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Marc, Plumber
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 1127
Experience:  Plumbing heating & home maintenance contractor
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Unique situation. Are you there?

Customer Question

Hi..unique situation. Are you there?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Plumbing
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hello. Came home this evening to find that my already leaking 75 gal Apollo hydro heat water heater is leaking so badly it has doused the pilot light and is too wet to relight, dripping water etc. Gas is now turned off at source and decision time has arrived on what could be a fairly substantial expense.
I am considering replacing this unit with an electric unit. The winters in Raleigh have been getting progressively more severe in the past 10 years and the cost to run this unit have gone through the roof. Like $200-300 month just for LP, with electric on top of that. This is only an 1800 foot home. Thats ridiculous.
So... Here's the context under which the decision must be made:
1. I am seriously considering a remodel of the home which would include new HVAC. However, this will be months in the design phase and 5-6 months under construction. While I dont currently live in the house full time, Im here enough that I cant wait that long to address the issue of no hot water.
2. I have no other gas appliances. However as part of any future remodel, would probably move to gas stove / oven.
2. 1st floor air handler MUST be replaced before summer hits. Its been drawing heavy amps for some time now and is a vertical unit on a horizontal installation. Yeah...I know amazing huh?
3. Winter is over and any cool nights now I am able to use space heaters, so going without the hydro heat is fine till the renovation is complete.
4. Original HVAC in house, built in 1987. Still plugging along fine. Much less to run than the heat.
5. I have potential for as many as 2 adults and 3 children under 10 in the home in a rural setting. Dishwasher, washer / dryer on site as well.
I obviously have to address the water heater, but given these variables I am also now forced to decide how to address the HVAC as well. So, the question is whats the SOLUTION?
1. Stay with Apollo heating? If so, why?
2. In not Apollo, stay with gas water heater?
3. What about tankless gas or electric?
4. Is there a way to do an interim solution that doesnt completely waste money I spend on this now? i.e. re-purpose it later, etc..
4 How to size both WH and HVAC for future renovation which might add 500-600 heated sq ft?
5. How much am I losing by not moving away from the old HVAC quickly?
6. I've heard geothermal has become more affordable, does this make sense to consider?Anyway, this is a starting point...sorry its all over the place. Just returning from New Orleans and extremely tired. Hope to hear back on this to get some direction very quickly. I will need to get something done about the hot water right away...the rest isnt nearly as urgent.Mark
Expert:  Marc replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** only with a c. I will assist you to the best of my ability. I am going to assume that you will not be doing the work yourself as it sounds like you are traveling back and forth quite a bit. To answer your question quickly, the most affordable temporary solution for your hot water is to install a 40 gallon electric water heater. Albeit temporary, it will cost around $500-600 installed and will supply a sufficient amount of water during your stays. However, it is not the best solution. If this was my house, financially, I would spend the $1200-1600 to install a wall mounted on demand LP Rinnai tankless heater. It will be extremely efficient and will produce more than enough hot water for you and your family. Then you can address the HVAC. I would suggest a split system that can provide heat and cooling over a geothermal, personally, however, since the hydro heat is there, it is certainly an option to replace the boiler with something more affordable. although the price has come down, I am not convinced that it is worth the initial investment costs, but keep in mind, that this is an opinion based answer.