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Oil Indirect Water Heater vs Electric Hybrid/Heat Pump Hot Water

I recently moved and the new house has oil heat, buderus oil hot water boiler (6-8 years old) and a stand alone electric hot water tank.
The hot water tank has been a rude awakening to my electric bill and with all the masssave rebates out there I'm wondering if it makes sense for me to replace it with either a hybrid/heat pump electric tank or an indirect tank to run off the oil buderus boiler.
I live in western mass so the oil boiler will be running pretty regularly 4-6 months of the year (depending on how cold my wife gets).
So I'm wondering what would be more efficient and what would make the most sense, replace the stand alone electric tank with a hybrid/heat pump electric tank or replace it with an indirect tank that runs off the buderus oil hot water boiler. Last time I checked there was around $750 in rebates for either option.
Also the existing electric hot water tank is about 8 years old and still working fine, just expensive to run. So do I replace it now or wait till it fails? If I replace it, which option is best for me?
Any advice would be welcome.
Thanks in advance.
Western Mass Steam Homeowner

Comments

  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 11,425
    The hybrid units are excellent, and relatively inexpensive to run -- provided your hot water demand is within the range where they are actually using the heat pump, and not switching on the resistance coils (which are exactly the same as in a regular electric heater). So take a look at how much hot water you actually use, and how fast, to see if the hybrid can keep up. One of the buildings I care for has one, and it is quite satisfactory -- until there are a number of guests.

    The problem with an indirect is that the oil boiler has to run all summer to make the hot water. They aren't bad, and there is nothing wrong with that, but it needs to be considered.

    There is a third option you haven't mentioned: an oil fired stand alone hot water heater. One of the other places I care for has that arrangement, and it seems to be actually less expensive to run than the hybrid; certainly when there is a number of guests. There probably isn't a rebate for it, though, as they aren't "fashionable".
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • super_snopsuper_snop Member Posts: 4
    Hello, I’m brand new here and figured I would chime in. Right now I have a tankless coil setup in a thermodynamics boiler. Im sick of having inconsistent temperatures and lack of hot water. I was looking into doing an indirect setup but couldn’t pass up the deal on a heat pump water heater. I got it for $300 off plus an additional $750 rebate from my power company. I oversized the size of the tank and went with an 80 gallon because I know they have a slow recovery rate in heat pump mode. I live on Long Island in NewYork. It will be installed in my unfinished basement which remains fairly warm in the winter due to my boiler cycling for the heat. After I install this water heater I’m updating my boiler controls (right now I have old line voltage thermostat setup). Once thats done I am going to lower the low limit on my boiler slightly. Its an older boiler and I am too afraid to cold start it. I plan to shut the boiler down over the summer time. I know Im risking a leak but I am willing to take my chances. Once I get this thing installed I will let you know how it works out. Have you changed your setup yet?
  • GBartGBart Member Posts: 753
    Indirect is the way to go, you can easily top 200gph of hot water and do it cheaper.

    Hybrid/electrics suck, it's a marketing scam, they use somewhat less electricity depending on the load but don't put out anymore hot water than a standard electric, one to two showers and it's over.

    Figure on saving $100 month or more by going indirect.
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 5,334
    Don't forget that even when it does run in hybrid mode, it is only efficient because it is taking heat from the air in the space. During the heating season, that heat needs to be replaced by your boiler or furnace.
    No free lunch....
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 6,103
    Their are a couple of excellent contractors in Western MA. including @Charlie from wmass & @GW
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,098
    I will only install indirect or direct fired water heaters as I do not provide services for refrigerant systems. I have had several calls from people who have had hybrids installed and had difficulty getting service after the fact. If you do go that route make sure the installer is willing and able to provide service after the sale.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • GWGW Member Posts: 3,457
    Thanks Ed you’re so kind.

    We don’t travel far, we are 01060 Northampton area
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    www.wilsonph.com
    [email protected]
  • GWGW Member Posts: 3,457
    Charlie the manufacturers have traveling techs. HVAC guys aren’t expected to break into the ref system. If it’s a fan motor or a board or something dumb then that’s normally easier.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    www.wilsonph.com
    [email protected]
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,098
    That was not the experience that the last person who called me was having. They were also in contact with the manufacturer who shipped them repair parts
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • coolrunningcoolrunning Member Posts: 8
    hello everyone , can u give me your opinion ?
    i have a indirect fired oil , and is leaking , and i need to replace it.

    do you think to replace it with another indirect or put a hybrid heater after the oil burner ?
    if i understand right , the indirect is just a insulated tank , when the water be cold , it send back to the burner to warmer up again , isnt cheaper warm with the electric ? and dont send it back ?

    what u suggest ? the price of the indirect and the electric are almost the same.

    thanks
  • GWGW Member Posts: 3,457
    I work with both of these products, regularly. There’s no right or wrong answer. Subtle pros and cons

    The heat pump water heater, considered “more green”, needs a condensate plumbing connection, and electrician is required, will cool down your basement, you need at least 750 ft.³ of volume for it to work well, The colder the basement the less efficient it is. Makes a small amount of noise, I’ve had two people comment on the noise, out of installing 25 or 30 or so.

    Indirect water heater, extremely popular, generally last forever. It’s rare that they leak. Some people have the opinion that letting the boiler run throughout the summer is a good thing, I concur.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    www.wilsonph.com
    [email protected]
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,058
    Keeping an oil boiler running for 12 months to heat a little water is bad.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,098
    edited December 5
    @ethicalpaul this is not like running a tankless where the boiler is kept at 180 degrees all summer. And it is quite an economical way of producing domestic hot water. oftentimes and smaller homes the actual drawn domestic hot water is equal to or larger than the heating load.
    To the OP The price of heat pump water heaters is deflated due to rebates and does not reflect the true cost of the unit. if you had a stainless steel indirect water heater and it sprang a leak you need to look into what your water quality is and why the unit failed. If the unit was not stainless steel then there may have been maintenance that was not taken care of such as changing an anode rod. There are also indirect water heaters that are offered now that are made with a plastic tank for more aggressive water conditions. if you have grown used to the water available from an indirect water heater and an oil boiler you may not be satisfied with a heat pump water heater and its water production rate. tell us a little bit more about your situation and we could give you better information. Such as how many bathrooms how many people occupy your home and if you have any unusual fixtures such as large soaking tubs or if you are utilizing very aggressive water conservation methods.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,058
    Thanks Charlie you are right, I had tankless in my mind. I still don't care for the idea though :)
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • coolrunningcoolrunning Member Posts: 8

    Hello , thanks for your answer , so i have an Amtrol BoilerMate 41 Gal , and it have a small leak from the bottom where the pipe come out.
    i have 1 bath with tub , and we are 2 adult and 1 baby .

    i just bought the house i dont know what they did before.

    i just found this on sale for $100 , the seller said that he changed kind of heat system and he doesnt need anymore .







    thanks a lot

  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,098
    @coolrunning that is a storage tank not an indirect water heater.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,098
    @coolrunning where are you located as hot water solutions are also regional. As an example of that the used tank you posted is common on Long Island and rare in Western Massachusetts.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • coolrunningcoolrunning Member Posts: 8
    thanks for your answer , and sorry for ask , what is difference ?
    that one i have isnt like that ?
    im in the cape , massachusetts
  • coolrunningcoolrunning Member Posts: 8
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,098
    The one in the photo is a storage tank that is used with a tankless coil on the boiler. Photos of your existing system would let us know what you have.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,098
    The tank that you have has a coil inside of it and is known as an indirect water heater. The one you posted a photo of has no coil inside of it and is simply a storage tank. There are other brands of indirect water heaters that may last longer but the one that you have is fairly old
    Since you are in a coastal area I would recommend looking into the weil-mclain polyethylene tank. my assumption is if you have a baby that baby eventually will grow up to be a teenager and your water usage is only going to increase over time. My understanding of electrical rates on cape cod are that it is not budget-friendly.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • coolrunningcoolrunning Member Posts: 8
    honestly i have no idea about the difference , but you suggest to do not buy this ? and get another indirect heater ? i pay $0.27 for kw
  • coolrunningcoolrunning Member Posts: 8
    but im sorry i just checked in their website , and they said this is a indirect water heater , i dont get the difference from mine

    http://www.htproducts.com/superstor-contender-waterheater.html
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,098
    http://www.htproducts.com/glasslinedtank.html this is what they are selling.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • coolrunningcoolrunning Member Posts: 8
    ok i saw the brochure , i understand the difference now , one is just a tank , the other one have something for heat .

    thanks a lot
  • coolrunningcoolrunning Member Posts: 8
    and for my system and my utility , what you suggest ? samething ? replace with a new amtrol boilermate ? another brand ? or go with a electric boiler in series after the oil with a switch for summer for shut down the oil ?

    thanks a lot
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