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Old 12-07-2017, 11:58 AM   #1
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Hot water heaters in series or independent


Hi all DIY-ers and plumbers out there. I need a little help

Currently I have a 80 gal nat gas hwh. My current setup is perfect plenty of hot water. Last month I installed a 19.1 Kw solar system. Im producing much more electricity then using so lots of Kw credits on my electric bill.

I would like to start using more electric then Nat gas for heat and hot water. My hot water plan is the following.
-Connect the two hot water heaters (one gas and one electric) in series and having the option to run them independent in the case one needs to be replaced while still having hot water.
-In series the electric tank would be the first (upstream) to heat the water and feed into the gas hwh using the cold intake on gas hwh. I would leave the Nat gas tank on and ready to heat if the electric can't supply the demand. So the electric would do majority of the heating and Nat gas less which is perfect.

With all that being said I could easily install lots of ball vales and move But I would like to make it a little nicer looking and user friendly. I would like to customize a multi valve junction or a manifold that looks nice. I just can't put my head around how to make the manifold or the multi valve junction... any suggestions?

Thank you
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Old 12-07-2017, 03:40 PM   #2
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Re: Hot water heaters in series or independent


Quote:
With all that being said I could easily install lots of ball vales and move But I would like to make it a little nicer looking and user friendly. I would like to customize a multi valve junction or a manifold that looks nice. I just can't put my head around how to make the manifold or the multi valve junction... any suggestions?
Ayuh,... I'm a believer, that ya can't have to many valves, in 'bout Any plumbin' situation,...
No matter where there's a Problem, I wanta isolate the smallest section possible,...
hence, more valves is Better,....

I'd plumb yer system anyway ya want, but have a ball-valve, 'n union at the appliance connection points,.....
For ease of service later on,....
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Old 12-08-2017, 11:48 AM   #3
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Re: Hot water heaters in series or independent


It sounds like you want them piped in series but also need a backup parallel connection if one is down. I'm sure that can be done with some extra valves and piping. As far a making it aesthetically pleasing, not sure on that one.
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Old 12-16-2017, 12:38 PM   #4
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Re: Hot water heaters in series or independent


As 4 a much less costly way of utilizing more electricity vs gas - {PRESUMING U already have central air}; have your current AC unit professionally tweaked 2 run backwards effectively becoming a heat pump {no heat strips needed - since u have gas furnace} thereby converting 2 dual fuel heating system capability... most likely current thermostat will already support this upgrade. U might consider this project 1st for your bang vs buck & gas vs electricity usage... but 2 answer your ?

There R no real advantages n attempting 2 run separate hot water tanks both n series & n parallel {especially from separate energy sources}. My reasoning for performing any project is because: u want 2, u have 2, & or 2 save money... assuming you installed solar to save $ - n your scenario - The key 2 any true savings would b by not operating both tanked fuel sources simultaneously whether n series or parallel...
If I had 2 Pick 1 configuration 4 U it would b a new electric system n parallel with your older gas unit... shutting down both gas & water flow sources 2 older gas tank - thereby retiring gas tank into a backup status... btw there R no more 80 gallon residential electric tanks thanks 2 big brother... that said - 80 gallons can most efficiently b accomplished by installing 2 - 40 gallon tanks in series but this will also require an extra 4 slots in current electric panel or a subpanel...
U should use 1st tank set as a preheater {by setting both the thermostats @90`F} for 2nd tank, splitting delta T duties & saving even more energy usage by accomplishing at least an 80 gallon hot water footprint with only 60 gallons energy usage... no need 2 leave both tanks set at 120`F since the key is this configuration is n the capability of 2 tanks energizing independently an element {with separate circuits}... btw if both tanks r set @ 120`F - 2nd tank will not truly split heating duties thereby causing 1st tank n series 2 electrically perform much harder & also negating 60 vs 80 gallon energy footprint... Oh & placing 2 tanks in parallel requires an 80 gallon footprint & when any element fails you will waste money mixing hot water from 1 tank with cold from the 2nd...

But Especially If U can perform the dual fuel option - not sure the expense of retiring the current gas water heater is needed or warranted 2 simply utilize more electricity?
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Old 12-16-2017, 03:22 PM   #5
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Re: Hot water heaters in series or independent


Fuel selection is generally based on the local costs of the fuel. You must be from an area with cheap electric rates.

Electric would be my last choice for water heating.
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Old 12-16-2017, 04:11 PM   #6
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Re: Hot water heaters in series or independent


You may want to consider that if you run them parellel, (and unless both tanks are kept at full temp which can be costly due to heat loss) and depending on your plumbing layout and use patterns, you can get/develope some strange backfeeding issues and temperature control can be difficult at outlets.

Sometimes no problem... but cool showers are not fun.

You can checkvalve around that, but I have/like mine in series with complimentaary valves / unions if I have to replace one.

And if you have a large hot water demand appliance (non heated two person jet tub) you can just keep both in series heaters near max and you won't run out.

Good luck

And for safety... remember you don't want valves that can isolate/allow a WH to overheat and rupture.
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