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Heat Pump Water Heaters


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My standard 80 gal. electric water heater gave up the ghost last weekend.  Of course, no one was home.  Now, after 2 days of pumping, fans and dehumidifiers, it's time to replace the offending unit.

 

My plumber is offering two alternatives.

 

A standard "high efficiency" electric heater (down to 50 gal.; he says no one is stocking the conventional 80 gal.);

 

A hybrid unit - uses heat pump technology to draw heat from the surrounding air and reduce electric consumption.  

 

Installed, about $1500 for conventional, $3000 for hybrid.

 

Anyone use a hybrid?  My basement is cool - probably 60 deg or a bit less - which I understand reduces the utility of the hybrid.

 

I'd appreciate any feedback on these units from anyone who uses one.

 

Gracias.

 

LL

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My heat pump is outdoors and supplements my furnace in the winter reducing my propane consumption and provides A/C in the week of summer that we get.

 

If yours will be in the basement it will reduce the temperature of the basement even more than 60°. I presume you already have a dehumidifier there, if not you will need it.

 

Heat pump will work harder in the winter when the basement will be cooler.  My furnace shifts over to propane at 23° .

 

80 gal heaters can be had, just need to order it. probably not needed unless you have a hot tub or big family.

 

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3 minutes ago, Marshal Mo Hare, SASS #45984 said:

My heat pump is outdoors and supplements my furnace in the winter reducing my propane consumption and provides A/C in the week of summer that we get.

 

If yours will be in the basement it will reduce the temperature of the basement even more than 60°. I presume you already have a dehumidifier there, if not you will need it.

 

Heat pump will work harder in the winter when the basement will be cooler.  My furnace shifts over to propane at 23° .

 

80 gal heaters can be had, just need to order it. probably not needed unless you have a hot tub or big family.

 

 

Marshal:

 

Not a heat pump for A/C or central heating; it's built into the water heater, and recovers heat from surrounding air to heat water in the tank.

 

LL

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13 minutes ago, Loophole LaRue, SASS #51438 said:

 

Marshal:

 

Not a heat pump for A/C or central heating; it's built into the water heater, and recovers heat from surrounding air to heat water in the tank.

 

LL

I understand but it will cool off your basement and raise the relative humidity. As the basement cools the efficiency of the heat pump will drop.

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6 minutes ago, Marshal Mo Hare, SASS #45984 said:

I understand but it will cool off your basement and raise the relative humidity. As the basement cools the efficiency of the heat pump will drop.

 

Thanks; that was my suspicion.  I've pretty much decided to stay with a standard high efficiency non-hybrid unit.  I won't be here long enough to recover the much higher cost of the hybrid, and I have my doubts about its capability given the cool basement and very cold water supply.

 

LL

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How many people were using hot water in your house in order to justify having an 80 gallon water heater? You must have huge family, or run a motel.

I'd keep it simple and go with the conventional 50 gallon unit. Trying to make up $1500 difference in electricity savings will take years, unless there is a rebate from the local utility company. I install half a dozen water heaters a year and always stick with simplicity. 

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No experience with heat pumps, but a gas water heater will still work when your electricity goes off in a storm.  It's nice to take a hot shower after breaking ice off the driveway, even if I had to use a kerosene lamp in the bathroom!

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10 minutes ago, J-BAR #18287 said:

No experience with heat pumps, but a gas water heater will still work when your electricity goes off in a storm.  It's nice to take a hot shower after breaking ice off the driveway, even if I had to use a kerosene lamp in the bathroom!

 

Yep.  No natural gas here.  Propane dealer not thrilled with installing cylinder for just hot water; wife not thrilled with cylinder in the yard.  I've accepted the fact that electric is the required power.

 

If cost was not an issue, I'd have a 1000 gal. underground LP tank, convert the kitchen appliances, furnace and water heater, and add a back-up generator, all on propane.  Just too much expense for a house that I'll probably sell within 5 years.

 

And as much as I agree with your "shower during the storm" idea, we're on a well here; if we lose power, we have no water, either.

 

LL

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Howdy,

A friend of mine just went thru all this. Readin and research fuss fuss fuss.

After all that, he went out and bought the ezzact same unit that failed.

Just newer.  The connectors all hooked right up and he didn't need

the Eight Hundred Dollar 'pro' installer.

Got directions off the web and called city about standards etc.

The old one was O L D.

Best

CR

 

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I don't have any experience with the heat pump water heaters but recently I installed a tankless water heater for a client. It's not much bigger than a cereal box and gets the water plenty hot and on demand. There's no keeping a tank of water hot or anything like that. As soon as it senses water flowing through it, it activates and heats the water. Works great. If my water heater goes out while I'm living in this house that's what I'm planning on replacing it with. Very low energy draw. Only when it needs power.

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25 minutes ago, Chili Ron said:

Howdy,

A friend of mine just went thru all this. Readin and research fuss fuss fuss.

After all that, he went out and bought the ezzact same unit that failed.

Just newer.  The connectors all hooked right up and he didn't need

the Eight Hundred Dollar 'pro' installer.

Got directions off the web and called city about standards etc.

The old one was O L D.

Best

CR

 

I have installed a few. Water heaters myself. But Loophole is in Massachusetts where, by law, a plumber is required.

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43 minutes ago, Marshal Mo Hare, SASS #45984 said:

I have installed a few. Water heaters myself. But Loophole is in Massachusetts where, by law, a plumber is required.

 

I've snuck under the radar a couple of time, but it has gotten very tight in the past few years.  A permit is required, a licensed plumber is required, and an inspection is required with testing of hot water temp at every faucet.

 

I'm not surprised; I've had cases involving folks burned by excessive hot water temps.  Not pretty.

 

It's all done.  I have a great plumber.  With greatness comes a $2000 bill.

 

LL

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I wanted a gas water heater when I moved into the house and gas heat too.  No lines on my street though.  So I asked what it would take to get lines run and found out that if three people on the street expressed interest, that they would run lines.  Talked to a few neighbors and just like that lines were run.  Something to consider before the next one is due.

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7 hours ago, Loophole LaRue, SASS #51438 said:

 

Don't I wish; no gas, and the electric on-demands have limited capacity.

 

LL

 

I've heard that.  Can't you just install 2 then?  electric tankless heaters just can't raise the temp as much as gas.  So install 2 and let each one take you halfway to where you want the water to be. 

 

Might be cost prohibitive, but when I looked at tankless they were cheaper than getting a big tank.  I figure the plumber wouldn't be doubling his labor

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1 minute ago, Ramblin Gambler said:

 

I've heard that.  Can't you just install 2 then?  electric tankless heaters just can't raise the temp as much as gas.  So install 2 and let each one take you halfway to where you want the water to be. 

 

Might be cost prohibitive, but when I looked at tankless they were cheaper than getting a big tank.  I figure the plumber wouldn't be doubling his labor

I have seen electrics that use three circuits if needed.

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Loophole,

 

I'm late to the party but you made the right choice. The heat pump water heaters work great but they are mainly for the warmer climates. The warmer the air around them is the better they work. Mine works well in the summer but not as good in the winter.

 

Double Barrel

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