Best upgrade from a tankless coil on my oil burner?

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  #1  
Old 03-21-19, 12:45 PM
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Best upgrade from a tankless coil on my oil burner?

Tiny ranch 1971 house and looking to upgrade from a tankless coil on an oil burner that also heats baseboard heat in a 1 level ranch house of apprx. 900 sf. My problem is I like to take hot showers and baths and the tankless only gets the water hot for a few minutes and then it starts getting cooler and cooler.

Someone mentioned maybe an indirect burner fired tank or something? We only have 2 people in our household and one bathroom also.
 
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Old 03-21-19, 02:16 PM
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Add an indirect DHW (domestic hot water) tank if you have room. It adds a second zone to your existing boiler that heats the hot water in the tank. Controls can be set to give DHW priority over the house heating when there is a demand for hot water if your boiler is closely sized to the house load and not adequate to heat both at the same time.
 
  #3  
Old 03-21-19, 02:18 PM
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B,
You have some options. You can replace your coil or have it cleaned with an acid treatment which cleans the inside of the coil of lime deposits that form from the feeding of constant fresh water and stick to the walls acting as insulation preventing the how surrounding boiler water from heating the cold fresh water as it travels through the coil.

You could go with an indirect water heater which is more efficient because your boiler does not have to maintain temp year round in case you need hot water. It's a much better option but pricey depending on your budget.

Another option is a stand alone hot water heater complete with its own burner that runs completely independent of the boiler. Downside is you now have 2 separate units to maintain and generally a hot water tank has become pricey and usually has a 6 year warranty.

Depending on the condition of your water and your hot water usage and if you are content with your fuel bills the cheapest solution is to replace the coil or if you can find someone have it cleaned.

That being said are you sure it's your coil and not your mixing valve and are you trying to run your boiler at too low a temp. The output rating of those coils are for 180 deg. water being supplied to heat it which means you have to run your boiler at 180. Proper boiler water temp for boilers with a coil is 180/200.

People run lower temps and that's fine as long as you get sufficient hot water. Pics of your boiler and piping would be helpful. Below are sights that may give you some info on coils and indirect water heaters.

https://www.tfi-everhot.com/pdfs/TFI_TanklessCoils.pdf

https://www.supplyhouse.com/Indirect...eaters-1731000

Hope this helps a little.
 

Last edited by spott; 03-21-19 at 02:57 PM.
  #4  
Old 03-22-19, 09:21 AM
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While tankless coils are a very efficient source of DHW in winter, limited capacity is common. In winter main boiler with tankless coil is most cost effective DHW heat source.

Separate water heaters with round tanks, center chimney are very inefficient compared to main boiler, but more cost effective than running main boiler all summer.

A good way to efficiently get more hot water capacity in winter and lower cost DHW in summer is with a hybrid setup.

Install a separate direct fired tank type water heater. Use water heater aquastat to circulate tankless coil water to tank in winter. In summer flip switch so aquastat activates water heater burner.

If you are going to buy a separate water heater, going hybrid for another $200 for circulator and plumbing is worth it. Plenty of hot water year round at minimum cost.

Long term fuel cost savings provide good pay back. I have used this on a 60 year old Weil-McLain with tankless coil for 20 years.
 
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Old 03-22-19, 10:26 AM
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@doug
Install a separate direct fired tank type water heater.
Are you are recommending the installation of an additional oil fired water heater for summer use and using the original one for winter ? Granted the new oil water heater would use less oil but it would take a while to offset the $1000+ cost of just the water heater.
 
  #6  
Old 03-22-19, 12:18 PM
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When insufficient tankless coil capacity is an issue, installing a directly fired water heater is common solution. The hybrid setup provides cost saving benefits. It also avoids issues from two burners using same chimney.

With a hybrid set up, water heater storage capacity ( 30 or 50 gallons or whatever) can be used to increase DHW capacity above and beyond what the tankless coil is rated for.

Like having a dam in a river, it does not make water but more DHW is available when needed ... and in winter at lower fuel cost than directly firing water heater.

A side note. In winter, for faster makeup, water heater aquastat actives pump with 3F delta-T. In summer 5F delta-T is used to start tank heater.

In winter firing water heater costs more than boiler for DHS.

It is simple system, just flip switch twice a year.
 

Last edited by doughess; 03-22-19 at 12:50 PM.
  #7  
Old 03-22-19, 01:41 PM
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So Direct is fired by my current boiler and uses same chimney and INDIRECT uses a separate boiler to heat its hot water?

So the DIRECT fired is the way to go to get more hot water?

I only maybe need a 40 gallon or so one. I just want to be able to take a shower and bath with reasonable hot water.
 
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Old 03-22-19, 02:01 PM
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The suggestion of using a separate oil fired hot water connected to your tankless coil for more hot water reserves only works if the tankless is producing hot water to begin with. If your coil is compromised to begin with, no amount of extra storage is going to help. You can only store what the tankless coil produces.

Years ago separate oil fired tanks were cheap enough to have and compared to the huge high water content and inefficient burners were a good alternative to running your boiler in the off season. The boilers today with their low water content and efficient retention head burners coupled with the high price of tanks today in my opinion would be the last option I would choose.

All the tank is, is a small boiler which must be maintained every year just like the boiler. It still needs to be cleaned and nozzle and filer changed just like a boiler. You will be retired before you see any payback from the initial cost of installing it plus you only get a 6 yr. warranty compared to an indirect which is much more efficient and needs no maintenance on the tank itself and last a lot longer because there is no direct heat from a burner firing into it and is compatible pricewise to an oil fired tank.

A direct fired has its burner. An INDIRECT runs off your boiler as a separate zone. A properly installed and piped tankless coil will give you plenty of hot water for showering and anything else you want unless you're filling up a pool.
 
  #9  
Old 03-22-19, 04:09 PM
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You should keep your future heating discussions in this thread. It keeps from having to cover the same ground..... over and over.

You've got a bunch already running...... Plumber-today-said-may-need-new-coil-oil-boiler.
 
  #10  
Old 03-22-19, 08:17 PM
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The #1 starting post is about insufficient DHW:
Brian1900: My problem is I like to take hot showers and baths and the tankless only gets the water hot for a few minutes and then it starts getting cooler and cooler.
Rather than labels “Direct” and “Indirect” it is better to use more specific labels “Boiler/Tankless” and “Water heater”

If someone is going to install a water heater, spending another $200 on circulator and plumbing items can improve the system while saving money.

Bringing in new issues like tankless coil defects and boiler water temperature is irrelevant to starting post. Brian1900 tankless coil is working. Again, inadequate DHW capacity is common cause of that.

Water heater aquastat maintains tank temperature, not boiler aquastat. If boiler is at 180F tankless coil water goes to tank inlet and not to hot water faucets or showers.

The hybrid system is not a cure all, but one that solves a common issue while improving economy
 
  #11  
Old 03-22-19, 10:56 PM
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I have an oil burner with a tankless coil and I thought that it was a common issue that they don't produce enough hot water for a shower or bath. Am I mistaken? Is mine just not working correctly maybe?

I'm now confused again. So are people recommending that I just replace the coil instead of adding an indirect hot water heater?

I have a Peerless boiler and it's less than 10 years old. Just had it's annual service and I get hot water in the shower for maybe 2 or 3 minutes on full hot and then it turns basically warm and then cooler and cooler.

At first it's very hot and I can't get under the shower and aim the head down, but after about a minute I can get under it and then it gets cooler and cooler over a few minutes.

If I want to fill a hot bath for example, I have to slow the water to a tiny trickle to keep it hot and then shut if off and let the boiler kick in again, etc.

I want to eliminate this stuff and be able to take a 10 minute shower or fill my bath with rather hot water normally.
 
  #12  
Old 03-23-19, 08:13 AM
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Unfortunately Brian1900 is getting a lot of conflicting posts
His problem: Taking a 10 minute shower uses more hot water his tankless coil produces.

There are several solutions:
1. Add storage tank to build up reserve for shower : Cheapest
2. Install separate water heater : More expensive
3. Buy new boiler with higher capacity DHW : Very expensive

Installing new water heater is most common solution. Going hybrid and adding a circulator maximizes the benefits. I did it 20 years ago. Wife likes the endless hot water at lower cost and low maintenance
 

Last edited by PJmax; 03-27-19 at 11:08 AM. Reason: removed link?
  #13  
Old 03-23-19, 08:51 AM
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https://www.afsupply.com/bock-58800-...tank-only.html
https://www.afsupply.com/bock-58810-...tank-only.html

These are a couple examples of DIRECT FIRED hot water heaters suggested by another poster. They are not as cheap as people seam to think. These prices as stated are for TANK ONLY. You have to buy the burner separate and then if you want to add a setup as poster suggested with installation you will most likely be over 2000.00 for the smaller tank and much more for the larger.

Your other options I previously posted. You are going to have to decide what it worth for you to get hot water. You current tankless coil lasted 10 yrs., which is longer than the direct fired heater is warrantied for.

My suggestion is to get someone knowledgeable in there and ask about your options where they can observe you situation. That being said as for your current situation.

Get your boiler up to temp and turn down your stat so you're not calling for heat and your boiler will only run for hot water.

Have your wife turn on the tub, that is your biggest draw so that is what we use for a test. You will be at the boiler when she turns on the hot water faucet only on the tub. When that water comes on you will feel the hot water pipe coming right from the coil before the mixing valve. The water should start off real hot and then start to get cooler. If this happens it means your coil has mineral deposits in there acting as insulation. If your water right out of the coil stays hot until the boiler comes back on then your problem could be as simple as the mixing valve.

This is a simple test you can perform yourself to take the guesswork out of your problem. As for the proper set up or piping pics would be helpful.
 
  #14  
Old 03-23-19, 11:27 AM
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doughess…
The hybrid system is not a cure all
IMHO it is not clear at all as to whether the hybrid system you are talking about uses an INDIRECT or DIRECT water heater. I don’t know much but I thought the definition for DIRECT was that the water heater had its own heating source (e.g., an oil burner), but an INDIRECT water heater relied on a separate heating source (e.g., a boiler).

My understanding, which could be wrong, is that from the point of view of the boiler and its controls, an INDIRECT looks just like another zone, which has a thermostat that signals the boiler to supply heat to that zone just like any other zone.

doughess…
When insufficient tankless coil capacity is an issue, installing a directly fired water heater is common solution. The hybrid setup provides cost saving benefits. It also avoids issues from two burners using same chimney.
Do you mean “indirectly fired” instead of “directly fired” in the above ? It sounds like you are describing an INDIRECT water heater but calling it a hybrid. If it is an INDIRECT water heater what good is a summer/winter switch, or I guess more precisely, what does the summer/winter switch do?

Like Brian, I think I will enhance my “tankless coil” one of these days, but I think this thread is very confusing (but I think I understand what spott says). Admittedly, it may be me, my senior moments are getting longer and longer.
 
  #15  
Old 03-23-19, 01:52 PM
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Z,
It is not you. I had to read it a couple times myself and am still confused what he is saying. Reminds me of Professor Irwin Corey for us older crowd. I will try to simplify the terminology one more time. There are 3 choices for hot water. I will start with what he has currently.

1) TANKLESS COIL. This is a COPPER COIL inserted into the boiler which fresh water flows through which is heated by the hot water in the boiler and piped directly to the faucets. The downside of this system is the boiler runs all year to maintain boiler temp weather you need hot water or not and the coil collects minerals from the fresh water cutting down on hot water production especially the tub which must be periodically addressed.

2) The INDIRECT WATER HEATER. This option is a stand alone tank which is piped to the boilers SUPPLY and RETURN lines using a zone valve or circulator making it operate as a separate zone off the boiler. This is basically piped as another heat zone so the boiler must remain on all year. With this option the boiler only runs on a demand for hot water making it more efficient. The selling point of this option is the insulation in the tank which helps to maintain the domestic hot water temp longer and cuts down on burner run time. The AMTROL BOILERMATE for example boasts a 1 deg. heat loss per hour with a full 2" of insulation in the tank. There is no tank maintenance with this option and some have lifetime warranties.

3) The DIRECT FIRED hot water tank. This option is a stand alone tank that is heated by its own burner. This option is completely divorced from the boiler. These are mostly used if a furnace is used for heat. This option requires a chimney and requires yearly maintenance just like a boiler. It is basically a small boiler. The upside to this option is you can shut down your boiler in the off season and it only runs on a demand for hot water. Will occasionally come on to maintain tank temp as option #2 does.The downside is you now have 2 units to maintain. They do not have the life span of the other options and are costly to replace. Due to being less insulated it will run more often than option 2.

Again you have a TANKLESS COIL or an INDIRECT HOT WATER HEATER ( no burner)or a DIRECT FIRED WATER HEATER (requires its own burner).

I hope this helps a little.
 

Last edited by spott; 03-23-19 at 02:16 PM.
  #16  
Old 03-23-19, 03:53 PM
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Did the boiler coil ever work well?

Does it work better if at least one heating zone is calling for heat?

An extra zone with it own circulator that simply short circuits boiler water from the outgoing manifold to the return manifuld will churn the water in the boiler and bring hotter water in contact with the existing coil when no other zone is calling for heat.

You could also try a preheater. Mount a few dozen feet of finned pipe dissected out of hydronic baseboard radiators zig zag on the wall and have the fresh water about to enter the existing coil water heater run through that array first.

This preheater can be used with any of the choices above.

Do things go better if only one person or thing (washing machine etc.) uses hot water at any given time?

It is difficult to rig up indirect boiler heating using the tank of a stand alone water heater and have automatic switching between indirect and stand alone modes, unless the stand alone heater is oil fired..
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 03-23-19 at 04:42 PM.
  #17  
Old 03-23-19, 04:54 PM
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Allan,
This is a thread about a tankless coil in the boiler used for domestic hot water that is not performing. He is running out of hot water and looking for options.
 
  #18  
Old 03-23-19, 07:59 PM
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Google turned up this:
Direct-fired water heaters derive their name from the method water is heated within the storage tank. In this type of water heater, the water in the tank is heated directly by the heat of a flame
I use “hybrid” when there are two separate heat systems, i.e. hydronic boiler and direct fire water heater with an option to transfer heat from one to the other with a circulator. The systems can also be fired separately. Typically the most efficient operation is used for the particular season. Note: This can function as Indirect Water Heater but it has Direct Fire and can make DHW in summer or winter.

Commonly a “zone” in hydronic heating systems uses water circulated from boiler as source of heat. A tankless coil is integral to boiler, not a separate, remote thing. Yes, there are “Priorty” options on some controls for boiler aquastat, but that does not make the boiler a zone.

Operating independently there are aquastats for boiler, water heater and thermostats for zones. While they are thermally linked, they function separately.
 

Last edited by doughess; 03-23-19 at 08:28 PM.
  #19  
Old 03-23-19, 09:38 PM
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I'm thinking that since I'm running out of HW when showering , bath, etc the INDIRECT 40 gal. may be the way to go. I went down and looked at my boiler.

It's a Peerless WBV-03 oil burning water boiler. It has a tankless coil right now. I don't really have room on the right side to put the INDIRECT. Can it go to the left if someone installs it?

It has a Beckett burner and a Taco circulator and something Honeywell on top of the tankless outside. It's rated a 85% efficiency according to a yellow sticker on its side.

Is it under $2000 to have one installed?

Someone asked about the coil 'working well'. YES the water initially comes out very hot when you take a shower, but it only lasts about a minute or so and then it gets cooler and cooler. You can only take maybe a 3 minute shower before it is tepid.

I have a 2.5 gal showerhead also.

My Peerless has 201101 after the dash in the serial number and I'm assuming it's from 2011? It was here when we bought the house 4 years ago.

So the oil boiler appears to be about 8 years old. When will I need a new one?
 

Last edited by Brian1900; 03-23-19 at 10:17 PM.
  #20  
Old 03-24-19, 08:04 AM
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It has a tankless coil right now.
I have that also.

It has a Beckett burner and a Taco circulator and something Honeywell on top of the tankless outside.
I have a Beckett and Taco and Honeywell (the Honeywell is probably your Aquastat).

I have a 2.5 gal showerhead also.
I have that also.

My boiler (New Yorker) is 27 years old. I don’t know if the coil was ever replaced (it doesn’t look it) but I know it hasn’t been replaced in the 17 years I’ve lived here. When I take a shower it starts out hot and stays very hot. In fact, I know I need some type of tempering device one of these days, but no kids live here, just me.

I have well water that is very acidic (but I treat it now days) so maybe my coil never limed up over the years. Maybe yours has. If you have well water and it is hard, I think that could cause your coil to lime up, and as pointed out previously your hot water would suffer.

Also, I don’t see it mentioned on the thread (maybe I missed it), but with a setup like ours, the water in the boiler is kept at a minimum temperature year round. That keeps the coil at a minimum temp and thus your domestic hot water at a minimum temp. There is an adjustment on the Aquastat (Low Limit adj.) for the minimum temp. You may be able to set yours higher and that might make a difference.

When I set my Low Limit to 140 the water is not quite hot enough to my liking for a shower. When I set the Low Limit to 150 – then it’s hot enough, maybe too hot (so maybe actually my coil is limed up to some degree, 150 seems a little high).

But maybe the Low Limit is something you could look at.

So the oil boiler appears to be about 8 years old.
My guess is the experts here will tell you that’s just broken in.
 
  #21  
Old 03-24-19, 10:10 AM
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Brian1900: So the oil boiler appears to be about 8 years old. When will I need a new one?
No fixed life span on boilers. Replace when leak of water or exhaust cannot be fixed. Even fireboxes can be relined.

Important preventive maintenance is keeping inside clean. A rise in stack temperature is good indicator for cleaning.
 
  #22  
Old 03-26-19, 01:04 PM
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I am late to this thread but there is quite a bit to read, so maybe my questions have already been addressed.

I feel like maybe we should focus on his current setup before recommending system upgrades. Maybe I am mistaken, but I feel like Brian should be getting more than just 10 minutes of hot water unless his shower is a fire hose...? If so, there may be a simpler solution to resolve his problem and avoid $$$$ upgrades.

Some questions I don't think have been answered yet;
- what temperature is your boiler set to? You should have a triple Aquastat, so what are your Hi and Lo settings?
- does your DHW get priority over your heating zone?
- Is the issue more prevalent when zone 1 is calling for heat?
- Did your annual maintenance include cleaning/inspection of the coil? I assume thats standard but I don't know.
- Are you on well or city water? I would imagine hard well water would do a number on your tankless coil.
- What model is your coil? You should be able to get the capacity stats for it and then maybe compare it to your flow rate at the shower?

After purchasing a home last fall, I have spent a lot of time learning about our boiler with tankless DHW and hydronic heating. I am by no means a pro (so take everything I say with a grain of salt) but after tinkering a lot with my system, I feel like a properly set up/functioning tankless system should give over 10 minutes of steady hot water. My gut says the boiler temperature is too low and fluctuations come from heating zone calling simultaneously or your coil has some issues.
 
  #23  
Old 03-26-19, 03:03 PM
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Thanks I'll look into that stuff.

I'm going to have a heating/plumbing tech come and look at all this. I want to start by seeing if we can just get stuff running OK without having to upgrade the tankless coil. ALL I'm asking for is maybe a 5 minute hot shower and a bath once in a while.

The water sometimes starts out VERY hot (with just hot on) and I have to aim the shower head down for a couple minutes and then I can get under it and then it gets cooler and cooler.

I just went down a looked at the TEMP gauge and it said about 170 if I'm reading it right. What is the AQUA STAT? Is it the HONEYWELL thing that I have to remove a screw to access under the cover?
 
  #24  
Old 03-27-19, 06:03 AM
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What is the AQUA STAT? Is it the HONEYWELL thing that I have to remove a screw to access under the cover?
That sounds like it. Here is a picture of what they look like.

https://www.supplyhouse.com/Honeywel...SABEgJQkvD_BwE
 
  #25  
Old 03-27-19, 08:29 AM
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Take some pictures of your boiler (with visible dial), aquastat with panel off and settings and wiring visible. It definitely seems to me like something is off with your coil.

170F should be enough to give you hot water. I run my system at 180F for heating and at a minimum, have it maintain 150-160 for hotwater. At the minimum, I have plenty of hotwater; I can feel it fluctuate a little bit, but it stays hot for >20 minutes. Sometimes, the temp gauges mounted on the front of your boiler aren't accurate. Compare the reading on that gauge to the setting on your Aquastat, and even better, check the outlet piping temperature coming from your boiler. For example, on my boiler, the front gauge and the outlet piping are accurate, the aquatstat dial is actual off by 10-20 degrees. For me to acheive 180F water temp, I actually have to decrease the aquastat to about 165F.
 
  #26  
Old 03-27-19, 07:44 PM
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Brian1900 can get the tankless coil DHW GPH capacity of Peerless WBV-03 oil burning water boiler from the manufacturer

Then compare boiler GPM with following text from a major shower head company to determine what to do next.

A standard 2.5 GPM shower head uses 2.5 gallons of water each minute. That's 25 gallons for a 10-minute shower. A low-flow 2.0 GPM shower head uses 2.0 gallons of water each minute. That's only 20 gallons for a 10-minute shower.
A 30 gallon tank sound might be a solution.
 
  #27  
Old 03-28-19, 12:52 PM
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Maybe the boiler coil is limed up on the outside so boiler water does not circulate well over the coil to maximize the heating of the domestic water inside.

Sometimes the boiler coil is in an enclosure on the side of the boiler rather than right in the middle, so (particularly if no heating zone is calling) temperature differentials persist with stagnant cooler water about the coil and stagnant hotter water in the middle of the boiler. Thus the idea of an additional zone for domestic hot water.

You should at least dismount the coil assembly and inspect the outside of the coil and if necessary clean off lime and rust.

I would expect that a boiler with domestic hot water coil can be just as efficient as a stand alone water heater, if the boiler has adequate insulation in its outer jacket and you do not have eddy currents carrying heated water up into the house during the summer.

Are you sure the system is properly bled? A large air pocket in the boiler that envelops part of the coil will also cut down on the gallons per minute output of the coil.
 
  #28  
Old 03-28-19, 05:28 PM
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The whole point of my #26 post was to learn if Brian1900 tankless coil had capacity for his 10 minute shower when new. If the capacity was not adequate then messing with tankless coil is fruitless.

There are many ways coil capacity can decrease, but few practical ways to increase capacity over what it was when new. Brian1900 should consider alternative solutions.

Frequently on DIY.com see people replacing defective old model items costing far more than new improved models.

An example is DIY's replacing defective, old technology Honeywell R8184G controllers with a new one costing $79 to $124. https://www.supplyhouse.com/sh/contr...+control+R8184

A modern universal Honeywell R7284U control costs $65. It safer, more effective, has LCD display and history, and lockout alarm.
https://www.supplyhouse.com/Honeywel...ic-Oil-Primary
 
  #29  
Old 03-28-19, 06:10 PM
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Below is the Peerless sight that will give you all the info you need on your boiler. Your tankless coil number is 90532. If you call Peerless, at the number they provide they may be able to help if you are interested. In the WBV section page 22 item 9 is info numbers on your coil.

https://www.peerlessboilers.com/products/series-wbv/
 
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