If your home is like most households in the U.S., you use your water heater every day. When it’s working properly, you don’t think about it. In fact, most of the time, you don’t even see it because it’s usually tucked away under your home or in a closet. However, if it doesn’t work the way it should, you’ll need a new one. When looking at your different options, you might be asking: what is an indirect water heater?

What Is an Indirect Water Heater?

An indirect water heater uses heat transfer to warm the water inside the tank to the desired temperature. There are no gas or electric heating elements inside the tank. Rather, it uses heat transfer coils that are connected to a boiler. Water is heated by the coil and then goes into the water tank, where it cools off before cycling back to the heat source.

When asking what is an indirect water heater, you may also be wondering if they are suitable for every home. The answer to this is no. Your house has to have the right components to be able to hook the indirect water heater to. If you have an older furnace in your home or a forced air furnace, you may not be able to use an indirect water heater.

Most indirect water heaters require a boiler to run properly. If you don’t have one of these in your home already, this won’t be the best water heater option for you. It may be possible to get one added, but this could be an added expense that may not be worth it.

Indirect Water Heater vs Tankless Water Heater

When trying to decide what type of water heater to get, you might be considering both a tankless water heater and an indirect water heater. While these heaters are different, the end result is that they heat water for you to use throughout your home. Below are some of the differences you should know about as you make your decision.


The most obvious difference you will notice when it comes to an indirect water heater and a tankless water heater is the fact that the tankless water heater doesn’t have a tank. The indirect water heat still needs a tank to store the coils that warm the water.

Water Volume

Another difference between a tankless water heater and an indirect water heater is that tankless water heaters have a limited amount of hot water that they can provide. Depending on their rating, they will supply a specific number of gallons of hot water per minute. On the other hand, an indirect water heater supplies unlimited hot water per minute up to however many gallons the tank can hold.

Thus, if you have a larger home with lots of people who use hot water, getting an indirect heater might be the better option. If your home is smaller or doesn’t use as much water, a tankless system could work just fine for you.

It’s also possible to combine these two water heaters. For example, you might decide to have a tankless water heater in the kitchen and an indirect heater for the rest of your house. This option could help you save money and make your home more energy efficient when it comes to heating water for daily chores.

Is An Indirect Water Heater the Right Choice?

In addition to asking what is an indirect water heater, you may also be wondering if it’s the right choice for your home. It could be a good addition if you have a need for a lot of hot water and don’t want to wait for it to warm up. If you have a boiler that can connect to the indirect water heater, this can also help you decide if you want this component in your home.

These water heaters are incredibly efficient, but most tanks are around 30 gallons in size. Thus, you will need the space to have this stored somewhere in your home. This can be another factor that you’ll need to consider when deciding if this is the right choice for you and your family.


A person's feet under the heated water at the bathtub

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Hot water is one of those conveniences that makes life amazing. We use hot water for so many things, including showering, cooking, cleaning, and washing clothes. If you’re like most people, you want a system that works effectively and saves you some money. An indirect water heater could be just the thing you’re looking for. It can provide on-demand hot water and an efficient system that ensures hot water for your family at a price you can afford.

Featured Image by Ulrich Dregler from Pixabay