Posted 01-27-2005 at 18:54:02
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If you turn off the first (in the series) you have nothing more than a $200 forty gallon holding tank for room temp water.
The water coming in will be at whatever temp the water service (well, public, etc) gives you.
The second tank (with gas) is heating forty gallons each burn. As the tank depletes hot water it is filled from the first tank (no or little heat). The second tank still has to heat the water to the appropriate temp.
You are no saving gas with this so far. (I don't think.)
In the above scenario, I do no see the benefit of two tanks in series.
If you have heat on the first and second tanks, you can certainly provide hot water beyond 40 gallons to your house faster.
The big question is: Do you need this? A 40-gal heater is pretty big. We have a 50 gal htr with 7 people in our house and never run out of hot water.
Do you want to burn gas by heating two tanks? Maybe not.
Do you have a high volume hot water use? Normal households do not.
Perhaps you should dump the two in series and get a 50 gal htr or a heat-on-demand system. Just a thought.