Several questions about water heaters. Oil or heatpump?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by fatdaddy, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. fatdaddy

    fatdaddy New Member

    Messages:
    64
    Location:
    Connecticut
    The MarathonMotor on my hot water heater burner is on its last legs. It is an obsolete motor and a quick look, wthout knowing exactly what model I need, shows me new motorsfor burners are in the hundreds of dollars.
    My hot water heater is oil fired and separate from my oil fired furnace. I have thought of changing over to an indirect oil-fired set-up that uses my furnace BUT COSTS ARE RATHER PROHIBITIVE. $1700+

    My question:
    I can install a GE GEOSPRING 50gallon for $710. Self installation looks pretty straightforward. Does anyone have any thoughts about the GE product? Our household is now down to TWO with to away at college.
    Another option, while UNETHICAL, is to get an oil service contract and let it die and let the contract cover the replacement. I am not going to do that but the plumber who attended to the first failure and diagnosed the issue gave me that advice!

    All thoughts are welcome and appreciated!
    Thanks in advance.
  2. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,314
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    GE is as good of brand as any, now a days, and has as good of a warranty as any.

    GE brings Good things to Life.

    Getting the extended warranty may be a good thing, unless you can fix it yourself.


    Good Luck.
  3. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    425
    Location:
    California
    GE water heaters are made by Rheem-Ruud. GE"s warranty is above par.

    After all, it was Edwin Ruud, a Norwegian engineer, who invented the water heater concept that we all use today, more than 100 years ago.
  4. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,915
    Location:
    01609
    Go for the heat pump water heater, and even though it adds to the heat load modestly in winter, it'll dry out the basement and cool the place off in summer, it's a net-win.

    BTW: Is this a furnace (ducted hot air) or a boiler (pumped hot water)?

    In a CT climate and electric rates it cost a bit less half as much to heat with a ductless mini-split heat pump as with $3.50 oil in an 85% oil burner. They literally pay for themselfs in oil savings in 3 years or less at recent oil prices, and offer super-efficient ultra-quiet air conditioning as well. Many people in MA are cutting their oil habit by 75-80% or more with them. In open floor plans/smaller houses it can even be a complete heating solution. A 2-ton heat pump puts out about 28-30,000BTU/hr @ +5F. a 1.5 tonner over 20KBTU/hr. The average winter heat load of most homes in CT is under 30K, and average peak loads under 50K. If you can heat at least one large zone with one of these- you'll probably be glad you did. (A 1-ton runs ~$4K installed, a 2-ton ~$5K. Take a couple grand off that if you do a 90% DIY installation, with just the final pump-down fill and commisioning test left to the certified tech to keep the warranty valid.)
  5. fatdaddy

    fatdaddy New Member

    Messages:
    64
    Location:
    Connecticut
    My household heat is hot water with an oil fired furnace. My household hot water source is an oil-fired hot water heater. So I have two burners.
    The motor on the hot water heater burner is giving out.

    Thank you, Dana, for your advice. I will look into converting the whole house at some point but my immediate concern is the hot water heater. I may go with the GE as I can actually bring my cost to ZERO, or very close to it, with rebates. If the unit does not perform to my liking I can do something else.
  6. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,915
    Location:
    01609
    The crate with the burner heating up the water for the heating system is technically called a boiler, not a furnace.

    At the recent 5 & 10 year price averages for oil and electricity, there is no sense in adding an indirect HW heater onto the heating system. Most areas won't give you the rebate on a heat pump water heater unless you are already heating water with electricity (read the fine print), but even so, that's your better option.

    If there is a gas main coming down your street soon it's worth hooking up and converting the oil boiler to gas. If not, while there are high-efficiency heat pumps with hot-water output (Daikin Altherma), they are out of sight expensive compared to ductless air-to-air (mini-splits). There is nothing to be gained by waiting for your existing boiler to die before moving on- oil is unlikely to drop below $3 for extended periods, and replacing it with a better efficiency boiler cost a lot of money for only marginal gains. Ductless heat pumps are probably the best best, though for a lot more money there are variable speed high-efficiency ducted versions that come close to ductless systems on efficiency (eg Carrier Greenspeed), provided the ducts are properly designed, and routed entirely inside the pressure & thermal envelope of the house.
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