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Pulled the trigger on a HPWH

Post in 'The Green Room' started by 343amc, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. 343amc

    343amc Feeling the Heat

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    My 11 year old water heater started to drip from the bottom slightly the other day. It was a cheap 6 year warranty unit I put in not long after I bought my house. I'd been on the fence about a HPWH for a while as my basement (used to) get fairly cold in the winter, bottoming out around 52-53 degrees. Lowe's had the Geospring on sale for $999 through 2/20/13. I figured that price, coupled with the $300 tax credit, isn't a whole lot more than a decent quality resistance element heater. I added the $99 warranty to cover the unit top to bottom for the full 10 years. I don't usually do the extended warranty thing, but that seemed like a fair price based on the number of parts and added complexity of the unit.

    A little over a month ago I installed a pellet burning furnace and the basement has warmed up fairly nicely. I run a dehumidifier from mid March to mid October, so maybe this will reduce the need to run the dehumidifier in the summer months. I'm hoping that the "waste heat" from the pellet furnace on the utility room side of the basement (about 800 square feet or so) will be enough to keep the water heater in hybrid mode or heat pump only mode during the coldest months.

    I plan on installing it later this week. I don't think there is any magic to it, but if anyone has any tips/tricks or hints I'm always willing to listen.

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  2. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I have a different (noisier) unit, but give a thought to noise.
  3. 343amc

    343amc Feeling the Heat

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    I'd read some concerns about the noise, but it will be in a far corner of the basement underneath the dining room, at the opposite end of the house from the bedrooms, and about 20 feet from the main living room. As long as it doesn't sound like a Mack truck idling, then noise shouldn't be much of a concern.
  4. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    The geospring is not supposed to be all that loud. Customer complaints are usually about either slow recovery (on the HP only mode), or disappointing savings (if you run conventional often to get faster recovery). If you have a big family using a ton of HW, you might be frustrated, but otherwise you will likely be fine. I went for an 80 gal unit to get it both ways (enough water for 4 in HP mode only).
  5. 343amc

    343amc Feeling the Heat

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    We've got a small household - my wife, myself and an 11 year old. I'm expecting lower savings in the winter months, as the basement hovers around 64-65 or so, but am hoping for more substantial savings in the summer months, especially if I can reduce/eliminate the need to run the dehumidifier.
  6. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    We've had a good experience with our Geospring for about two years now. Ours is tucked away in one corner of the basement and I'm glad it is because it is noisier than we would like.
    I now look for anything we can put in the storage room where the Geospring is located that produces waste heat. Its a bit of a game. I've been able to put some electronics down there such as battery chargers, networking equipment etc.
    I'm making hot water from the inefficiency losses of other devices.
    I'm considering venting the output from my fridges condenser down there too.
    We no longer need a dedicated dehumidifier in the basement.
  7. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Can you do any ducting with it? I know some use ducting with their Geysers - say run some from under the floor at the back of your fridge to the air intake of the heat pump.
  8. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Assuming your reply is to me:
    I guess I could do some ducting. I may direct the output from the HPWH fan to an adjacent room to enhance air flow and to cool that room in the summer.
    The fridge looks to be pretty easy. I can direct the hot air coming from it through the floor to room below where the HPWH is located.
  9. 343amc

    343amc Feeling the Heat

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    Update: I installed the Geospring yesterday. I started it up and left it in hybrid mode to get the tank warmed up, then went to dinner. I switched it to heat pump only after a few hours.

    It's not terribly noisy, no worse than the dehumidifier. You can't hardly hear it upstairs unless the furnace blower is off and the house is dead quiet.

    No issues with hot water running low after showers, laundry, dishwasher, etc.

    The real test will be the electric bills the next couple months.
    woodgeek likes this.
  10. charly

    charly Guest

    We've had ours going on two years.. works fine and not too noisy like you said.. I know our electric was cheaper after we installed it as well.. I forgot what the difference was at the time... We have plenty of hot water in the HP mode as well..
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Can I get an update on your installs and changes in electrical bills? We don't really need a new hw heater, but GE and local utilities have an offer on the Geospring that makes it essentially free except for the installation, though you have to be eligible for the Fed. tax credit next year which I think we will be.
  12. charly

    charly Guest

    I know the bills are cheaper , haven't kept track.. Basically it draws about 700 watts in the hybrid mode,,, if it can't heat in that mode after so long it will switch over to one of the two heating elements... Ours is going on two years and zero problems.. I do try to drain the tank often as they said that should be done monthly to get any sediment out from the bottom of the tank...
  13. 343amc

    343amc Feeling the Heat

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    Last month was the first full month of billing since I installed it. My electric bill was under $100 for the first time in a couple years. It totaled $93 and change. No propane or natural gas here. All my appliances are electric except the oil furnace, which I never use anyways. :)

    From what I can estimate, I probably am saving about $20 a month in electric costs. I know the Geospring is much better insulated than the unit i replaced, so I assume that factors in. I have the temperature set at 125 and have never run low on hot water.

    I have no complaints at all. If it reduces my need to run a dehumidifier in the summer months then I'll save a few more bucks a month.
  14. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    I switched to geothermal heating and heat pump water heater from oil and my electric bill bump was 150 bucks for the month of march ( first full month all systems ran full time). That's 3800sq ft with three people. A far cry from the cost of oil we were paying for monthly. That was in hybrid mode since my basement is pretty cool now without the oil burner and baseboard pipes. Now that its warmer,it's running in heat pump mode only. Unfortunately the rebate was only offered for electric to heat pump conversion...1k for a unit I paid. 900 for (geospring). I installed it myself.
  15. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That would be a deal killer right there for me. I'm into low maintenance. Is everyone that owns one of these doing this?
  16. jdp1152

    jdp1152 Minister of Fire

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    No earthly idea where that recommendation came from. I just pulled up two different GE model manuals, including my own, and searched Drain and absolutely no where in any of them does it say to drain monthly. The only maintenance you might have to do with a HPWH is clean the filter on the top since it's moving air. Mines been running for a while and not even remote dirty despite being in a basement.
  17. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    :eek: This freaked me out (a little) so I checked my manual on the AO Smith. It says clean the air filter as needed, and drain it 2X a year. Since its been a year since install, I was planning on doing that soon. I will report back.
  18. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Shouldn't all water heaters have the sediment drained periodically?
  19. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Indeed. But with a $2k unit I might actually DO it.

    I have a theory that the large area, low temp heating from a HP will make less scale than a little element. We shall see.
  20. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I had the same thought.
    Our old resistance unit produced a lot of sediment as minerals built up on heating elements and then broke off, effectively "softening" our hot water.
    The GeoSpring heating coil surrounds the steel inner tank. I was hoping the lower temps and lack of water contact would result in less sediment forming.

    Edit: The stuff that accumulated in our old tank could not be drained. The chunks were too large too drain even after the valve was completely removed from the bottom of the tank.
  21. charly

    charly Guest

    I'd rather stay ahead of the sediment on my Geo then let it build... The old hot water heater that was in here before we bought the place felt like it had 200 lbs of sediment in the bottom when we went to move it out,,, wow was that heavy! Obviously never drained much if at all.
  22. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I've never drained our unit. S'pose I should but I have enough on my plate already. If I drained the HWHP at all it would probably just be annually. Fortunately we don't have high mineral concentration. I think manganese is the highest item.
  23. 343amc

    343amc Feeling the Heat

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    I drain my water heaters once a year. My water is still chock full of vitamins and minerals even after going through a dedicated iron filter and a softener.

    I had a new well drilled a couple years back and the iron level is 'off the charts' so to speak, but not quite as bad as the old well. I joke that I could cast engine blocks with the water that comes straight from the well.

    The drain on the Geospring looks to sit lower in the tank than my previous unit. Not quite sure how I'll get a hose on it without damaging the drip pan. That might help get some more crud out of the bottom.
  24. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Ok, I shut down my Voltrex and drained 20 gallons out the bottom--nada, crystal clear. Pulled the air filter and washed it, barely anything on it.

    I plan to do exactly zilch with it until this time next year.

    Note: in the last year I suspect it has run the element fewer than 3 days.
  25. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Same here. I think I could sell the sediment filters to a metals recycle company.

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