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Old 11-16-2015, 07:16 PM   #1
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Aqua Hot furnace vs. Heat Pumps for heat

Hello everyone,

One would think I would know the answer to this by now but I am still learning. I am in socal and the temps are in the 40s and 50s at night. I put the heat on many nights and randomly decide to put the aqua hot furnace or the heat pumps. I have the Aqua hot 600 and usually run the furnace on electric with good results.

Here is my question: at these temperatures is there an advantage to running the Aqua hot or the heat pumps? My observations are the Aqua hot furnace is quieter and feels better supplying the heat from low down compared to the heat pumps that drop the heat from the ceiling.

Thanks in advance for your input,

Stuart
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Old 11-16-2015, 07:34 PM   #2
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the rule of thumb for me is simple - if i were in a location where the lowest temp in a day is near or below than 32 degrees f, i would run aqua hot because the web bay needs to be warmed. otherwise i turn on heat pump. since i follow the weather, i have yet used aqua hot in past 3 years.
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:54 AM   #3
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I subscribe to the theory that gear (generators, heat pumps, aqua hots, engines, etc.) should be used in order to keep them in good working order. I try to take the opportunity to exercise everything each month. The newer aqua-hot like you have has multiple heating elements I believe, so, it can probably keep ahead of cooler temperatures pretty well just on electric, but, you can run the diesel burner once a month or so, or more if you get to a colder place. You have it, so why not use it to make your life better (less noise from heat pumps, etc.)? It does not burn all that much fuel, even when you do use the diesel. Or, run the heat pump in the room/zone you are not in and the aqua hot/baseboard heat in the room where you are.
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Old 11-17-2015, 09:14 AM   #4
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I subscribe to the theory that gear (generators, heat pumps, aqua hots, engines, etc.) should be used in order to keep them in good working order. I try to take the opportunity to exercise everything each month. The newer aqua-hot like you have has multiple heating elements I believe, so, it can probably keep ahead of cooler temperatures pretty well just on electric, but, you can run the diesel burner once a month or so, or more if you get to a colder place. You have it, so why not use it to make your life better (less noise from heat pumps, etc.)? It does not burn all that much fuel, even when you do use the diesel. Or, run the heat pump in the room/zone you are not in and the aqua hot/baseboard heat in the room where you are.

I subscribe to the same theory.

One clarification, all zones controlled by the same thermostat must be on the same source.


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Old 11-17-2015, 08:27 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone,

That is also how I feel, use everything often. You have confirmed that alternating the use of both systems is a good strategy.

Stuart
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Old 11-17-2015, 08:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
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One clarification, all zones controlled by the same thermostat must be on the same source.
Depends on your unit I guess.
We have one thermostat with three zones, two selections of source, although even that is changeable. Heat Pumps on zone 1, 2 or 3, separately or all the same or Aqua Hot and then choice of single or double electric elements, and diesel burner on top of that. In add'n we have two zones of electric heated tile floors.
Our Dutch Star was like Steve says though.
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Old 11-17-2015, 11:53 PM   #7
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I usually use the most efficient heat source based on temperature. Heat pumps start to dramatically decline in efficiency once you drop below ~40 degrees. As the expected night time lows (or day temps) approach 40 degrees, I'll switch from heat pump to AquaHot electric elements. If the expected temps are to be below freezing for more than an hour or two, I'll fire up the AquaHot's diesel burner as the electric only struggles to keep the coach warm and maintain the basement's temperature safely on the warm side. I'll also fire up the burner if we are taking showers; heating the coach and basement is about all that the elements alone can handle. The diesel burner on the AquaHot does not require periodic "exercise". It is the identical system used in home heating oil furnaces that sit idle, in some areas of the country, for 8 or more months out of the year. The fuel used is minimal, but, being snowbirds, having to "break camp" and go top off the tank unnecessarily is irksome when the electricity for the heat pump or the elements in the AquaHot are provided in an endless stream at the pedestal.
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Old 11-18-2015, 07:25 AM   #8
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Wedslave,

I thought the consensus was it is good if not necessary to exercise the diesel burner for the aqua hot at least once per month.
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Old 11-18-2015, 07:43 AM   #9
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If I had the 600 series AH, my heat pumps would rarely be used !
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Old 11-18-2015, 10:07 AM   #10
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Wedslave,

I thought the consensus was it is good if not necessary to exercise the diesel burner for the aqua hot at least once per month.
Per the Owner's manual, the only monthly maintenance is the inspection and replenishment of the heating solution to keep it full so that air isn't introduced into the lines. The burner itself is nothing but a nozzle, fuel pump, an optoisolator of some sort to detect the flame. Nothing that needs to be "exercised". I use fuel oil heat at the sticks and bricks, have for 22 years and have never "exercised" the burner during the off season. Same system; home heating oil is actually diesel fuel.

Popular consensus also says to change your engine oil every 3000 miles...beware of any "consensus"
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Old 11-18-2015, 05:02 PM   #11
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On the Aqua Hot systems, can the heating system still work without having the burner on, just the electric heat switch?
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Old 11-18-2015, 05:20 PM   #12
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On the Aqua Hot systems, can the heating system still work without having the burner on, just the electric heat switch?

It depends on the specific AquaHot system installed. Some have a single small electric element which will maintain the temp of the coolant tank in periods of low demand but when demand is high, either for coach heat or hot water, it takes the diesel burner. Some units have a larger capacity electric heating element and that can lessen the time that the diesel needs to burn.


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Old 12-17-2015, 09:17 AM   #13
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Per the Owner's manual, the only monthly maintenance is the inspection and replenishment of the heating solution to keep it full so that air isn't introduced into the lines.

Exercising the burner does not matter. The stir and zone pumps do.
5 minutes per month is worth my time, and no surprises ($$) is pretty nifty.
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Old 12-17-2015, 06:26 PM   #14
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I guess part of the answer would be cost.
If you are in a park and paying high electrical,
then running the aquahot would be the answer.
If you do not worry about cost for electric, then I prefer
the AH for two reasons...quieter, and heat comes from the floor,
not the ceiling.
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