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Old 08-26-2012, 04:04 PM   #1
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adapting an electric water heater for radiators


i was wondering if an electric water heater can be modified (with a pump of some sort) to heat water for radiators in a small apartment (800 sq ft). i have condoized a basement apartment that has radiator plumbing but will not have gas to cook water in a traditional boiler. so i was looking for an electric solution. i tried googling "electric boiler hydronic radiators" but all i got were forced heat products or regular hot water heaters.

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Old 08-26-2012, 04:59 PM   #2
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adapting an electric water heater for radiators


It can be done. Have you done a heat loss to size it? Is it a closed system? It could get expensive trying to heat with the electric HWT

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Old 08-26-2012, 05:14 PM   #3
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adapting an electric water heater for radiators


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Have you done a heat loss to size it?
no, i don't even know what the term means
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Old 08-26-2012, 05:26 PM   #4
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adapting an electric water heater for radiators


you think it'd be more efficient to use baseboard heaters? it is a typical small 1 BR apt., living room, kitchen, bath, little hallway, bedroom. i haven't hung DW yet so i could still run wire
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:13 PM   #5
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adapting an electric water heater for radiators


The heat loss is a calculation that will tell you how much heat your building will lose on the coldest day of the year to maintain its setpoint on the thermostat. i.e.; if your structure loses 60000 btu/hr on that day, then you need a device that supplies 60000 btu/hr of heat.
Not seeing your set up or the lay out and considering that HWT aren't rated for space heating, I'd say its probably a pretty safe bet that it would be much easier and better for you to install the electric baseboards.
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Old 08-26-2012, 09:23 PM   #6
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adapting an electric water heater for radiators


Who's going to be paying the light bill?
As I believe I've suggested before a simple very cheap to run and easy to install Mini Split heat pump would work.
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:48 PM   #7
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adapting an electric water heater for radiators


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a simple very cheap to run and easy to install Mini Split heat pump would work.
does that work in conjunction with a regular water heater?

i think i made up my mind to go with the baseboard solution
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:13 AM   #8
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adapting an electric water heater for radiators


HWH won't do the outlet water temp a boiler does on a normal heating with baseboard 160F and up.the adding a B&G circ pump will work but the temp won't be there to make the stat at 70F.might just insulated the perimeter and floors and go with electric baseboard or as suggested slipt ductless HP..electric floor raidient might be an option?
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:46 AM   #9
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adapting an electric water heater for radiators


The heating power (think BTU) will be equal to the capabiity of one water heater element (about 4500 watts) Only one element in the water heater comes on at any given time.

Energy cost will be the same as for baseboard heaters of equivalent total wattage.

Cranking up the target temperature of the water (say to 160-190 degrees) will shorten the life of the water heater tank. Alternatively cranking up the temperature won't do anything because as the water circulates through the radiators it never gets near the target temperature.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 08-27-2012 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:30 PM   #10
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adapting an electric water heater for radiators


hey, please check out this new thread that i just created. thanks

need brand recommendation for baseboard heaters

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