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Hybrid Water Heater problem

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Jamie Hall
Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,452
edited April 2019 in THE MAIN WALL
In one of the other places I manage, the owner -- for reasons known best to herself -- had a State Electric Hybrid water heater installed. Model HPX-66-DHPT120.

The owner is not there much in the spring and fall, like now, but the water heater is left running. Problem is...

Pretty much anytime when I go check the place and hot water hasn't been used for a week or so I find the blessed contraption beeping merrily away and flasshing an error code "ECC" which, helpfully, tells me to call tech. support. It did it first when it was in vacation mode, but has done it again several times after being reset and run in regular mode,

Tech support is not all tht helpful.

Any insigth or bright ideas? I"m anything but an A/C or compressor tech., and I don't want to learn at this stage of my life -- but I'd sort of like to have a clue.
Br. Jamie, osb
Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England

Comments

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,633
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    @Jamie Hall

    I looked at the manual which is on line I assume you have one. I skimmed through it. I would get the manual and see if there is something wrong with the installation. Ambient temperature they list as between 45deg -120deg. check air filter and condensate drains etc BLAH BLAH.

    It gives some error codes

    The manual says "ECC- Heat Pump Compressor Not Operating"
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 2,011
    edited April 2019
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    Jamie. I have had only a couple of issues with these things as they are new technology. (At least for me anyway.) But had a similar situation.
    One was installed in a room that was enclosed so much that the thing over heated. No one saw this coming as these hybrids are supposed to take surrounding air and use it to heat the water. Nevertheless the thing was busted. Compressor blown.
    But !
    On those units you can change the mode. I forget how they explain it on the unit, but one of the modes you can change it to is to conventional? I think it was called? not sure of the language. Meaning, the conventional heat elements are used only. No hybrid, no external air etc.

    If you make the selection that just uses the heat elements in the water. (essentially you are bypassing the heat pump/compressor.) Than you should be able to tell if the compressor is or is not working as it will reset in the mode cycle , or so it did for me. When you make the mode change it will default to original. I do not like these units because of this.
    After you do this go back to your prefered mode and monitor it to see if it is working correctly.
    ECC is a common error code in many brands of these units and is not very telling as to what is wrong.I have yet to come across a rep or tech support that has been able to tell me what the heck I did to get it working.

    I also am not a AC tech..... Licensed Plumbing Contractor/ Steam Fitter for a long time now. I am only offering my advice from a few of my own experiences. Hope others chime in to lend their ideas.

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,452
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    Thanks guys... project for tomorrow, I guess. Argh...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,633
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    @Jamie Hall

    I went back on State's web site. The only "manual" I can find is more of a "users manual" and doesn't get real technical.

    It seams as though they have technical information and real manuals for other equipment.

    I guess it's "new technology". Apparently they will build and ship and leave it to the installers and owners to figure out how they work.......then write the manual at a later date.

    It doesn't surprise me at all. I like State but they are owned by AO SMITH who I dispise.
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 2,011
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    @EBEBRATT-Ed Do you think the menu pads are all made by the same company? I have seen a few of the hybrids from different manufacturers. The selection, or menu key pads seem the same?
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,633
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    @Intplm.
    not sure
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 2,011
    edited April 2019
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    @Jamie Hall How did you make out with this.
    And was the unit put on vacation mode before this all started?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,452
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    It was. It's on electric only now while we keep trying to figure out what it's doing... or not doing. It's unpredictable. I'll keep you all posted.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Intplm.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,452
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    Update. Having tried a few things, finally got a company rep. (nice fellow, and competent) out to look at it. The verdict -- compressor gone. What to do? Well, quoth he, we will repair it... if you want... but... we don't sell these anymore, as we've had a lot of trouble with them.

    Mumble mumble mumble. Talked to the owner; we're going to clean and adjust and fire up the two old Bock oil burning units and have nice hot water. The Thing doesn't take up that much space... Owner is not pleased. Fortunately it was her idea, not mine!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Intplm.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,633
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    New technology. I admit to being a skeptic. Manufacturers, come out with all the new equipment you want, I won't buy it. If after 3 or 4 years it looks good maybe I will give it a try.

    I have been to several factories looking at equipment.

    Some manufacturers test and test and do a good R & D, put out a quality product....maybe not perfect but you can make it work.

    Some manufacturers slap something together without testing, I have been involved with it and seen it by a big company who you would never expect to do something like this. Slap It together, and ship it. We don't need to test it...the guys in the field will take care of it
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,575
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    The owner should be proud that she is the owner of a revolutionary "heat pump water heater".
    As long as you don't use enough hot water to push it into conventional mode (don't take a long shower) you can be 3x as efficient as the least efficient option out there (resistance electric).
    You of course need to be willing to ignore that you are robbing the heat from Peter and giving it to Paul and that you will likely have to buy a compressor or control board for your overly complex, mostly resistance heater.
    Maybe she should "invest" in a PV solar array to run the heater. the theoretical savings should more than pay for the new compressor. Just need to be sure know one talks about the 2% annual deration of panels, replacement of inverter or expense to R&R the panels when the roof needs replacement.
    Oops, I think I went on a rant! o:)
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    Intplm.
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 2,011
    edited April 2019
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    Good to hear you got a nice fella/rep on the phone. Good it was the owners idea for this. Sorry it happened. I have had similar experiences with these units. I am starting to believe that the hybrids are made by one company no matter the brand name. (Sort of like what MTD does with lawn mowers, or the former craftsman sears brand) Some parts are farmed out, some not. Quality control and longevity leave much to be desired.
    Tried and true for me from now on.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,452
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    @Zman -- no problem with the rant! And the homeowner was at least partly motivated in the first place about having a water heater which consumed a lot less energy and all that. She was, and is, also motivated to have hot water for herself and her guests, and was not happy that the thing wouldn't run in heat pump mode -- only electric resistance. She's a highly practical lass, for all that she lives half the year near LA...

    As to the PV -- the house in question is National Register, and PV panels on the roof are frowned on, to put it mildly, and there is no place on the grounds to install a ground mounted array without taking down a number of old (100+) valuable --- and treasure trees.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Cyclone64
    Cyclone64 Member Posts: 1
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    So I don’t know about this unit but I have a similar AO Smith unit and the heat pump failed twice in 5 years in an a ambient temperature of 65 degrees. 

    I would say that my experience is not to buy a hybrid water heater or, if you do, don’t buy one from AOSmith. 
  • RIRED
    RIRED Member Posts: 10
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    im on my second AO SMITH Heat pump water heater first one failed due to bad compressor now the replacement is giving the same dreaded ecc code which indicates another bad unit I dont have much hope that this one will last either
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 988
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    your compressor is junk and the water heater needs to be replaced as they wont replace just the compressor. this issue is common with these new type of compressors
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,737
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    The new type of compressors from 5 years ago when this thread was current?
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 845
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    If you set the mode to "electric only" the unit will eventually default back to "hybrid mode". There is a simple way to over-ride the default to "hybrid mode" to have the unit operate in "all electric" mode --all of the time. I just saw it in a YouTube. The YT poster was able to speak to a "knowledgeable person" at A.O Smith/State tech support. Pressing the "right keys" on the control pad-- in the right sequence. Its a carefully guarded "secret!" Don'tchaloveit?
    WMno57