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Alternative Fuels An energy source alternative to using fossil fuels. Materials or substances that can be used as a fuel, other than conventional fuels. Waste oils, vegetable oils or animal fats, which can be used alone, or blended with fossil fuels.

Alternative Fuels

hybrid water heater


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  #1  
Old 01-25-2014, 10:29:30 PM
Ken Karrow Ken Karrow is offline
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Question hybrid water heater

Can anyone punch a hole in my logic on this. I am now in west central Missouri. I have an electric water heater and considering replaceing it with a hybred which is a water heater that has a heat pump on it that heats the water and cools the air in the house. It can be set to run heat pump only, electric resistance only, or heat pump with electric resistance backup if the useage is high. I can normally buy propane for $1.65 by buying the whole years supply in the summer and having it delivered as needed and my electric is $.12/KWH. With the heat pump having a COP of 2.5, in the heating season, 1,000,000 btu of hot water would be $14.65 for the heat pump and $20.07 for propane for the 90% furnace to heat the cool air produced by the heat pump. That totals $34.92. The water heater on straight electric is $35.17/1,000,000 BTU. During the cooling season my hot water would be free because the cooling effect of the heat pump would cause the air conditioner to run that much less. I have ignored the heat thrown off by the compressor feeling that would roughly balance, helping in the heating season and extra heat load during the cooling season. If we had an exceptional winter and propane got real dear or I quess wrong on how much to buy in the summer, I could just run it like an electric in the late winter. Therefore is no advantage in the winter on operating cost but a large advantage in summer. Another advantage is the need for a smaller back up generator. Am listening for any flaws in my thinking. PS existing water heater is seven years old.
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Old 01-26-2014, 08:45:09 AM
Ed Radtke Ed Radtke is offline
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Default Re: hybred water heater

Did you factor in repair cost and eventual replacement cost.the fancier it is the quicker it will bite you in the ...
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Old 01-26-2014, 04:33:22 PM
BobRR BobRR is offline
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Default Re: hybred water heater

I agree with Ed and a FYI a standard electric water heater will last 30yrs. Bob
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Old 01-26-2014, 09:44:13 PM
RSCurtis RSCurtis is offline
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Default Re: hybrid water heater

There are no flaws in your thinking. For the time you can run the heat pump, the cost will be about half required for a resistance unit. Keep in mind you will have to deal with the condensate from the refrigeration unit. The only time I could see it not paying off is if your climate requires extended use of resistance heat. It will be most efficient in hot, humid weather, just when you want the air conditioning.

If not terribly expensive, I would consider an extended warranty. You don't want to know how I know that.
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:27:00 PM
Ken Karrow Ken Karrow is offline
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Default Re: hybrid water heater

Thanks for the replies. Missouri does get hot and humid and I have done refrigeration repair since 1966 so I can repair lots of it myself, though electronic boards are intiminating but now you just grit your teeth and buy a new one. Bob, I don't know how the water here is on tanks but I've never had a tank last over 10 years before it rusts out. They may last better here.
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Old 01-27-2014, 02:18:13 PM
Bob Willman Bob Willman is offline
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Default Re: hybrid water heater

The hybrid heater requires a minimum size room to house it - you cannot install it in a closet. We replaced a gas heater last year and looked at the hybrid. There are several brands. Do a search on hybrid heaters and read the reviews. After reading many reviews I decided the technology was not quite ready for prime time.

Bob
WB8NQW
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Old 01-27-2014, 03:19:19 PM
BobRR BobRR is offline
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Default Re: hybrid water heater

Ken was it a gas or electric that lasted 10yrs? Average life of gas is about 10yrs. Bob
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:23:52 PM
Wayne 440 Wayne 440 is offline
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Default Re: hybrid water heater

Why not a propane water heater? Maybe even an on demand type?
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Old 01-27-2014, 10:53:12 PM
Ken Karrow Ken Karrow is offline
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Default Re: hybrid water heater

Bob & Bob - have a room, sits in utility room and they were gas water heaters. Wayne - due to roof configuration if I go propane I'll need to go to fan forced vent so I can vent through wall. Thanks for the interest.
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Old 01-28-2014, 12:38:37 AM
Ed Sparks Ed Sparks is offline
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Default Re: hybrid water heater

power venter or high efficiency propane water heater that vents through PVC exhaust.
Both are viable options.
I have a power venter on my 20 yr old propane bradford white water heater. much less expense than a chimney.

When it goes it will get replaced with a propane on demand Rinnai water heater.


climate has a lot to do with their efficiency.
They don't work very well up here in Maine.
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Old 01-28-2014, 08:29:01 AM
Wayne 440 Wayne 440 is offline
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Default Re: hybrid water heater

I considered one of those heaters when my electric unit failed. But with the location of my heater in the basement, and that they are not (to me anyway)well proven technology, I just bought another electric heater. If I could get the price on propane you have, I would get rid of both the electric heater and my heat pump HVAC.

I have paid the price a couple of times for buying "the latest greatest thing"- I'm still not quite over the time and money I wasted on a Whirlpool Calypso washing machine.
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Old 01-29-2014, 07:54:34 PM
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OTTO-Sawyer OTTO-Sawyer is offline
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Default Re: hybred water heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobRR View Post
I agree with Ed and a FYI a standard electric water heater will last 30yrs. Bob
I'm going on 64 years on my 60 gallon electric water heater. It's original to my 1950 house.

Needs new thermostats, but with heating belts wrapped around it instead of elements sticking inside, it still makes hot water. About 10 years ago the bottom thermostat stuck ON and I watched my electric bill skyrocket until I unhooked the wires to the bottom heater. About a year and a half ago the top one decided it didn't want to shut off so until I can afford to do something with it I just throw the main fuse box switch on it to shut it off and then go turn it on again for an hour whenever I need more hot water.

I THINK the new thermostats I found at Menards will work on it.... I just haven't been able to afford them yet. And as long as I can make it work with the main disconnect switch I'm good to go for a while yet.

If and/or when I ever have to replace it I'm thinking of going with one of the tankless on-demand heaters.
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:07:42 PM
Ed Sparks Ed Sparks is offline
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Default Re: hybrid water heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne 440 View Post
I considered one of those heaters when my electric unit failed. But with the location of my heater in the basement, and that they are not (to me anyway)well proven technology, I just bought another electric heater. If I could get the price on propane you have, I would get rid of both the electric heater and my heat pump HVAC.

I have paid the price a couple of times for buying "the latest greatest thing"- I'm still not quite over the time and money I wasted on a Whirlpool Calypso washing machine.
Wayne : the on demand tankless water heaters have been around for decades in in Japan and in European & Scandinavian countries.

They are pretty much trouble free if sized for the load and installed properly.
We installed a bunch of them in a commercial restaurant chain all over New England 25 years ago to feed the bathrooms as they were a long way from the kitchen & utility rooms . They were problem free for over 20 years that I know of.

Their cost has come down in recent years to make the payback under 5-7 years.
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Old 01-30-2014, 12:46:27 PM
Wayne 440 Wayne 440 is offline
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Default Re: hybrid water heater

I failed to make myself clear; I was referring to the hybrid "heat pump" type unit the OP is considering.

I am aware of the history and service record of gas fired on demand heaters - the trouble is I cannot get natural gas service and local propane suppliers do not compete with each other- they probably eat breakfast together every morning and enjoy the latest price gouging story.

Last edited by Wayne 440; 01-30-2014 at 02:06:51 PM.
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Old 01-30-2014, 05:43:06 PM
BobRR BobRR is offline
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Default Re: hybred water heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by OTTO-Sawyer View Post
I'm going on 64 years on my 60 gallon electric water heater. It's original to my 1950 house.

Needs new thermostats, but with heating belts wrapped around it instead of elements sticking inside, it still makes hot water. About 10 years ago the bottom thermostat stuck ON and I watched my electric bill skyrocket until I unhooked the wires to the bottom heater. About a year and a half ago the top one decided it didn't want to shut off so until I can afford to do something with it I just throw the main fuse box switch on it to shut it off and then go turn it on again for an hour whenever I need more hot water.

I THINK the new thermostats I found at Menards will work on it.... I just haven't been able to afford them yet. And as long as I can make it work with the main disconnect switch I'm good to go for a while yet.

If and/or when I ever have to replace it I'm thinking of going with one of the tankless on-demand heaters.
That thing is a dinosaur! Hope you don't have a lot of lyme build up, you wont be able move it. That thing is about as in efficient as they come. I wonder if your power co. has a program to help you update to a new more efficient one. We have a program here like that.Bob
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:42:43 PM
RSCurtis RSCurtis is offline
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Default Re: hybrid water heater

I would verify that your T&P relief valve is functioning OK so we don't see you on an episode of Mythbusters any time soon.
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Old 01-31-2014, 07:15:50 PM
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Default Re: hybrid water heater

I'm guessing the relief is working Ok since when the thermostats wouldn't shut off it would stay on for hours or days at a time spinning the electric meter. That was how I found the problem when I got the next months bill in the mail.

Switching it on by hand and shutting it down again an hour later it shouldn't blow any time soon if it didn't when running for hours or days on end.

Bob..... I'm sure it has plenty of lime build up in it, but I don't plan on moving it anyway. If I ever do replace it, the old one will stay put in its original location. As old as it is, I should probably make up a plaque and hand on it.
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Old 02-02-2014, 05:16:41 PM
DustyBar DustyBar is offline
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Default Re: hybrid water heater

PBS' Ask This Old House had a good segment on installing a hybrid water heat pump. Its not part of the water heater, but a remote unit and doesn't get thrown out when the tank springs a leak. Watch the last half of this video http://video.pbs.org/video/2365152565/. This really makes sense to me.
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Old 02-05-2014, 08:26:43 PM
Bob Barrett Bob Barrett is offline
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Interesting topic, but you guys are all looking in the wrong place! This is Smokstak, you need to reference the "past", not present or future. Here are a couple of pics of EARLY electric water heaters (on demand units) that would do a dandy job for you. Just shove the rubber gasketed opening over the faucet, plug the unit in, and "let 'er rip"! These would be perfect for you Ed. You could really live up to your last name using one of these babies!
Bob
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:36:49 PM
Ed Sparks Ed Sparks is offline
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