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Energy Kinetics System 2000 - Water Heating Question

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  • Energy Kinetics System 2000 - Water Heating Question

    I have an Energy Kinetics System 2000 furnace for my forced hot water heating system and to provide hot water for showers, the dishwasher, etc.

    The water tank (a 40 gallon tank that holds the heated water) keeps calling for hot water from the furnace for five or six hours. I gave a call to my local furnace technician and he suggested that the Plate Exchanger is filled with the gunk from my rusty water and Polybutylene pipes (which I'll hopefully be replacing with PEX piping with an oxygen layer later this summer).

    In case installing a spigot above the circulator and back flushing the plate exchanger doesn't resolve the issue, he quoted me a somewhat reasonable sounding amount to replace the Plate Exchanger including parts and labor. However, I'm on a limited budget and for less than half of that, I could install a 40 gallon electric water heating system.

    What I'm wondering is whether you'd suggest replacing the plate exchanger and hoping that it fixes the issue (it could be the digital energy manager or something, I suppose) or going for an electric water heater.

    Also, if I do go with the electric water heater, does the forced hot water system for heating the house need a plate exchanger anyhow? Or should I just replace the plate exchanger with a straight copper pipe from the furnace to the Zone Valves?

    What kind of steps will I need to switch from using an Energy Kinetics System 2000 for heating our water to using an electric water heater? Would I need a Thermal Expansion Tank on the electric water heater? Would it be cheaper to run the electric water heater or keep paying for oil for our hot water?

    I'm basically thinking outloud and would really appreciate some input. I'm in New Hampshire if you have any questions about local code.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Energy Kinetics System 2000 - Water Heating Question

    Post your question in the HVAC also. This could go there as well. I'm a plumber but pretty ignorant to these systems.

    Also, check back at a later time. More eyes on your question.

    J.C.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Energy Kinetics System 2000 - Water Heating Question

      thanks for the heads up. i appreciate it.

      i went ahead and posted this in the HVAC section.

      thanks again!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Energy Kinetics System 2000 - Water Heating Question

        Does the tank eventually heat up?

        Have you had problems with the plate exchanger before?

        There is a possiblilty that the exchanger is partially plugged and that would cause the problem you have.

        Problems with the manager can be easily diagnosed by a service technician versed in the system 2000.

        It would be far more cost effective to replace the exchanger rather than put in a 40 gallon tank. It is much more cost efficient to run the system 2000 than an electric water heater.
        sigpic

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Energy Kinetics System 2000 - Water Heating Question

          Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
          It would be far more cost effective to replace the exchanger rather than put in a 40 gallon tank. It is much more cost efficient to run the system 2000 than an electric water heater.
          Not to mention that the System 2000 will crank out hot water at a much better clip than an electric water heater (unless it is 150 AMPS). I have an EK1 w/ an 80 gallon tank and am very happy with it. I've never run out of hot water with it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Energy Kinetics System 2000 - Water Heating Question

            I've been impressed with the system 2000 since they first came out. My company installed some of the very first ones ever manufactured.
            sigpic

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            • #7
              Re: Energy Kinetics System 2000 - Water Heating Question

              The tank does eventually heat up. But it takes SEVERAL hours to heat it up.

              There is currently no spigot/drain by the circulator near the water tank so I think I'll need to install one to backflush the plate exchanger.

              About half a dozen times, I've closed the valve right next to the circulator and then ran water through the plate exchanger and out a spigot between the plate exchanger and the connection to the zone valves up against the furnace. I closed the zone valves so I wouldn't drain the zones first.

              I don't think that was backflushing the plate exchanger though. Was it? Wouldn't it be more like I was forward flushing the plate exchanger? To backflush the plate exchanger, shouldn't the spigot be on the same pipe as the circulator?

              Thanks!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Energy Kinetics System 2000 - Water Heating Question

                Back flushing is usually a waste of time anyway. The mineral deposits that typically plug them need to be flushed out with acid, which requires removing the exchanger from the system. The acid used is very strong stuff and should only be handled by someone with experiance.
                sigpic

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                • #9
                  Re: Energy Kinetics System 2000 - Water Heating Question

                  Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
                  I've been impressed with the system 2000 since they first came out. My company installed some of the very first ones ever manufactured.
                  If you don't mind can you say why you are impressed? I like it because of all the blinking lights on the manager so I know exactly what is going on with it, but I assume you have better reasons. Also, does the manager do anything special to save oil aside from continuing to heat the last zone until the water temperature drops enough after the t-stat stops calling for heat?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Energy Kinetics System 2000 - Water Heating Question

                    The design of the exchanger to start with. It's a 3 pass low mass boiler that wraps around the fire giving a very good heat transfer. The manager controls all of the thermostat and zone switching as well as pre and post purge cycling of the burner. Because of the positioning of the flue and the interior design of the passages, and the post purge cycling that dumps most of the heat from the boiler, stand by losses are extremely low. The boiler has an incredible Delta T between the outgoing and incoming water. The plate exchanger is also a very efficient way to make hot water, though by no means was this invented by Energy Kinetics. Plate exchangers have been in use for 60 years or so, mostly for pasturizing and processing. If I had to pick a weak point of the whole system it would probably be the water storage tank which is just a 40 gallon electric tank and not the best quality tank on the market either. Though you can upgrade to any tank you want. In the early days the tanks still had the electric elements in them.
                    sigpic

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Energy Kinetics System 2000 - Water Heating Question

                      Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
                      The design of the exchanger to start with. It's a 3 pass low mass boiler that wraps around the fire giving a very good heat transfer. The manager controls all of the thermostat and zone switching as well as pre and post purge cycling of the burner. Because of the positioning of the flue and the interior design of the passages, and the post purge cycling that dumps most of the heat from the boiler, stand by losses are extremely low. The boiler has an incredible Delta T between the outgoing and incoming water. The plate exchanger is also a very efficient way to make hot water, though by no means was this invented by Energy Kinetics. Plate exchangers have been in use for 60 years or so, mostly for pasturizing and processing. If I had to pick a weak point of the whole system it would probably be the water storage tank which is just a 40 gallon electric tank and not the best quality tank on the market either. Though you can upgrade to any tank you want. In the early days the tanks still had the electric elements in them.
                      Damn you are good..... I feel all warm and fuzzy inside after reading that!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Energy Kinetics System 2000 - Water Heating Question

                        Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
                        The design of the exchanger to start with. It's a 3 pass low mass boiler that wraps around the fire giving a very good heat transfer. The manager controls all of the thermostat and zone switching as well as pre and post purge cycling of the burner. Because of the positioning of the flue and the interior design of the passages, and the post purge cycling that dumps most of the heat from the boiler, stand by losses are extremely low. The boiler has an incredible Delta T between the outgoing and incoming water. The plate exchanger is also a very efficient way to make hot water, though by no means was this invented by Energy Kinetics. Plate exchangers have been in use for 60 years or so, mostly for pasturizing and processing. If I had to pick a weak point of the whole system it would probably be the water storage tank which is just a 40 gallon electric tank and not the best quality tank on the market either. Though you can upgrade to any tank you want. In the early days the tanks still had the electric elements in them.
                        Thanks for the useful info.

                        I have the 80 gallon tank (still Energy Kinetics, upgraded from a 40 by the only authorized company that does outside work). I don't know much about its durability, but it must be pretty damn well insulated. After our last cleaning the system kept loosing vacuum and going out until they would re-prime it (after the 4th or 5th visit they just installed a return line), and the tank wouldn't call for water even if the heat was off for 5-6 hours.

                        That is basically what convinced me that the standby usage can't be that big, so a tankless heater would never be able to pay for the additional installation costs compared to a regular tank heater. Not to mention that another utility bill (propane) isn't something I'm interested in.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Energy Kinetics System 2000 - Water Heating Question

                          Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
                          Back flushing is usually a waste of time anyway. The mineral deposits that typically plug them need to be flushed out with acid, which requires removing the exchanger from the system. The acid used is very strong stuff and should only be handled by someone with experiance.
                          hmm... in that case, should i skip the backflushing and focus on the costs of a new plate exchanger versus the cost of an electric water heater?

                          the plate exchanger and labor is a lot more expensive (two or three times) than putting in an electric water heater with the help of a family friend who used to be a construction foreman. and with oil prices so high, running it off electricity would be at least a moral victory...

                          would a 240v unit heat water faster than a 120v unit?
                          can my System 2000 easily be converted to NOT try to heat water? if so, how?
                          would an electric water heater cost a lot more to run than using my furnace for hot water?

                          thanks, guys. i really appreciate your advice and insight.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Energy Kinetics System 2000 - Water Heating Question

                            Originally posted by kwfrancis View Post
                            hmm... in that case, should i skip the backflushing and focus on the costs of a new plate exchanger versus the cost of an electric water heater?

                            the plate exchanger and labor is a lot more expensive (two or three times) than putting in an electric water heater with the help of a family friend who used to be a construction foreman. and with oil prices so high, running it off electricity would be at least a moral victory...

                            would a 240v unit heat water faster than a 120v unit?
                            can my System 2000 easily be converted to NOT try to heat water? if so, how?
                            would an electric water heater cost a lot more to run than using my furnace for hot water?

                            thanks, guys. i really appreciate your advice and insight.
                            Don't forget performance. A 9000W electric heater will only produce 21 gallons of hot water per hour, your system 2000 will produce almost 200. The reason is that the System 2000 will use 1 gallon of fuel oil, producing 121,000 BTU of energy. The 9000W heater will only produce 30690 BTU (1 Wh = 3.41BTU).

                            The cost will depend on your fuel oil/electricity costs; but you can think of it this way:
                            Fuel Oil Cost/1000 BTUs = Price per Gallon/121
                            Electricity Cost/1000s BTU = Price per KWH/3.41

                            In my case that is:
                            3.299/121 = $0.027
                            0.18/3.41 = $0.052

                            So oil is still twice cheaper. Next year if I end up paying more than $6.292 per gallon I would be losing out with oil; but the performance is just so much better that it is probably worth it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Energy Kinetics System 2000 - Water Heating Question

                              huh. those numbers look like something that i should look into a bit. how did you come to those numbers? and are there formulas or specs on a water heater that i can pull from a website to run through those equations?

                              most of the specs on various websites say that the electric heaters will heat 25 gallons per hour at "a recovery at 90 degree rise" whatever that is.

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