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Old 10-25-2020, 10:30 PM   #1
Winilyme
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Default Heat Pump Water Heater - NHEC Promotion

The Forum is never short on good, honest, advice so this is the first place I'm checking. NHEC is promoting heat pump water heaters - the A.O. Smith Signature Premier 50 gallon water heater to be specific. This model is sold only through Lowes and the deal runs through the end of this year. Purchase this unit for $999 and receive a NHEC rebate of $750. On top of that, apply a one-time federal tax credit of $300 and you actually end up making money on the unit itself. At least this is what NHEC says.

I'm no stranger to heat pump water heaters having installed an A.O. Smith Voltex Hybrid in our CT home in early 2019. So, I don't have to be sold on the advantages...nor the long lead time I signed up for since we're only using it seven months out of the year (the other five months we're at the lake). I did however like the idea of purchasing it from an environmental standpoint and it offered other benefits such as de-humidification of our basement and it connects nicely to our geo-thermal system (via a preheat tank) for added efficiency.

Having read about the NHEC program, I'm interested in any experiences with it or thoughts about appropriateness for our situation. We have a 1,500 SF cottage on Winni where we reside mid-May through October. The location of the water heater is in a dirt floor 'crawl space' - maybe 5'-1/2 feet high so, at 5-1/4 feet tall, the heat pump water heater would be quite close to the ceiling. The space itself is probably about 650 square feet. Also available is a shorter 50 gallon model but it's quite a bit wider so I don't think we'd be able to get it into the crawl space. We are all-electric. We currently have a 20-year old electric 40-gallon unit that's a bit smaller than we'd like given all the visitors we have and the showers they take. Though we've had no problems with it, given its age, I'm feeling it'll be giving up the ghost soon. I certainly don't want that to happen in-season.

At first glance then, it seems the primary cost would be installation and for that, we'd get a more efficient bang for our electric buck. But as my wife would say, I'm usually missing something so this is where I'd appreciate any opinions/advice. I do worry some about noise as some reviews I've read speak to the fan being quite noisy compared to their prior unit. This could be a problem for us given it would be located below our master bedroom.

Lastly, I'm also interested in plumbing companies you've used for water tank installations that have led to happy experiences (or even ones that have led to unhappy ones so I can be sure to avoid them). And, how busy are these folks during the off season? I know they're near impossible to find in-season but I'd assume they are a lot slower this time of year. Also, can/would they install the unit when the water is completely off/drained?

Haven't made up my mind on this yet and maybe a more traditional electric unit would be the best bet. I appreciate all input. Thank you.
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Old 10-26-2020, 03:59 AM   #2
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I researched heat-pump water heaters, including asking here, a few years back. At the time, it was a 50/50 mix with many leaning towards the simplicity of standard.

I'm thinking a couple things with your situation, other than the potential for noise: will the tightness of your unit limit its effectiveness/efficiency? Do you still need a drain for these newer units and, if so, where will the condensate go? Are these newer units more reliable/reliable enough to rework your install? (You should be able to replace your current one by yourself, right?)

After we answered some of those questions, we ended up with a standard 50-gallon. With very few exceptions, they're install once every ten years without a glitch. Last night, we took 4 showers in a row and ran a load of laundry and still had hot water.

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Old 10-26-2020, 06:32 AM   #3
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I am considering doing the same as the OP. The unit I am looking at is the Rheem equivalent to the AO Smith. These units need a condensate drain/pump. I have a full basement, half of which is a dirt floor. No size restrictions for me. I really need the dehumidifying that this unit provides. The efficiency and wireless operation are all a bonus to me. Maine has the same program. Unit is $1099 with a $750 rebate.

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Old 10-26-2020, 07:10 AM   #4
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A good friend of mine installed a condensing boiler and a heat pump hot water heater as opposed to a combination condensing boiler, on-demand hot water system. I have the latter.

His only complaint is he does run out of hot water (60 gals) and it takes time to heat the water back up. This never happens to me. He regrets listening to his plumber and wishes he had taken an energy engineer's advice.
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Old 10-26-2020, 04:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BroadHopper View Post
A good friend of mine installed a condensing boiler and a heat pump hot water heater as opposed to a combination condensing boiler, on-demand hot water system. I have the latter.

His only complaint is he does run out of hot water (60 gals) and it takes time to heat the water back up. This never happens to me. He regrets listening to his plumber and wishes he had taken an energy engineer's advice.
So, you have a tankless combi boiler, provides both heat and hot water?
Can you turn the heat on, take a shower, turn the dishwasher on and do the laundry at the same time.

If you can, I am very much interested in the details of your heating system.
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Old 10-27-2020, 06:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotorHead View Post
So, you have a tankless combi boiler, provides both heat and hot water?
Can you turn the heat on, take a shower, turn the dishwasher on and do the laundry at the same time.

If you can, I am very much interested in the details of your heating system.
I installed the Rannai E-Series condensing boiler. I believe there is about a $1500 energy rebate on the boiler. And possibly more from NHsaves.

I have natural gas at my home, but they are available for propane as well. One nice feature I like, when I am away and the temperature is below freezing, you can set it up so that the pump is running continuously to prevent frozen pipes in your heating system. A nice feature to have when you lower the temperature to save energy.

Make sure you read the owner's manual about setting up your room thermostat. A condensing boiler is programmed to learn to send only enough heat to the building to compensate for the outside temperature. The anticipation should be 1 degree or less.

And yes, I can have two showers going, with the dishwasher and or laundry going at the same time.

I did research and found I save about 70% in gas for my hot water. I had a 10-year-old 60 gallon NG hot water heater. I also save about 30% in my home heating. I had a 30-year-old Celtic boiler.
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