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Geospring Air Source Hot Water: Installed

Post in 'The Green Room' started by CarbonNeutral, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. CarbonNeutral

    CarbonNeutral Minister of Fire

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    With an exterior storage tank, I'm sure you could work something out. I could still pull hot water from my boiler as I just installed valves instead of cutting the lines.

    That said, it does have a 30W conventional resistance coil for high demand times. We had my family (wife, 2 smaller kids, and my parents in law for a week). The tank did switch to normal resistive heating once in a while, but we never had water that was cooler than expected.

    Now that they have gone, I've forced it into heat pump mode only. No problems so far.

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  2. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    My local Home Depot does not sell this product, even though the only hot water heaters they sell are GE. I guess I need to do some hunting and see about this. This sounds near ideal for my house. My hot water tank is a zone off my 180k btu boiler and I go through probably 200+ gallons a year of oil to make hot water. My basement is never below 50-55 and is pretty dry As a family of 3, we don't use all that much hot water...average 12 showers a week and 6-8 loads a week in the dishwasher...we wash our hands in cold water and do the launrdy in cold too.

    This thing could easily pay for itself in 2-3 years in oil savings, even when the cost of oil comes back down some.

    Carbon, I'll be interested to hear about your experiences with this thing and what your electric bill looks like.
  3. CarbonNeutral

    CarbonNeutral Minister of Fire

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    Lowes, and yes, I will update when I get some data
  4. Huskyforlife

    Huskyforlife Member

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    Installed the unit yesterday in my basement and shut my boiler off for good. I have it set for 130F and the water coming out is a lot hotter than what my indirect used to produce. Compressor is not too loud, not really any louder than when we run the dryer or washer right next to it. I'll be interested to see how much my electric bill goes up. Even if it costs me $40/month, that is still significantly less than the $100/month for oil.
  5. CarbonNeutral

    CarbonNeutral Minister of Fire

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    Awesome, hope it works out.
  6. Huskyforlife

    Huskyforlife Member

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    Been checking my meter every day when I come home from work. Looks like it is about 7KWh to run per day. Not bad for the winter when my basement is only 53F. I'm assuming this number should drop a bit in the summer when it is warmer.
  7. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    So thats about $30 or so a month, right? Fantastic. I'm strongly leaning towards getting one of these things myself. Even conservatively I think I use about 20 gallons a month in oil for my hot water. If this new tank uses $40 a month in electricity year round and oil remains stable where it is, it looks like a 4 year return on investment of $1500.
  8. Huskyforlife

    Huskyforlife Member

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    I figured my ROI at 16 months, or 1.33 years. Oil usage from my boiler was about 25 gal/month. I'm also assuming oil and electricity remain at the same price which are $3.70/gal and $.15/KWh respectively. Finally, I was able to get the water heater for about $1100 installed because of the various discounts and tax credit lumped together.
  9. Huskyforlife

    Huskyforlife Member

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    I'm also not including the aggravation and cost of trying to maintain a 20-year old Vaillant boiler that wasn't designed to only heat a hot water tank. Plugged nozzles, plugged filters, you have to tear the thing down and clean it every year.
  10. Huskyforlife

    Huskyforlife Member

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    Got my first actual electric bill yesterday. Looks like I was off on my original estimates - the unit is only taking about 4 KWh a day to produce our hot water. Needless to say our bill barely went up - about $20. It probably helps that I also forced it into Heat Pump-only mode (this seems to work well - we've never ran out of hot water). A large improvement over burning $100/month worth of oil - at this rate the install will pay for itself in 1 year!
  11. CarbonNeutral

    CarbonNeutral Minister of Fire

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    A few months on with it:

    It pulls at least a gallon of water out of the basement air each day. Electric bills have gone up, but not by the $20 I was expecting. I have it on heat-pump mode only and have only come close to running out once or twice. When we have a houseful I do switch to hybrid. The basement has been really nice and cool - great for when we had to spend a few hours in it because of the nearby tornadoes...
  12. Huskyforlife

    Huskyforlife Member

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    Running mine in HP-only mode, it does a great job dehumidifying the basement. I would have to run a dehumidifier anyway, so its nice to get free hot water as a result.
  13. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hello Huskyforlife

    My 22 year old Valliant with the tankless coil used about 300 gallons per year for DHW.
    See pics below:

    But my new Buderus with the 45 gallon SuperStor Ultra should use about half of that. I will know for sure in Sept when I fill the tank. So far I am on the same tank of oil since Sept 30 of last year with 1/4 tank left.

    I paid last sept 2.59 per gallon
    So I paid
    Oil DHW 150 gallons x $2.59 per gallon is $388.50

    However Oil at $3.00 per gallon
    Oil DHW 150 gallons x $3.00 per gallon is $450.00

    HP Electric $40.00 per month x 12 months is $480.00

    or

    HP Electric $30.00 per month x 12 months is $360.00

    So we will see. However Oil is going up in price faster than electric!

    Pics of dead 22 year old valliant Oil Boiler !!!

    Attached Files:

  14. Huskyforlife

    Huskyforlife Member

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    Hi Don,

    The Geospring is only using about $15 worth of electricity a month, or $180/year. That's at CT rates which are pretty high. So the payoff if you want to switch is a little bit quicker.
  15. CarbonNeutral

    CarbonNeutral Minister of Fire

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    I reckon I'm between $10 and $15 as well with MA rates (though my rate is one of the lowest in MA)
  16. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hello mayham

    I just roughly calculated 22 gallons of oil per month for DHW since I use a pellet stove for heat now. However I am considering a DHW solar panel system. There is a new German drain back system that prevents pressure build up and the Solar Panel is the latest in reflective heat technology. New England Solar sells it but the parts are probably much cheaper if you buy and install it. There are still really good tax breaks on Solar and the savings can be alot more than the Electric. Electric rates go up too but Solar is Free!!

    http://neshw.com/residential/benefits-of-solar-hot-water/

    Attached Files:

  17. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    So Don, I looked at solar too....and I will still be going with the HP.

    I got a quote for $13k for a small solar DHW (two panels) or $15k for a three panel system with a 50 or 80 gal storage tank, installed, pre rebate (brand was Velux). Solar rebates in PA right now are 70% as a tax credit (!!) so my cost would be $4-5k. While the pre rebate price seems like a lot, these were very spiffy, well engineered systems, an experienced installer in the area, and, um, I don't think DIY installs get rebates.

    I had several tech concerns, which the installer confirmed:

    --I checked out my insolation using this tool: http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/calculators/PVWATTS/version1/ and what I found out was pretty cool, my annual energy output would be about 1000 hours * my maximum output, and my output in the dead of winter would be ~0.4 times my summer output. The tool is for PV, but I can use it for solar thermal if you assume a different eff, it is basically telling you solar input. The conclusion is that if I sized my system for fall/spring, I would have to dump some excess heat in the summer, and use some backup in the winter.

    --The tank temp has to 'swing' a lot to store the solar heat--you can compute the BTUs, but to store a days input the bottom half or more of tank has to be cold at the beginning of the day. The backup controller fires the elec coil when the top half of the tank gets cold, and shuts it down when the top half is heated. So, when you are in backup, your DHW capacity is ~half of your tank volume (25 or 40 gallons).

    Taken together, if our house used more than than half of what the tank stored daily, then we would be firing the backup a little all year round, and a lot in the winter. So while a conventional 50 gal tank would suffice for my family, if I got a 50 gal solar system, solar would likely only provide 50-60% of my needs, with the rest backup, and we might run out a lot. The bigger system would do better, at a cost, but was still unlikely to provide more than 70% of our needs on the solar.

    In comparison, I computed that I could get either a 50 or 80 gallon HP water heater, and it would use 50-60% less elec than a conventional elec tank, and thus about the same amount as the **conventional elec backup** in the solar systems I was considering. This year there is a $300 rebate for these guys, and I suspect that my installed cost will be about the same or less than the after rebate solar cost.

    I would love hear from anyone with a actual solar DHW system to see if my logic/estimates are off base!
  18. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    I agree still hard to justify a solar DHW because of costs. I wish my standard home air source heat dump had some method to utilize the waste heat during the summer months to heat my DHW. My 80 gal electric water probably accounts at least a 1/4 of our bill. Rates are cheap here but probably not for long, especially with all the damage due to flooding on the Missouri river. I would be great to see a new generation of home appliances that worked together with the home heating/cooling system and could also utilize the extreme outdoor temps that most of us in the US see throughout the year.
  19. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Yah, the surprising thing to me was not so much the cost (after rebate), but rather the _operating_ cost of solar--30% of your DHW of conventional elec can be about as expensive as a new-tech HP water heater doing 100%, or a high eff gas boiler with an indirect. So much for sunlight being free. Of course, you can fix my concerns above by having a solar tank with the backup coil disconnected, and then something like a HP or indirect downstream, but now you are throwing a lot of expensive hardware at the last 30%, not a good ROI.

    I like your idea, but I think we're unlikely to see it in a air-source HP system. To run efficiently, the outdoor coil and fan should be as large as possible--in AC mode that means the hot air you are exhausting should be only a bit above ambient.

    Of course, an 'economizer' is an old idea like what you're describing that could come back--they are widely used in commercial HVAC. Basically, the idea is a whole-house fan attached to a differential temp controller--it turns on the fan whenever doing so would make the house closer to comfort (including the effects of humidity). We could use the same idea to preheat water....
  20. abrucerd

    abrucerd Member

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    Hi,

    I just stumbled upon this topic, and figured I'd chime in with my experience since I've had the Geospring for about a year now.

    I originally had an oil-fed hot water heater, which sprung a leak last year. After researching, I decided to replace it with the Geospring... less dependency on oil and all that jazz. My unit is in an unheated, unfinished, humid basement.

    The instillation went great... only took 2 or 3 hours. If anyone in central mass wants an experienced plumber, let me know... my guy was great and he did his research before he came to inspect my old setup. It was up and running mid-August 2010, and I had it set to Pump-only mode. My wife didn't notice any differences... so no complaints :)

    Around November, I did start to notice a difference in water temperature. My wife showers first in the morning, and then me. The water was noticeably colder (but not cold... more luke warm). This is because of my low temp basement that houses the unit. To combat this, I raised the set temperature and put it in Hybrid mode throughout the winter... water was much better. When we have company over, I put it in high demand mode, just because I don't want my guests to notice anything. In may, I went back to pump-only mode.

    I haven't got a chance to use vacation mode... but I really want to cause I think it's a cool feature. I also haven't heard the "clean filter" alarm... so that's pretty good after a year... very low maintenance.

    As for cost, since I didn't have a standard electric hot water heater before, it's hard to compare. But in the past year, I'm noticing a $50 dollar difference each month. But again, the flip side is I don't have to order oil every year, so you can do the math there :)

    Overall, I'm very pleased with the unit. I like that I can set the controls based on my needs any given day/week/month. If anyone wants other specific information, let me know.

    Cheers!
  21. hemlock

    hemlock Feeling the Heat

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    Regarding HPWH, is it possible to duct them outside to avoid robbing heat from the living space of your home?

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