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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


  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,469Member
    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".

    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 Posts: 4Member
    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 Posts: 753Member
    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 Posts: 4,896Member
    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 Posts: 5,802Member
    Their are a couple of excellent contractors in Western MA. including @Charlie from wmass & @GW
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Posts: 4,063Member
    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
  • GWGW Posts: 3,406Member
    Thanks Ed you’re so kind.

    We don’t travel far, we are 01060 Northampton area
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • GWGW Posts: 3,406Member
    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
    [email protected]
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Posts: 4,063Member
    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
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