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Old 11-16-2013, 07:13 AM   #1
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Hybrid water heater advice


I am considering updating my electric water heater to a Hybrid Electric.
I have done the research and I am a perfect candidate for a Hybrid.

The water heater would be located in a heated basement, where it would be near the wood furnace in winter and add nice cool dry air to the basement in the summer.

My question is about brands. I am really having a hard time deciding. I can get Rheem, GE, Whirlpool, and Kenmore at local retailers but are there others out there I should consider?

The GE hybrid has about 200 reviews on the Lowes site none of the others have much info. The GE is a screaming deal on sale for $999. With a $300 energy credit! There are a number of complaints about the GE though.
Rheem is rumored to be higher quality and I can get a comparable Rheem for $1200. Would the Rheem brand name be worth an extra $200?

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Old 11-16-2013, 08:07 AM   #2
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Hybrid water heater advice


Head to a good plumbing supply house and ask the counter guys what brand the plumbers prefer----Those things need maintenance---and getting parts when you need them is more important than price.

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Old 11-16-2013, 08:21 AM   #3
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Moved to plumbing------
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:04 AM   #4
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I put in a GE Geospring hybrid electric heater about four years ago. So far it has worked perfectly, with absolutely no maintenance required other than draining some water from the tank occasionally. The manual does not mention any other maintenance. I suppose I might have to replace a sacrificial anode at some point, but the manual does not describe how to do that, so it might be an adventure.
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Old 11-16-2013, 09:11 PM   #5
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Hybrid water heater advice


Another creative option would be to use a "tempering" loop. This would be a very long loop of pipe that would allow the water to come to near room temperature before it gets to the tank.
I ran some numbers and it might work.
Copper is just way too expensive so it will have to be PEX.
20 gallons of holding volume
1" PEX pipe (490 feet at $1/ft)
$500 counting fittings for one time expense.
No idea how to calculate the efficiency boost though.
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Old 12-26-2013, 12:08 PM   #6
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Hybrid water heater advice


Quote:
Originally Posted by chiraldude View Post
I am considering updating my electric water heater to a Hybrid Electric.
I have done the research and I am a perfect candidate for a Hybrid.

The water heater would be located in a heated basement, where it would be near the wood furnace in winter and add nice cool dry air to the basement in the summer.

My question is about brands. I am really having a hard time deciding. I can get Rheem, GE, Whirlpool, and Kenmore at local retailers but are there others out there I should consider?

The GE hybrid has about 200 reviews on the Lowes site none of the others have much info. The GE is a screaming deal on sale for $999. With a $300 energy credit! There are a number of complaints about the GE though.
Rheem is rumored to be higher quality and I can get a comparable Rheem for $1200. Would the Rheem brand name be worth an extra $200?
What did you decide on??? I bought a home that has a tankless hot water system. I too believe I'm a candidate for this type of electric heater. The plumber said he would install a "super store" add on to the steam furnace at the tune of 2K. I hate oil period!! The less oil I use the better imho... However I have a dirt floor in the basement and have concerns on how this electric unit would work in a not so contained environment.....
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:18 PM   #7
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Hybrid water heater advice


I did purchase the GE Hybrid. So far so good except for one small issue. The condensate drain fitting is plastic and somewhat fragile. The drain pipe got bumped by a child and the fitting snapped off. Not a big deal at the moment because it is winter and my basement is very dry so no water is dripping out. Will have to fix it before summer though.

The main concern is about the basement temperature. What do you mean by "not so contained environment"? The 2.4 energy factor only applies when the room temperature is above 68 degrees. At 50 degrees the energy factor is only about 1.5. At 45 degrees, the heat pump efficiency drops to 1.0 and there is no efficiency gained in heat pump mode. Also, per GE specs, the space needs to be at least 10x10x7. If the space is too small the heat pump will cool the space too much to be useful.
I wouldn't worry about the dirt floor. You need to put something underneath so it is level and doesn't sit on the dirt though. I would get some pressure treated 2x4s, cut them into sections and make a level pad to set it on.
Do you have the vertical height? It will be tricky to fit it into a space less than 6 feet high.
If your on-demand unit is in good shape, you might want to keep it in the loop. You could set the hybrid to 90 - 110 and then have the tankless boost it the rest of the way. What I have found is that when the GE is set to Hybrid mode, it uses the heat pump to heat the water up most of the way but switches to the electric heat elements for the last 10 degrees or so. Keeping the tankless would mean you still have unlimited hot water but with efficiency more like the hybrid.

If you can purchase before January 1, you will be able to get the $300 tax credit.
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:59 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info!! Glad it worked out for you. My home is an older farm house. Ceiling height is 6 feet plus some. Partial dirt floor area, and numerous crawl spaces off the basement area. The steam furnace is there and it is quite warm now (winter) Not sure how it will be in the summer. Not sure the current tankless system will supply enough water for our family of 5 if the thermostat calls for the steam boiler to supply heat at the same time hot water is being demanded. I'm trying to arrive at a hot water solution without breaking the bank. My current electric company is offering a $750 rebate on the GE HW heater if installed by Jan 31 2014....that is why I'm researching it now. Combine that with the $300 from the gov....and it's just about free
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:25 PM   #9
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I just figured your on-demand system was electric but sounds like it uses the steam furnace instead. Not familiar with that setup.
Putting the GE near the furnace is a win-win. That extra heat gets put into your hot water instead of just going into the ground.
If your basement is humid in the summer, the water heater will dry things out. Have you thought about where the condensate will drain?
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:36 PM   #10
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Yeah the furnace keeps the area quite warm which is another reason I was thinking or considering this type unit. How much would you say the room temp drops with this unit? As far as the condensate goes I have an old well in the basement I could drain into pretty easily.....oil here is $3.53/gallon right now. I'll look into combining the systems as well.....
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Old 12-26-2013, 05:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiraldude View Post
Another creative option would be to use a "tempering" loop. This would be a very long loop of pipe that would allow the water to come to near room temperature before it gets to the tank.
I ran some numbers and it might work.
Copper is just way too expensive so it will have to be PEX.
20 gallons of holding volume
1" PEX pipe (490 feet at $1/ft)
$500 counting fittings for one time expense.
No idea how to calculate the efficiency boost though.
There is no real "efficiency boost" to speak of. You have to heat the room don't you? In other words what you will find is that the space you place your "tempering loop" in will cool a heck of a lot faster than it did before and you will have to dump more heat into it as a result

You can pay for the heat energy before it gets to the tank or while it is in the tank... but either way you will pay for it. The only way your loop may save you money is in the Spring when the water is still Winter cold and you're looking for air conditioning as oppose to heat.

Last edited by Bob Sanders; 12-26-2013 at 05:39 PM.
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Old 12-26-2013, 05:57 PM   #12
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It only drops the temp about 5 degrees and then only when I let the wood stove go out for a few hours. Hardly notice it when there is a fire. Hoping it will make the basement more comfortable in the summer. Will have to see.
As far as keeping the on-demand loop, seems like it could go either way. Depends on how the control loop is set up.
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Old 12-26-2013, 06:09 PM   #13
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@ Bob,
The reason johnpma and myself will get a benefit is that this is free heat. We have heating systems that leak heat into unused space. Grabbing this heat and putting it into the hot water recaptures wasted heat.
As for the tempering loop, unless I had 300 feet of PEX laying around collecting dust, it wouldn't be worth the cost and effort.
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Old 12-26-2013, 08:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpma View Post
Thanks for the info!! Glad it worked out for you. My home is an older farm house. Ceiling height is 6 feet plus some. Partial dirt floor area, and numerous crawl spaces off the basement area. The steam furnace is there and it is quite warm now (winter) Not sure how it will be in the summer. Not sure the current tankless system will supply enough water for our family of 5 if the thermostat calls for the steam boiler to supply heat at the same time hot water is being demanded. I'm trying to arrive at a hot water solution without breaking the bank. My current electric company is offering a $750 rebate on the GE HW heater if installed by Jan 31 2014....that is why I'm researching it now. Combine that with the $300 from the gov....and it's just about free
When your thermostat calls for heat. You will still get as much hot water as you need. Since in order for a steam boiler to heat your house. It has to increase the water temp in the boiler to make steam.

A superstore on a oil fired steam boiler is a bad idea. Only uses slightly less oil. And the superstore cost so much that you never get a return on your investment.
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Old 12-26-2013, 08:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiraldude View Post
@ Bob,
The reason johnpma and myself will get a benefit is that this is free heat. We have heating systems that leak heat into unused space. Grabbing this heat and putting it into the hot water recaptures wasted heat.
As for the tempering loop, unless I had 300 feet of PEX laying around collecting dust, it wouldn't be worth the cost and effort.
In the summer, you get some free heat. In the winter, you don't.

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