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Q: Nice site... I live in Massachusetts.... I have a Weil-McLane oil-fired hot water boiler with an "inside" heat exchanger for the hot water for the house. I have looked it over and there are no external signs of anodes. The hot water is "inconsistent" and I have replaced the mixing valve a couple of times, which does seem to improve things briefly but I still have a short supply of hot water for filling bathtubs for the kids.

I am considering installing a Boilermate to improve the quantity and consistency of the hot water... Do all the "suggestions" you have here apply to the Boilermates (hot water heaters fed by a heating loop from the oil burner/boiler) too? Are there things I can do to improve the quality of the hot water coming out of the existing setup?

I have been told that the latest installs use the Boilermates instead of the internal heaters because it is more efficient and cycles the heater less.... Any suggestions on type of water heater tied to the boiler and "instructions" on how to do this would be appreciated.... I would consider myself to be proficient in household plumbing..... Thanks.

A: The info we have works for glass-lined tanks. Many of the indirect boiler tanks are stainless steel and do not need anodes. We don't remember what "Boilermate" is made of, but that should be easy to find out. Drawing water from a tank instead of directly through a coil will even out hot water temperature.

A tempering valve may still be needed to avoid scalding water. That will be covered in installation instructions. All in all, going to an indirect heater is a good move, particularly if the boiler is efficient and is kept on year round. To improve what you have, a bigger internal coil, or deliming your present coil are some thoughts. You may want to look up "This Old House Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning," by Tretheway. -- Larry (1995-2000)

Q: My coil in my oil burner doesn' t supply enough hot water. what would be the best product to replace it? Thanks.

A: You have a coil in your oil fired, hot water boiler, yes? If so, replacing it with a storage tank, heated as a separate zone, by the boiler will give far better results. -- Larry (9/20/04)

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