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Why does my gas water heater have hot and cold water connections on the top of the tank and another set on the side of the tank?

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    What model? So that we could look up the manual or pictures. – Dan D. Jan 18 '16 at 22:30
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    Are the pipes on the side connected to a boiler? Could you include the make and model, and some photos? – Tester101 Jan 18 '16 at 23:34
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1 set of connections for the sinks and one set for a water-based central heating system.

These systems are kept separated because the pipes and radiators used in such a central heating system is not meant for containing drinking water. (If you ever bled such a system you'd know from the smell alone)

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The second set should be for your heating, whether radiant or forced air.

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