hot water tank? Is there some sort of internal heater setting on the boiler that needs to be adjusted? Or, do others have indirect heaters without a tank and I have something wrong with my boiler?

It just seems odd because when I recently asked my boiler cleaner guy about hot water (and how the boiler creates/maintains hot water) why didn't he say, duh Jen, you're missing a HW let me sell you one.

Any help is appreciated.


Cold shower Jen who doesn't want to sound like an idiot when I call the plumbing/heating company.....
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Old 10-18-2011, 11:34 AM   #2
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Yes, you need a holding tank, or an on demand.


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Old 10-18-2011, 12:39 PM   #3
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Hi Greg,

Thanks for the reply. Can you share your thought process of why a holding tank is needed?

(Installing an on demand not really an option given that I am going to tear out all the existing plumbing and replacing/moving the boiler within the next 3 to 5 years)...

Thanks in advance...

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Old 10-18-2011, 02:51 PM   #4
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So, you are saying that you are tearing out all of the plumbing for potable water also? A holding tank would be on the boiler, to hold hot water. An on demand only fires when needed, to supply potable water to the taps, such as shower, bath faucet, kitchen faucet. If it was me, I would go with an electric on demand, if using heating oil for the boiler.
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:34 PM   #5
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Just a thought; if you trace the hot water line from the laundry tub where does it end up? I would think that is where your hot water is coming from.
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Old 10-19-2011, 12:25 AM   #6
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Where are you?

First of all I'm no expert, but your boiler may not necessarily supply your house hold hot water.
We have a boiler for our hydronic heat -hot water pipes in the floors and baseboard heaters. But we live in Missouri. Today is actually the first time we've fired the thing up since last spring, so our boiler is not connected to the house hold plumbing. We have an electric hot water heater for our household use.

Bob has a point. Can you trace any of the other plumbing lines?
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Old 10-19-2011, 06:27 PM   #7
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You don't need a tank if you have hot water coil in your boiler. I think I can see the mixing valve in lower corner--it's the black knobbed thing connected to 3 different 1/2" copper lines (cold in (comes from water meter/main), hot tank output (comes out of the boiler), and hot supply (goes out to the hot water taps in the house))

Does your boiler stay hot all the time, 24/7? If not, then you may have a situation where your aquastat has failed, or is incorrect for your application ("cold start" I think it's called?). My boiler w/ a hot water coil stays hot 24/7.

Force your boiler to run by turning on the heat, get it up to temp, then run the hot water... does the water stay hot now? If so, get a plumber in to check the aquastat.

Good luck.


My advice is based on anecdotal knowledge or personal experience. I'm not a professional no matter how matter of factly I may say something

Last edited by bubbler; 10-19-2011 at 06:32 PM.
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