Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Water heater gamble?

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Had our new GE GeoSpring Heat Pump electric water heater installed today.  We had a ~30 year old electric water heater that was here when we bought the house. I've been monitoring the power that it has been consuming with my Ted5000 Power Meter for a couple weeks and I'm estimating that it was contributing to about 18% of our energy usage in the house.  This is after I turned it down to 130 degrees, it had been set to 150 degrees and was cycling on and off about every 40 minutes.

Now I could have changed this out for a propane model, but that would have involved us getting gas (nothing in the house runs on gas right now) and a bunch of venting that is not currently in place.  Switching it to another electric model would likely have saved some energy just based on the greater efficiency of the newer models, but this model is supposed to be far greater than that. 

According to the Energy Star rating for this unit it should cost less than $200 p/year to run for an average household, which is less than any gas or electric model by far.   On the GE Website they say you can save about $320 p/year based on a standard electric water heater usage of 4,881 kWh p/year.  In looking at my energy usage average over 19 days and multiplying that by 365 days, I'm tracking towards 3,784 kWh of usage.

I'll be able to track usage now going forward and until my next PG&E bill where I'll really be able to see what the actual impact is, since we're on tiered billing, it's difficult to calculate the actual savings until we see the bill.  My service billing happens to start on the 19th, which is the day it was installed, so I'll have a full months billing with the next bill we receive.

The hard justification on these water heaters is that they are expensive, the up front costs are a bit.  However, they just had a big sale, GE had a big discount program going on taking about $400 off the price of the unit, bringing it to $999.  On top of that there is a $300 Federal Tax Credit we'll get and a $30 PG&E rebate which brings it down to $669 (not including installation costs).  So we'll see how long it will take for me to make up the difference in the electric savings, but it may not be too long.


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