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Thread: Hybrid Electric Water Heater

  1. #1

    Default Hybrid Electric Water Heater

    I've been holding off on buying a new water heater until GE comes out with their Hybrid Electric Water Heater. Anyone have any thoughts or more info on this technology? I expect to get sticker shock when it is finally released.

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default hybrid

    From the description it appears that it has a pre-heat exchanger to bring the water to the ambient temperature. In AZ in the summer time that would mean the water would have to have its temperature LOWERED, because our water is warm and the houses are cool. I would also question the efficiency of itm whether it would be large enough and able to change the water temperature as it is flowing through the device. It would have to be like a tankless heater with a limited "heat" source.

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    DIY Member cattledog's Avatar
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    It's a heat pump water heater.

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    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Save your money...

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default heat pump

    A heat pump is an air conditioner running in reverse. I never thought it was a money saving process to run an air conditioner 12 months a year by using it for heating and cooling. And I am not sure if using one for a water heater, or even a preheater, is any better. ALthough, if the resultant cooling in the room has is beneficial, then there could be some merit to it.

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    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    since most people don't buy gas or oil to cool their homes cooling costs are harder to compare than heating costs are...if you can heat your home with electricity running a heat pump the electric cost can be compared to the cost of gas or oil and then you can decide if it is cost worthy to heat with a heat pump...

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    DIY Senior Member chris8796's Avatar
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    I think the jury is still out and it really depends on the location/climate you install them. I would think the systems that work in conjunction with heat pump climate control systems make more sense, desuperheater/heat recovery units. Even these are best suited for the deep south or GT units. I would think the BTU/hr for these would be low so they would require some lifestyle and control changes to get the most benefit out of it. I general, I wouldn't think these would be practical in areas north of the Mason-DIxon line.

  8. #8

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    All I can say at this point is that I live in CT - my monthly electric bill is about $400/mth year-round and I heat with Oil (forced air)(yes, I use central air in the summer). The water from my 250 ft. deep well is very - very cold. Granted, CT has the distinction of having the highest electricity rates in the nation. At $5,000 per year for electricity, it won't take much in savings for me to justify the purchase of a state-of-the-art energy saving water heater (assuming it actually works).

  9. #9
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    How is your electricity bill in the summer when you run air conditioners?
    Now think of what it might be like running an air conditioner year round to make warmer water...

    Save your money....

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member chris8796's Avatar
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    How much hot water are you using? How many people in the house?

    The problem I see with them, if you have them inside the building envelope (climatized area) your just robbing Peter to pay Paul most of the year. If they are outside the envelope, everything will need to be very well insulated. When you need it the most (winter, when water temp is 40F) they drop in efficiency. If your in an area with high AC needs, you can use the waste heat to heat the water (so you benefit from both sides of the transaction). You move heat from an area you want cold and put it in an area you want hot. In the areas with low AC needs, you only benefit from one side of the transaction, most of the year.

    Another consideration, heat pumps are great at providing slow constant heat. The ideal situation is for them to run almost continously. The problem is we don't use energy that way, we use it infrequently and in large amounts. We demand alot of hot water in the morning to take showers and don't use much until the evening or the weekends to do laundry. So if you drain your tank in the morning and replace it with 40F water, you'll have to wait a long time for hot water or have backup resistive heat kick in to make up for the shortfall and reheat the water quickly. This is the same reason you can't use a programable thermostat with heat pump heating, it can't provide heat fast enough to recover and back up heating kicks in.

    It still may be beneficial for you, just be aware of all the limitations. Also check for differences in electric prices between winter and summer. In my area, (after 800 kwh) winter rates are 4.5 cent/kwh vs 11 cents/kwh in the summer, this greatly impacts the economics of decisions.

  11. #11

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    I don't know how much hot water I'm using as a measure of average gallons per day. My living situation is as follows:

    1620 sq. ft. raised ranch built 1965,
    Not sure how old the 50 gallon water heater is, but I did replace the heating elements about 2 years ago. Efficiency label claims 5100 Kw/yr, but I doubt it's that low.

    1 person (me) full time occupant
    1 person (girlfriend) weekends - she does her laundry here.
    1 person (son) currently in college - here for holidays & summer.

    I don't think our electric rates vary from winter to summer. Seems to be $0.18/Kwh all the time.

    The water heater is downstairs (cement floor), which is generally cool year round.

  12. #12
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking this reminds me of trouble



    this cool little control board that goes on the top of the new GE water heater reminds me of the control box on top of the Whirlpool energy smart water heater....

    of course once the minerals and lime fry an element , it probably fries that control box and then you need a new one.. and then you are so totally screwed


    I see nothing but troubles for this heater , with this "easy to use control panel"

    I dont think I would trust this any further than I could throw that fancy computor box when it fails you...


    just get a normal electric water heater , set in medium , and put a blanket on it...


    keep it simple ........

  13. #13
    Master Plumber Dunbar Plumbing's Avatar
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    Replacing a water heater tomorrow for a fellow that has one 18 years old. Told him that he cannot expect the new one to last as long.


    One thing is for sure,

    If you tell a customer they can save money by having the water heater there for me to install, it's like baiting a mousetrap with cheese and here come the mice.


    For the $30-$50 I'd charge to go get that water heater, I'd rather pass up the earnings and just have to cut a box open and go....and sometimes they do that too. I love it.


    This hybrid electric water heater, since it is a tank heater, should be decent competition to the tankless idea.

    The tank heater this guy has, 18 years old?


    Never did a damn thing to it, ever. $100 for the heater, $25 for the plumber who switched it out back then...18 years of hot water and never drained the tank, never replaced the elements or the thermostats.

    Nothing can draw comparison to that.....even if it was operating with a higher cost per year as it was aging.

    It was an electric water heater acting like a gas one. Name:  woot.gif
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  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member chris8796's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlatonicSolid View Post
    I don't know how much hot water I'm using as a measure of average gallons per day. My living situation is as follows:

    1620 sq. ft. raised ranch built 1965,
    Not sure how old the 50 gallon water heater is, but I did replace the heating elements about 2 years ago. Efficiency label claims 5100 Kw/yr, but I doubt it's that low.

    1 person (me) full time occupant
    1 person (girlfriend) weekends - she does her laundry here.
    1 person (son) currently in college - here for holidays & summer.
    I would think with just 1+ person in the house it would be a long payback period. FYI, the label use is based one the DOE test, which assumes 2.5 people and 64 gallons of hot water use a day. So, unless you are extremely wasteful, your probably well below that number. A quick calculation shows it costs you about 7 cents a minute for heat when showering, ouch.

    I found an interesting report on HPWH by the DOE

    On page 15, they note one of my concerns related to your apllication.

    The large amount of cooling produced by the evaporator added significantly to the heating load, so installations in the conditioned space were avoided in regions dominated by heating load hours. This eliminates a large portion of the potential HPWH market, particularly in areas where the electric rates are high

    Here is the first manufacturer I've seen with a price and tech Specs

    They highlight my other concern, the power output is 6000 btu/hr and a recovery rate of about 12 gallons an hour, ouch.

  15. #15

    Default

    That DOE pdf sounds generally positive for those living in warmer environments. They cite a study conducted by one of our local utility companies (Northeast Utilities)(to be completed in 2004). Unfortunately 5 years after the studies presumed conclusion there's no sign of its results on their website (Gee, I wonder how much I paid for this study?).

    After doing some more web-searching, it seems most of the info out there is rather dated - from around the 2002 area.

    Thanks for your research. Looks like I'll be buying another plain-jane wallet sucking classic electric water heater.

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