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GeoSpring Heat Pump Water Heater

By   /  October 15, 2012  /  2 Comments

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GE’s new GeoSpring heat pump water heater has something that’s been on my wish list: vacation mode! With a 2.4 Energy Factor and this new feature, I would look at this model seriously if I were in the market for a new water heater. I’d love to know if anyone has any experience with it to report. Comments?

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About the author

green building consultant; owner/founder, Design AVEnues LLC

Ann V. Edminster, M. Arch., LEED AP, is a leading green building consultant, speaker, teacher, and author. Her recent work and award-winning book, Energy Free: Homes for a Small Planet, focus on net-zero energy homes. Ann has taught for groups including AIA, USGBC, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison. Ann’s consulting clients include major builders, software companies, design firms, developers, public agencies, utilities, investors, and homeowners. She has held key roles on numerous award-winning residential projects of all types.

2 Comments

  1. Ann –

    I own a GeoSpring, and within 1000 Home Challenge projects and candidates, and others, there are five units I am tracking that have been installed with some type of sub meter.

    Here are my observations:

    1) Many households should have no problem keeping the GeoSpring in the heat pump mode. Doing so will also yield the best energy performance. In hot water draws of 20 or 30 gallons I cannot perceive any drop in delivered water temperature.
    2) The stand-by losses are quite low; low enough that the vacation mode may not be worth the bother of changing the settings; I don’t have my data handy, I will look that up if anyone is interested. I recall it being ~.5 kWh/day at 50 degrees F ambient temp, and a 120 degree F water temp.
    3) Energy use is quite low in a low hot water use household – (e.g. <10 gallons of hot water per day – ~ 1 kWh/day or less; that is significantly less than the estimated stand-by loss of an electric resistance hot water tank. Monitoring by EcoTope estimated electric resistance DHW stand-by losses to be 600 kWh/year.
    4) Mine does not produce as much condensation as several add-on heat pump water heaters that I have monitored, in similar damp basements; that is partly a function of its lower energy use. In talking to a GE engineer who was involved with the development of the GeoSpring, it is clear that it is technically possible to have this typle of design for a heat pump water heater produce more condensate/kWh. That could conceivably be one of the operating modes. This option could be a high value for many US households, particularly those east of the Mississippi.
    5) In my opinion, concerns re the negative synergy due to increasing a home's heating energy are overblown. Sure it could be a factor, but probably not enough of a problem to make it worth venting it to the outdoors, or locating it in an unheated garage.

    Four of the five GeoSpring units that I am tracking are the earlier version, rather than the latest one shown in the photo above with the red top. According to GE there are not significant differences in the energy performance of the two models – the newest one is made in the USA, has a better location for the filter, a quieter blower, and has a USB for connectivity. You should be able to buy either one for $999 at Lowes or Sears. I consider it a great buy.

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