GE Hybrid Water Heater

Posted

Pros: Works and US made

Cons: Will cool the basement more

Our existing water heater was down to one element (broken one at bottom was rusted into place) after 14 years of service.

Read about the new GE Hybrid technology on 11/17 (never knew that it was even in the works until now) and being in the Cincinnati area; was in a limited availability area and able to get this installed today 11/20.

It took 3 guys around 3 hours to install (this is new for them as well) and took more work than a regular water heater. The most difficult aspect was the intake and outlet pipe had to be reworked into an "L" shape so that there was room to allow the air filter to be removed. You definitely want to be experienced with soldering pipes etc if you were to do this yourself. Our house is older, so we also needed an 60A electrical line installed to replace the 2x20A we had in place (included in installation costs).

After government credit, this will come out to $1536 installed. Our other option was $750 for a standard 12 year warranty GE 50 gallon unit installed; so effectively a $800 premium for this more energy efficient model.

Unit looks really hi tech and the noise level is acceptable (probably similar to a regular 20" floor fan on low/medium  - a washer or dryer is much louder in comparison).

Jury is still out on how much this will save over the long run and how reliable it is (I'm sure GE will bend over backwards if there are any teething issues with the new technology)

Not expecting to get the full advertised efficiency savings in Ohio over winter; but do expect to recoop the extra cost over the next few years & support US innovation and jobs in Lousiville/KY in the meantime.

For those needing a new water heater; this unit should be given serious consideration.

I may provide an update in a few months after we have some experience with it in use for some time. Very hard to give an accurate rating at this point in time...... (so far all is well)

Posted

Pros: None

Cons: Many

I have three issues with this unit.

1. I recently built a new home and I tried to use products that were energy efficient, so I purchased a GE Hybrid water heater as an efficient means of heating our water. Almost from the start the unit has been plagued by problems. It's been leaking oil for months and I contacted GE to let them know and no response. Now the unit has an error code. The technician has so far replaced the main board and two sensors. That didn't work so now they are going to replace the evaporator coil and thermal expansion valve. These guy's are trying their best, but they have no clue as to the problem that is happening. I spoke to a GE rep to see if they could do something and their response was NO. The unit has to be declared un-repairable first.


I spent $1700 on a unit that hasn't given me any efficiencies thus far.

2. This unit is it is not meant for colder climates. This unit is installed in a house heated by a heat pump and in order for the unit to generate heat it has to take the heat generated by my heat pump and use that to heat the water resulting in zero savings.

3. 50 gallons is not big enough for a family of four. I have to install a 40 gallon along side of this unit to meet the demands of our family.

Overall I am very dissatisfied with the GE Hybrid water heater and GE in general for marketing a such a product for Canada. I would almost go so far as saying it's false advertising.
 

Posted

Cons: CONSTANT PROBLEMS AND REPAIRS

Unit worked fine for just under 2 years, then began series of breakdowns.   All parts have been replaced at least once.  GE covered all the repairs I suspect due to so many issues with the earlier models sold.  Technician said all evaporaters are being replaced, defective design.  The latest 2 issues are 1)  Error code for dirty air filter.  Filter is 100% clean, yet stopped unit every 48 hours.  Technician could find no problem but said I must remove cover and vacuum the coils monthly for life of the unit (which is not in the user manual as a needed procedure).  Latest issue 2)  Two weeks after filter error 'repair', have a Heat Pump Failure code, which I was told will not be covered.  The last technician wondered why GE has not replaced this unit as it has had so many failures and all parts replaced once, and still failing.  I feel this product was released too early without adequate testing and I am one of the early guinea pigs.  Interestingly the unit has been completely redesigned and doesn't even look remotely like the flashy space-age original unit I purchased (directly from GE online store).  Needless to say I am very disappointed and embarassed to tell anyone how much I paid for this 'experimental' unit.  If you must purchase one, I hope the new ones are better for anyone buying one. 

Posted

Pros: Saves money

Cons: none

We have a GE hybrid water heater for several months now. We are running it in hybrid mode and have a family of 6 people.  Here's my observations:

*dropped my electric bill about $35/mo.

*it takes about a quart of water a day out of my basement which means the dehumidifier doesn't have to run as much.

* it cools our basement which is good since we have canned goods down there.

 

Posted

Pros: cut my electricai bill by $50 month

Cons: Long wait for parts, service hard to get, Made in China

Bought this from a big box store and bought an extended warranty with it. Installed was about $2300. Mine was the 2nd the store had sold, pre-sale verification of installation location. Now 14 months later it failed and according to the manual it is installed without proper clearance front and back. Called for warranty service from big box store which was a mistake as they took information and passed it to a 3rd party who could not give me information about the service call. Needed to pass error code which would have allowed parts to come with tech. Instead I am waiting for parts a month later and have rescheduled service 3 times.

Oh yeah, the big box sent the installer to move the unit so that it had the necessary clearance, (and could be repaired) he denied it was a problem, tried to tell me that when he spoke to me he said I should knock out a wall, instead of removing access doors to the utility room. Of course he had spoken with my wife and they proceeded to call her a liar. Bottom line unit is good but make sure the installer knows what he is doing.

If you buy avoid the extended warranty, parts are covered by GE, Call GE for service, hopefully the parts and the tech arrive at the same time

Posted

Pros: ?

Cons: Frequent breakdowns-Very bad for environment

Installed Feb 2010 – 2 breakdowns. Each time compressor coils break open, releasing all Freon gas. They keep breaking because it contains the bare minimum amount of metal thickness in the coil wall. With repeated heatings and coolings – this is a heat pump after all – the thin metal becomes weak and allows all the Freon gas to escape into the atmosphere. Each time, it releases equivalent amount of Freon of 7 refrigerators.

We had even paid extra for 3 more years of warranty coverage over the 1 year manu warranty. Were told we could order yet another part, but since it will most likely break again within a few months -  and release more Freon gas – we choose not to keep ruining the earth’s protective Ozone layer. We will operate it in the electric-only mode until we can afford to have it replaced with a regular, conventional water heater.

The EPA should make this a mandatory recall. We are extremely unhappy and frustrated. We bought this to save energy and money.

Posted

Pros: Very high efficiency and easy to use.

Cons: Needs drain line, larger than average, unheated, space for installation

Hello there, i thought I'd throw another added benefit of the GE Hybrid in there that some of the others don't have, and many may overlook. There are more and more options out there for Hybrids now but as a plumber here in AZ I personally prefer the GE over others due to one reason in particular, the tank. The GE's inner tank is made of glass not metal like most others. In turn this means no rusting out of the tank. Here in AZ the water is very hard and we replace on average 1 water heater a weak due to the tank rusting out and the home owner, in some cases, waking up to a flooded garage. And that usually happens just after the 6yr standard warranty runs out.  So if you live in an area where hard water kills your tanks this may be another factor to think about.

Posted

Pros: Very high efficiency, doesn't directly use fossil fuel, smart grid interface, sophisticated and convenient user interface, supports multiple modes

Cons: Slower heating than natural gas,must be in large unheated indoor space (garage, etc.),needs drain line, no environmental benefit if coal electricity

I do not own this particular water heater. I have owned a very similar heat pump water heater for the past 7 years (ECR Wattersaver). My water heater has the same capacity (50 gallons) and a very similar energy factor (ECR = 2.47, GE = 2.35). Unlike a conventional water heater which takes all its energy from an outside source (natural gas, propane, or electricity), this water heater uses electricity to move and concentrate heat from the surrounding air to heat water. Because the outside energy source is electricity, the primary energy source for generating the electricity can be renewable. In our home we have enough solar electric capacity to meet all our annual energy. If, on the other hand, your electricity source is primarily coal there will be no net environmental benefit of this water heater compared to using a high-efficiency natural gas water heater. If you are replacing an existing electric water heater your environmental impact and your energy cost will be substantially lower with a heat pump water heater.
If you are heating water with propane this water heater will substantially lower your cost of water heating.
According to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy a heat pump water heater has the lowest lifecycle cost of any method of water heating (http://www.aceee.org/Consumerguide/waterheating.htm)

As compared with a solar water heater, which can typically only provide 1/2 to 2/3 of your water heating energy, a heat pump water heater when combined with solar electricity and provide 100% of your water heating energy from a renewable source.

For 2 adults our annual electricity use is approximately 700 kwh. We have time-of-use electric rates so if we had to pay for the electricity our annual cost would be $60 per year (at $085 per kwh). Our previous water heater used about 130 therms which at current natural gas prices would cost about $130 per year.
We have our water heater on a timer and mostly run the water heater during times when electric rates are low. The water heater takes at least twice as long to heat water as did the natural gas water heater. We have the water heater in our laundry room which we have thermally isolated from the rest of the house so that we don't cannibalize heat from the rest of the house would increase space heating energy use for the rest of the house. We keep the laundry room window open so that the water heater can take in heat from the outside air. Otherwise the laundry room would get too cool and the efficiency of the water heater would drop.

From the pictures and literature this water heater is attractive and has sophisticated and convenient controls. It also has a smart grid interface so as your local utility adds smart grid capability this water heater could support it. In smart grid mode the utility could send commands to the water heater to reduce its energy use during times of high load.

I had a long talk with Mike Racculia, a marketing manager with GE. He was able to answer many of my questions and give me confidence in GE's support for this project.

Based on my research this is a solid, high-quality product. The federal government offers a 30% tax credit for heat pump water heaters. I think that all electric resistance water heater should be replace with heat pumps and that in the long run heat pumps should be used for all water heating.


GE Hybrid Water Heater
By:
Description:

Though it won't be available until Q4 of 2009, this is an exciting GE release and is one of the first announced products to be compliant with the new DOE EnergyStar program for Water Heaters. This hybrid technology is designed to absorb heat in ambient air and transfer it into the water. Since it requires much less energy to absorb and transfer heat than it does to generate it – as a standard electric water heater would – the GE Hybrid Electric Water Heater provides the same amount of hot water while using less energy. • Use less than half of that energy – or about 2300 kWh per year – a savings of approximately 2500 kWh per year. • Save approximately $250 per year, and $2,500 savings in energy costs over a 10 year period based on 10 cents per kWh.

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