Sanden Heat Pumps
Just wondering if about the current state of Sanden in the U.S. and whether the product is properly serviced these days. I’ve been looking at these heat pumps for 3 years and would like to pull the trigger if customers are happy with the reliability, parts availability, etc. .
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The US Sanden business is now a separate operation, https://www.eco2waterheater.com/about-us. I think they are good but I don't have a first-hand report for you.
I have a first hand experience, just got permit signoff. First things first:
"In January 2020, John and Maho negotiated the purchase of Sanden's water heater business in North America, re-branding as ECO₂ Systems and opening the door to the introduction of complementary products from other manufacturers."
At the time I installed a few months back, all of the incomming North American supply was on the container ship MARESK ALFIRK docked outside the port of Long Beach, due to congestion. I got a scratch and dent.
The company provided the needed support. The active components are all in one sealed unit -- there was no need to repair this unit, so I can't comment on parts.
Energy use, summer outdoor temperatures:
20 kWh/7-days (85kWh/mo or around $30/mo)
With recirculator 15-min/day
24 kWh/7-day (103kWh/mo or around $36/mo)
with recirculator 60-min/day (4 x 15min)
38 kWh/7-day (162kWh/mo or around $57/mo)
vs. old gas unit $60/month in gas.
140F water, 80 gallon tank.
Know that the taller tank is more efficient (higher COP).
I've owned a Sanden 17 months with just one small glitch: Once, after a utility power outage of several hours the heat pump failed to kick back in by itself and we didn't catch on until the hot water ran cold. I contacted the dealer and the fix was to open(4 screws) the top and just press the key a few times. No parts or service call needed. Otherwise it has been reliable and we are happy customers. I did some crude efficiency calculations with it on my own that were impressive.
The only worry I still have about owning one is freeze protection in a long power outage. Normally the outdoor unit protects itself by sensing ambient temperature and running heat cycles often enough to avoid freezing. But it is obviously vulnerable when the power is out. If my glitch had happened before a 20 degree night I might have had a bigger problem.
I expect I will need to drain and refill (and air-bleed) the outdoor unit on my own a time or two over its life. This is mild western WA but about every 10 years we lose power for a day or more in an ice storm. Also it may be prudent to drain proactively when on vacation in the winter. The procedure seems doable, but inconvenient. I had thought this through somewhat before purchase. Basically, for your own locale you need to estimate the odds three things happen simultaneously:
+ hard freeze
+ you aren't there or not paying attention to drain the outdoor unit.
Hi - Would either of you be willing to provide the installed cost? I'm getting quotes of $12K+ which is hard to justify, but I don't have enough headroom to install a traditional HWPH.
That sounds insane....Does the unit require any work on the refrigerant? For some reason I thought this was a monobloc-so all the piping was water. If so, do you need an HVAC guy at all?
I don’t think so, all of these quotes came from plumbers (I got 3 total ranging from 12k to 15k). One of the plumbers cited inflation/Covid supply issues as the primary driver of the astronomical cost.
Well 475 High Performance Building Supply in NYC has the Sanco2 on their web site for $5,403, so at $12,000-15,000 that is a mark up of $6,600-9,600 to essentially install a water heater with an outside condenser! I am not sure where you are but the Eco2 website has a big list of suppliers who they claim carry the product. Meanwhile, check out The RadiantStore in Troy NY. They sell this Sanden unit and also sell the solar assisted heat pumps by SAHP in the UK. These look very interesting.
Honestly, for $12-15k, wouldn't you be much better off with a simple $500 electric HW heater and a PV system to run it at net zero? Or a standard heat pump hot water heater like my AO Smith unit...or perhaps a solar assisted HW heater-either the standard type or the SAHP unit I described above?