What are the Differences Between Direct and Indirect Water Heaters?

August 19, 2019

You may consider your water heater one of the most important appliances in your home. It provides hot water for bathing and washing dishes. If you need to purchase a new water heater, you will find a number of options. You may want to choose between direct and indirect water heaters. Both heat water sufficiently for household use, but they do it by different means. You will find there are advantages to purchasing either type of water heater.


Both types of heaters have zinc anode rods that should be replaced periodically. These rods are fastened to the top of the heater to prevent rust. Direct water heaters have more parts than indirect water heaters. An indirect water heater has no gas or electric heating elements in its tank.

Heating Water

Water in a direct heater is heated by oil, natural gas or propane. The heater has a burner. An indirect heater heats water through a boiler. Heat transfer coils connect the tank to the boiler. Fluid in the coils heats up. The boiler must rise to a certain temperature to heat the water sufficiently.


Direct water heaters work faster because the only thing they do is generate hot water. This makes them more efficient than indirect water heaters. You may want to buy this type of heater if you have a large family. A heater that works faster means it is less likely that people will have to wait for hot water to take showers. You will still have hot water if your boiler breaks down because these heaters are not connected to boilers. Direct water heaters are less expensive to purchase than indirect water heaters.

You do not need to have venting for an indirect water heater. It can use almost any type of power. They have no additional extra energy cost. This type of heater would be a good choice if you are trying to save money by using less energy. These heaters also have fewer parts than direct heaters. This means there are fewer parts that could become damaged or corroded.

Both types can help you save energy. Factors that can determine the amount of energy saved include the size of the heater and the efficiency of your HVAC system.

A water heater is necessary for a home to function smoothly. It is a good idea to always have your water heater installed or repaired by a qualified technician.

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