Anyone know anything about these new GE Geo Hot Water Heaters

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by dpete3, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. dpete3

    dpete3 New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Danville, PA
    I see GE has a commerical for a new Geo or Eco hotwater heater. Does anyone know anything about these? It seems that $1,600 for a HWH is a lot to lay out.:confused:
  2. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    It is a heat pump water heater that can offer you a substantial savings on your water heating costs.

    The heat pump transfers heat from the air in the room into the water in the tank using a reverse refrigeration process.
    Since heat is not being made but transferred instead the cost savings is quite high.
    In your area you are probably able to efficiently use the heat pump about 60% of the year.
  3. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Wet side of Washington State
    I question whether a heat-pump water heater will really save all that much over the life of the water heater when compared to an equivalent sized electric water heater. The initial cost is three to four times that of a straight tank-type water heater and the Heat-pump model still has the large elements of the non-heat-pump model for use when the heat-pump cannot keep up. Certainly for standby losses and the few gallons used for washing your hands the h-p model will save but standby losses on electric water heaters are already quite low.

    On the other hand, for filling a bathtub or long showers and maybe even just running a dishwasher the electric elements will be energized negating the savings from the h-p. Also, in order to use the h-p the outlet water temperature will likely need to be no higher than 125 degrees.

    But where I really question the savings is in how long can the heater be expected to operate under "normal" conditions? It is not at all uncommon for an electric water heater to run for its entire life without having to change elements or thermostats, essentially no maintenance beyond a yearly flush if you have less than ideal water. My experience has been that an electric water heater will more likely develop a tank leak than require any service on the electrical and this will occur more often after 15 years of service (or more) and then you simply replace the unit. Maybe the h-p models will be similar to a refrigerator in also not needing any service beyond occasionally blowing the duct bunnies out of the air-to-refrigerant heat exchanger but what about tank rust out?

    If the h-p water heaters are still using the same tanks as the standard electrics then the power savings are going to need to be massive (with high electricity costs) to effect a true life-cycle cost savings unless they really improve the tanks.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,889
    Location:
    New England
    Since it pulls heat out of the area where installed, this isn't a big deal in the summer, but it could be in the winter, depending on where it is installed.
  5. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,460
    Location:
    MD
    Figure a COP of 3, so you spend 3x less on electricity. How much do you pay now per kwh?
    Maintenance costs will probably be higher; more complexity generally equals less reliability.
    A regular heater would cost you $300?
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
  6. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,804
    Location:
    01609
    The actual advertized COP isn't quite hitting 3 (even in heat-pump-only mode), and hits an EF of 2.35 in hybrid-mode. The simple math the run on operating costs doesn't factor in the extra load it's adding to the heating system in heating dominated climates like PA- when you suck the heat out of the room and into the tank, ya gotta add it back in some-where some-how or you'll get mighty cold.

    They're a clear net-win in cooling-dominated climates like FL, but in heating-dominated PA, not so much. Whether/where they break even in PA is a function of your heating fuel rates and the heating system's efficiency. But with 8-9 months of heating season in Danville, don't count on it ever paying for itself.
  7. nukeman

    nukeman Nuclear Engineer

    Messages:
    709
    Location:
    VA
    I agree. The numbers that they put on the unit look great. People look and say: "Wow! This is going to save me a bunch of money!" They don't tell you that you are pulling the heat out of your house and will have to make that up somehow. In my case, that heat would come from an electric furnace. No, thanks. End up spending more for the WH, more money to run during the heating season, and more expensive to repair and more likely for a repair to be needed.

    In FL, they could be a great deal. Helping to cool the space and giving you hot water for "free".
  8. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,453
    Location:
    Connecticut
    The Ge GeoSpring and the Rheem/Rudd units have 2 - 4500 watt resistance elements.
    They are indeed a less efficient unit to make them more suitable in the north where you will effective use of the heat pump about 60% of the year.

    In the southern states the Stiebel Eltron Accelera 300 would be a better choice. It relies almost completely on the heat pump and only has a 1750-watt resistance heater. It is the only unit that can be powered by a 15 amp circuit.

    The savings is real even in the northern climate. Northeast Utilities in their Hot Shot Program started testing heat pump water heaters back in the 1990's and you can read some of the data and other information at these links.

    http://www.cee1.org/eval/db_pdf/277.pdf
    http://www.homeenergy.org/hewebsite/graphics/HomeEnergy_19-6_feature.pdf
    http://www.ailr.com/nu_hot_shot_hpwh.htm

    The older units in the NU Hot Shot Program had a much lower COP than these new units.

    In the last several years I have replaced a couple of these units that had tank failures.
    Unfortunately for the customers these new units were not in production yet.
    All of the ones I have met would have purchased a new heat pump water heater.
  9. RinconVTR

    RinconVTR New Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I agree with most of the replies here. These new hybrids are not making sense to me. Many use less gas, but at the VERY high cost of more electric power. Others still have a very large footprint and have a tank of sorts, but cost upwards of 2k. I too think its crazy to pay over 2k for hot water, yet here I am seriously considering a $1600 tankless.

    Pay back is non-existant at these costs, not including labor!
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,485
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The heat pump will extract heat from the room, and replace it with "cold" and if the heater is in a heated area, something else will have to replace that cold with heat. but it might help cool your garage in the summertime if your heater is in the garage.
  11. hybrid_heat_pump_water_heater.jpg


    I installed one of these back in July and the customer I did this for was very technical. ​

    He said that in order for his savings to be had, ​


    He has to keep it 12 years in order for it to pay for itself. Roughly $2200.00 installed was the investment.​

    The warranty is only 10 years on this unit. ​

    He has chronic hard water, and buildup in this tank is guaranteed. ​


    I couldn't even get him to drain the old one initially and I'm curious to know if he'll drain this new one once a year to keep it operating properly. ​

    It is very quiet, no louder than a high efficiency furnace. ​

    I for one understand the condition of a 10 year electric water heater in a hard water region. No way will the efficiency of that heater stay even within the first 6 months of use over 10 years, let alone 12. !!! ​


    Lots of parts to fail, including the electronics to this unit over the life of the unit. ​

    If he calls when it malfunctions, I won't be the one to work on it. It'll be an authorized rep that narrows the playing field and raises the price to the final cost.​


    Would I as a plumber promote this unit? ​

    Most likely not, knowing that you "have" to maintain this unit...which is draining it once a year, replacing the anode rod every 3 years would be smart, and not having any control over water conditions will affect it.​

    If this system is used heavily, of course there's a greater chance for repairs in the future...and do you really want to spend $$$ amount of dollars to keep what will be outdated technology when the time comes, and it won't be efficient.​


    You could get "possibly" better efficiency by replacing a cheaper tank heater every 3 years, knowing it isn't aged and costing you more than the energy guide dictates.​


    Jury will be out on this...don't think you'll have fistfuls of cash after paying your electric bill each month. Especially when it took a personal loan just to buy it...5 times the price of a regularly priced electric water heater. Yikes.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2011
  12. WindyCity

    WindyCity New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Montgomery, AL
    I haven't seen anone mention the Federal, State and Utility Rebates available to consumers who buy an Energy Star qualified Heat Pump water heater from the suppliers previously referenced. One of the major drivers for installing these units is the fact that you can recover a significant part of the investment from one or more of these agencies. In addition, a Federal tax Credit is also available, up to $1,500 I believe. In your area PG&E has been very supportive of customers wanting to install an electric heat pump water heater because of the reduced power draw potential for the Grid. Anyone considering installing onew of these units should definately research the potential financial assistance available from Federal and Local sources.
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,889
    Location:
    New England
    The energy efficiency upgrades that qualify from the feds is for 30% of the material cost up to a maximum of $1500 (or spend $5000 or more on materials that qualify). So, you would not get the full $1500 on a WH, only 30% of it (which is still nice). Now, some state and local utility companies also provide rebates (which are sometimes nicer than tax CREDITS - you have to owe it before you can get the credit but many people would). I got $1100 back from my boiler/indirect WH install from the local gas company. I replaced all of my windows this year, and did max out the federal tax credit.
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