Author Topic: Heat pump water heater advice  (Read 2414 times)

Jake P

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Heat pump water heater advice
« on: December 18, 2013, 02:43:54 PM »
Hey guys, I've been considering taking advantage of a tax credit and replacing my standard electric water heater with an energy star heat pump style unit. My current heater is 10 years old and doesn't seem to last as long as it used to.  I probably just have an element going out on it.  I'm considering replacing it before the end of the year due to a federal tax credit of $300 plus a $300 rebate from my local utility company.  Both expire at the end of the year. These two combined would put my cost down into the $500 range.  Does anyone have any experience with these units?  It will be installed in my unfinished basement.  I feel it to be a good buy, but there is the chance that my current water heater could make it another 5 years.  Should I really expect a 30% drop in my water heating expense?
Thanks!

Emg03063

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Re: Heat pump water heater advice
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2013, 01:07:03 AM »
I don't have any experience with them, but I was thinking of getting one myself.  With your situation I'd definitely to for it.  The engineering principles are sound, so there's no reason you shouldn't realize the claimed savings.

gooki

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Re: Heat pump water heater advice
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2013, 01:36:52 AM »
As above if I could get it done for that price, I would (assuming quality product, no debt emergency). I'd expect between 25% and 33% reduction in heating costs.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2013, 01:42:07 AM by gooki »

Boz86

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Re: Heat pump water heater advice
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2013, 07:42:22 AM »
  Does anyone have any experience with these units?
Thanks!

Not personal experience, but I have very energy conscious contractor friends who swear by them. Based on their opinions I'm looking at replacing mine with one. My heater is 22 years old so I need to do it before I have a crisis.

nawhite

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Re: Heat pump water heater advice
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2013, 12:33:42 PM »
Using a heat pump for a water heater assist can be a good investment but it also might not, depending on where it is getting the heat from.

If your water heater lives in an un-heated space, it will be significantly less efficient than advertized during winter if the space gets cold (because there isn't much heat to get from air that is 35 degrees).

If your water heater lives in a conditioned space, any heat it gets will come out of the air and it will litterally pump cold air out into the air. This can be helpful in the summer when you are running your air conditioner. It is unhelpful in the winter when you are trying to heat the space with a furnace. In this case, any additional heat will come out of the air which you then have to re-heat with your furnace.

In moderate climates that don't get too cold, heat pump water heaters can be a very good deal. In areas which get cold, they can be a not very good deal (because they cost more than standard water heaters to buy and install).

Unrelated, I've heard they break down more often than standard water heaters and are more expensive to repair because the technitian/plumber needs to be familiar with them. No evidence to back up that statement but just my two cents.

Jake P

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Re: Heat pump water heater advice
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2013, 02:28:56 PM »
From the research I've done, it seems that once ambient temp hits 45 degrees or below, the heat pump feature won't work.  They work most efficiently at 68 degrees ambient.  Currently we're having a colder than normal december here in Missouri and we keep our furnace at 65 degrees.  Our basement is holding temps around 58 degrees.  From what I've read, as long as your ambient temps are above 45 degrees, the heat pump feature still works and is still more efficient than a standard electric water heater, but not working at max efficiency.  So, 3 months out of the year I won't see as advertised returns.  But over the whole year I should still see savings of a few hundred bucks.  If I use the same location as my current water heater, it will have plenty of open space around it and is close to the furnace and could suck up some of the wasted heat.