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Installed kickspace heater off of gas hot water heater

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by webbie, Dec 7, 2005.

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  1. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,247
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    I finished off part of the basement last year (office and music room) and had no heat down there...but a closet in the finished are contained a 75,000 BTU Hot Water Heater....so this week I installed a unit heater which was designed to work with Potable Water, along with a brass taco circulator. While I was at it, I added an expansion tank for the DHW system, since my pressure was varying by over 50 LBs when the hot water heater fired up. I think they probably should have installed this when the house was built.

    Anyway, the sucker heats up really fast - and now my office is at 68 instead of the 60 it normally stays at without heat. Haven't installed the control system yet - will use some kind of thermostat - have to dig though all my old junk and find something suitable. For now I just switch it off and on...

    Anyhow, these little heaters work well and are surely cheaper to run than electric space heaters...

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  2. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Craig post more info on the heaters and design theory Many here never knew one can use a hot water tank for FHW heat
    I like you thinking
  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,247
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    Well, the idea here first is that your hot water tank must have capacity. Not only was ours oversized (75 gal and 75,000 BTU), but it actually had a "space heating" outlet near the top (which I didn't use since I didn't notice it)

    In some areas of the country where less heat is needed, builders are installing a hot water heater like ours for the primary heat AND domestic hot water. In these cases, they use a "fan coil" which takes the heat from the water and puts it into a ductwork system - this way they can have AC in the same system.

    But back to my heater - you have to find a brand that is approved for use on a domestic hot water system. Turns out that Beacon Morris, made in westfield (about 10 minutes from my house) is approved. I assume this means both tested and also that they use thicker copper, no lead solder (perhaps?), etc.

    These heaters are rated to use water as low as 110 degrees, but make certain you size it correctly if using low temp water - they have charts showing the output at various water temps. In my case, I actually removed the internal aquastat which does not allow it to turn on until 140 degree....didn't want this. Rather, since my hot water is always hot, I will simply make BOTH the circ and the fan on the kickspace heater react to a thermostat (110 volt)...

    So, the manual simply says to set it up with the supply to it coming off a tee on the hot water side of your existing tank and then return into a tee on the cold water. The circ is on the return along with a check valve that only lets the water go one way.

    Of course, we are talking hot water here, so all brass and copper fittings, valves, etc....no iron or plastic! (at least not here in Mass).

    I used a couple unions and valves so the unit can easily be turned off, serviced or removed.

    The project took quite awhile since I accidentally got solder on one union and could not make the compression part of it work....had to replace it! I'd say for most folks, calling the friendly plumber would result is about a 500-600 labor charge plus materials ($500-$600 for heater, circ, etc,_)

    Here is link to Beacon-Morris:
    http://www.beacon-morris.com/

    You can also google them.

    Oh yes, I surely mentioned that the circ should be brass, bronze or ss and approved for use in domestic hot water systems. Not thay anyone is drinking their houseold hot water, but this stuff will also corrode iron real fast (unlike a closed loop boiler system where the water loses it's oxygen and ceases to corrode)...

    And, yes, you also have to use the thicker copper pipe, not the stuff for your boiler which is thinner. Domestic systems and under at least 2 or 3x the pressure PLUS the corrosion potential...

    Not being a plumber, that's about all I know....I'm as warm as I want to be now and I just can't stand to use electric heaters in the long run.

    A word of warning about electric heaters - just say "NO" to all those cheapies that can set a house on fire. Consider buying the oil-filled type which in my opinion are much safer. Also, they usually have two switches on them - one 900 watts and one 600watts. TO be safe, use only one at a time. 1500 watts is a lot of juice to add to a circuit, and you can overheat wiring, etc.
  4. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Craig plastic PVC is now approved in MA as well as the fleible pex type piping, used a lot for baseboard heat transmission lines. After all most radient heat is delivered with 3/8" pex lines
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