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GE’s GeoSpring Hybrid Electric Water Heater Saves $320 Annually, Plus Breaks Fossil Fuel Dependency

Scott Cooney | Tuesday August 31st, 2010 | 3 Comments

A few years ago, the water heater at my house gave out.  I had recently installed a 1.8 kW solar PV system on my rooftop, and was really excited about the possibility of breaking my fossil fuel dependency by replacing my water heater with an electric one, which would have been powered by the sun.  I still had forced air heating that was powered by a natural gas furnace, but knew, too, that that appliance was only a few years from needing to be replaced, at which point, hypothetically, I could have powered my entire house on clean, renewable energy.  After some thorough research, I found the electric water heaters at the time to be lacking in efficiency savings, durability, and affordability.

If only GE’s GeoSpring hybrid hot water heater had been developed at that point, I would have been enjoying $300+ in annual savings, and a highly satisfying break of my dependency on fossil fuels. The GeoSpring is an incredibly innovative device.  Like the Dewpoint DH9 that pulls water vapor out of the air and makes pure drinking water out of it, what really sets the GeoSpring apart is that it derives heat from its surroundings, and uses it to heat water in its porcelain tank. This process is complemented by electric heating coil elements, somewhat like a hybrid car.

Unlike a hybrid car, though, the GeoSpring has the capability for user control of its settings that allow it to really maximize efficiency….or to really maximize its ability to produce hot water.By setting the control to the energy saving setting, a user can allow the GeoSpring to fully utilize the ambient heating of water.  The drawback is that hot water is not replaced as quickly.  Conversely, if hot water needs are higher during a certain period, the user can set the heater to high volume production, wherein the electric heating elements are more engaged.

GE’s calculations show a $320 annual savings for an average American.  Adding in a 30% Federal Tax Credit (actual credit dependent on household income) means the GeoSpring can help contribute to a healthy bottom line for small businesses and homeowners.

Perhaps more important, however, is the change from natural gas to electricity as the source fuel. What this simple shift does is allow America to shift away from imports of compressed natural gas, and as the infrastructure of clean, renewable energy continues to grow, the future is looking brighter and brighter all the time for an energy independent America.

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Scott Cooney is the Principal of GreenBusinessOwner.com, and author of Build a Green Small Business (McGraw-Hill). For other ways to reduce your heating bills consider more efficient space heaters.


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Categorized: Green Building|

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  • David

    I got one a few months ago and have been shocked at how low my energy bills have been this summer. There are many drawbacks to this hot water heater (noise is the biggest one), but if you have the right location for it (mine is in my basement), there are no drawbacks. It’s hard to judge exactly how much we’re saving, but I’m guessing at least $30 a month.

  • Nathan

    People also need to know that a by-product of the energy saving features are cold air. Great in the summer but if your water heater is in an area of your home you need to heat you will have no benefit for those months. Few of us consider a similar by-product of your refridgerator (warm air) so it is certainly something you can learn to live with.

  • Anonymous

    12/29/2011 Lexington, SC  I own a Geo Spring and am in my 3rd month of usage. The theory is solid. spend one watt, get three watts of heat.The biggest issue with these will be the build quality and repairability / backing by G.E or whoever manufacturers the unit. QUALITY WILL ALWAYS BE AN ISSUE. I am reading what I estimate to be about a 7% failure rate on various blogs within 24 months. Be careful not to allow back or “ghost” flows from hot water tank inlets and outlets which can allow heat to escape during the off cycle. (My tank is indoors) I have added 3 dependable quality brass check valves to prevent this. Max out all insulation on supply and recirculating pipes. I use my original hot water tank (now unwired) to store warm water heated by the desuperheater on my Carrier geo thermal heat pump  Tank # 1 is always between 72 – 95 degrees F winter, 85 – 106 F summer. Tank # 1 THEN feeds the G.E. Geo Spring. You could also preheat from solar.