A GP Conservation customer recently sent in some pictures of his domestic two tank whole house AirGenerate heat pump water heater installation. The tanks in the picture are an AirGenerate ATI-50 and an AirGenerate ATI-66. The AirGenerate water heaters replaced a failed propane gas boiler system that supplied the home with domestic hot water as well as hot water for a radiant floor heating system. The AirGenerate heat pump water heaters replaced the propane gas boiler and are powered by solar panels.
The tall heater is the ATI-66 the little guy is the ATI-50, our ceiling is short in the “boiler room”. We have concrete slabs throughout both levels of the house with hydronic heating. We used to have one propane boiler that ran both the hydronic and the domestic hot water using a heat exchanger and ultra-stor tank. Our average propane bill was $1200/year and electricity was $2500/year.
The boiler started to fail after 5 years so instead of replacing it I considered a solar hot water collector system/heat exchanger and electric boiler. That was not a great idea due to the need for a large storage tank and complexity of ethylene glycol and pumps etc.
What we ended up designing is a grid-tied solar PV system to provide all the power we need for heating of the house, domestic hot water and electrical requirements. We learned how to design and install all the photovoltaics, hydronic and DHW systems. I was able to retask the control systems and plumbing for the hydronic and DHW. There was very little waste. The price of PV components has dropped dramatically in the last few years and the efficiency is up. Even along the coast here we get enough sun to provide more energy then we consume (and we still have some roof surface left). It costs less than half of what contractors charge if you do the design and installations yourself.
We have been helping several other folks do their own installations now and the only thing I ask when I help them is that they help the next person to do it themselves. Maybe we can all help improve the climate a little bit at a time.
We now have 37 PV panels on our house and garage. The original 14 panels have survived three years of salt and wind with no noticeable damage. Our Sonoma county permit department is used to my plans now and is very supportive. This is pretty cool. It helps that I’ve been an Electrical Engineer in R&D for the last 27 years. I still remember the terrible air quality growing up in LA during the 60s and 70s. Keep up the good work helping out the environment.