water heater installation affecting condo central heating system?

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Old 11-21-14, 11:54 PM
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water heater installation affecting condo central heating system?

I had a water heater replaced by a plumber about a year and a half ago. I recently turned on the heat to my condo unit and noticed cool air blowing out. I was told that the water heater installation has something to do with it because a section was capped off. So, that section (in picture) should be uncapped and then reconnected to the water heater drain valve (originally I think that was how the connection was). Any thoughts? Also, should both of the blue turn valves (in picture) be opened after the connection? Thank you.
 
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Old 11-22-14, 04:22 AM
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Welcome to the forums! What type heating system do you have? Do you have a heat pump? Furnace? It is most odd to have a domestic potable hot water system furnish hot water to a heating system. Our plumbing pros will chime in here shortly, so stay tuned.
 
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Old 11-22-14, 10:21 AM
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Sorry for some missing information. I do not know exactly what type of heating system we have. I just know we have central heat and air. I don't think there is a furnace though. We called the HVAC company and was told that air should be heated via the water heater and then blown out to the condo unit for heating. But because the pipe capped off, there is no air to be heated. I just want to get some input before the plumber comes so that we are doing it correctly.

I believe prior to replacing the water heater, the old water heater's drain valve was connected to the capped off pipe; it may have been an elbow type connection with one end connected to the capped pipe and the other end still being able to connect to a hose to drain water out.

The water heater is located in a hallway closet within the condo unit. When the plumber replaced the new water heater, I think he capped off the pipe because we were concerned about another water leak (old water heater flooded the unit prior).
 
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Old 11-22-14, 02:17 PM
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Additional pic with device that kicks in when the heating to the condo unit is turned on. Also, pic of t+p valve connection.
 
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Old 12-07-14, 05:18 PM
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It has been done. The water heater is used as the heat source for room heating (space heating; central heating). Water is drawn from the top of the tank and fed into a coil in the air duct which saps the heat from the water that then returns to the tank via the bottom drain valve. Because the water drawn off to heat the air duct is returned to the tank, no additional cold water is drawn in to run up your water bill (unless there is a leak).

This usually does not work out well simply because in many cases the water heater burner is too small to supply enough heat (enough BTUs) to heat the whole house. Also the burner and other components in a water heater are not robust enough to run long hours in winter year after year for providing heat for central heating.

Since you are in California, maybe it did work okay because the climate is not severe to require that much from the heating system.

When your water heater was replaced, the pipe loop from the water heater to the central heating system was omitted from the hot water piping so the heating system now has no source of heat.

Your room thermostat controls a fan that blows air through the ductwork past the hot water coil where the air gets heated. It also turns on a pump in the heating loop to make water go through the loop faster and therefore deliver more BTUs to the central heating duct.

When the water inside the water heater tank cools down enough from having made the trip out to the central heating duct work and back enough times (or because some was drawn off to take a shower with and with new incoming cold water taking its place), the water heater burner kicks on automatically.

The same ductwork is used for air conditioning, with the flow of water through the hot water pipe loop stopped and Freon going through another pipe loop in the duct.

Another use for a hot water recirculating pipe loop with pump is to have hot water just under the bathroom or kitchen faucets so you don't have to wait for hot water when turning the faucet on.

.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 12-07-14 at 05:53 PM.
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