Electric Thermal Storage (ETS) Heat


I'm replacing a 30-year old natural gas furnace and air conditioner this fall. Does anyone have any experience with the Steffes ETS product line? It looks like I can replace my current system with a central unit that stores heat during the night with half price electricity between 11:00 pm and 7:00 am. It uses my existing duct system to distribute the heat. Coupled with a heat pump for the warmer "cold" days it is supposed to be pretty effective.
I live in the Twin Cities metro area of Minnesota so the system needs to work. Most of the big HVAC outfits in the metro area don't carry the product line so I'm left with smaller companies from the outlying towns. I'm thinking that may be an advantage.
Thanks.
dss
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Never heard of such

Whats it do...heat rocks at night??

Sounds more like smoke and mirrors...and with energy costs as high as they are, I expect that we are gonna see a whole bunch more stuff like that....There is a lot more going on here than meets the eye. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably it, but there is a sucker born every minute.

There is probably a real good reason that nobody carries them.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Noon-Air wrote:

Its a system that uses resistance heaters to hear up Ceramic bricks as storage. Sounds like another snake oil cure. I can't wait until we get into winter brownouts due to every one running electric resistance heat. Even air to air heat pumps make more sense in the colder climates. We can possibily generate enough electric, but we just don't have the transmission lines for mass use of electricity. Wind power is not as cheap as folks would like to believe, All of our new Generating plants are N.Gas turbines. Hydroelectric is declining due to water levels and solar is damned expensive, There may be some real solutions out there, But I doubt this is one of them.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

and cats like it too! http://www.steffes.com/downloads/pdf/testimonials.pdf
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If you switch to a "Time of Day" service "daytime" rates will be higher than your current standard service rates. This applies to both summer and winter. Air conditioning will cost you much more to operate. Also, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_value_of_money
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Electric Thermal Storage is very common in Northern MN. A friend just put it in his Lake home a couple years ago, & loves it. It's a back breaker to install as the stone is heavy & the unit is fairly good sized. Couple it with a decent Heat Pump system & you'll save a bunch of $$$$. Lot's of the No. MN. local utilities offer the Off Peak rates, so it's very cost effective. Beware, lot's of these dual fuel & off peak rates are not guaranteed & they are disappearing! Locally, here in the TC metro, I know Excel Energy offers these rates for Heat Pumps etc... You'll need to pull a separate service & add a meter, but the rates make it worth it. Last I heard, it was under $.04 per Kwh from Oct-May.
Since Excel is 1/2 way through their coal to gas conversions, the rates will go up. The MN dept of Commerce told me to expect a 8% increase in electric with every conversion. The St.Paul plant just switched... (took my & a few neighborhood kids to watch the stack implosion) The Riverside (MPLS) plant is under way, Blackdog is next, then a 4th. Each of those plants has a 33" high pressure gas main to spin the turbine. @ 8% each, I'm expecting $.10-12/Kwh soon. (thank god for wind) That said. your off peak rates will still beat the $1.35/Therm gas we've got now, as it's on it's way up. Make sure you use a decent Heat Pump, straight A/C & this, won't save much.
The reason most metro contractor haven't see them, is the metro utilities haven't been promoting them. That's all changing, as Green (Grease) is the word...
There are a few other options if you like to explore further, but all in all, I'd say this one is a reasonable approach.
goodluck geothermaljones st.paul,mn.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
geothermaljones,
Thanks for the informative reply.
I'm not looking to save a ton of money on this deal. I'm mainly looking for a dependable, safe, and economical source of heat. In fact I wouldn't be surprised to see my energy costs rise as it may not pay to set back the thermostat as much as we do now. Electricity rates will continue to rise, but natural gas will be more volatile and will still trend upwards. I think there will always be incentive for the utilities to offer off-peak rates to increase the demand during the dead of winter (at least in the upper Midwest).
I do like the idea that these units are being made in North Dakota and they are so simple they should outlast the average gas furnace. Installation skills should also be less critical than with a high efficiency gas unit and maintenance is almost nothing. I really like the idea of not having a controlled fire in my basement five months out of the year with the attendant carbon monoxide and gas leak concerns.
We haven't run the manual J yet, but I'm hoping to put this in with our existing 200 amp service. It draws 65 amps when it's running and that's a third of our total capacity. I could also add off-peak electric hot water for another 30 amps, but will stick with gas for now. Between the clothes dryer and hot water heater we only spend about $25 a month for gas. Our other 240 volt user is the electric range so we may have to wait until after 7:00 AM to put the turkey in. Adding another 200 amps is less than $2000 so that's a reasonable option.
The current electrical rate is 3.7 cents off-peak and 5.0 cents during regular hours for the heat pump (vs. 7 something for everything else). I agree that this only makes sense if you do a heat pump. My real choice would be a geothermal heat pump, but drilling the wells on an existing city lot is really expensive. And you don't want to skimp on the wells in Minnesota.
dss
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
dss wrote:

I am thinking your not thinking! You buy equipment that has a dealer, repair persons and repair parts readily available in your area. That equipment takes a dump and the repair guy from 80 miles down the road has to plow through 50 inches of snow and its -28F, You just may end up burning the furniture to keep warm. I doubt there is anything priced at half now-a-days. Tell me your not *Norwegian and Blonde*.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
> I am thinking your not thinking! You buy equipment that has a dealer,

No, I'm a Fat, Bald, Finnlander with a Welsh twist.
Since these things are fairly bullet proof, "Stat says-heat rocks, stop when rocks get hot"... Even a novice tech can replace an electric heating element, & all he needs for diagnosis is a VOM... Put that diagnosis up against a 3 stage 95% communicating HP/Furnace w/ all the tools for a complete diagnosis of every part involved in every stage of ignition, operation, shut-down, (Heaven forbid the gas pressures weren't properly set initially.) Now add the costs of all the parts to keep it operating...
They're as simple as falling off a rock. & hey, you could even call sparky...
geothermaljones
p.s., at -28dF it's way too cold to snow more than a dusting... 50" would be a stretch at even moderate 0dF temps.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
geothermaljones wrote:

So I take it that you are against Heat pumps and their exotic repair parts? ;-?

apparently you don't do as many electric furnaces and commercial ovens as you have indicated in the past. Don"t you think the Electricians have violated our job space enough?

Not so. I have seen the Siberian fronts blow snow damned near sideways at -60F. I guess you weren't around in 1968-69 when we got 54" of snow and had -18 to -22F here in the warmer part of the state. We had to feed our cattle from DC3's and snowmobiles.. And we did lose a bunch of them. My 4 wheeler never moved until the Big boy-rotaries cleaned up the mess. Powerlines were down all over the state. Farmers in the Dairy business didn't sleep for days and were throwing out milk as no one could transport it and no storage. Many of us have generating equipment for such outages, But 2 weeks and we are out of fuel.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I humbly apologize Don, I should have known better... How could I ever have though I could outwit the SoDak Buffalo Stud. If I'm ever working on crap in Siberia, I'll check the forecast w/you. I've never mentioned working on electric ovens etc... in the past, but of course you'd know better. If your having problems w/sparkies stealing your business, that's not my concern. Maybe you should take that exam too, them you can give all even more sage advice. I wasn't in SoDak in 69, & I've never fed cattle from a plane, so It's obvious I don't know anything at all. When you finally figure out the sun doesn't rise & fall on the badlands of SD, then maybe we'll give a damn.
geothermaljones

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
geothermaljones wrote:

You are sure proud of that mouse in your pocket. Apparently you sales are not as good as you like thus you are taking it out on the net.;-p

So. You got your knickers all in a twist. I have owned businesses in St Paul, Benson and St Cloud. We don't ranch or farm the Badlands, but you are very welcome to. I do have both an MSEE and a Masters license. But I do feel that HVAC Electrical is HVAC's business and expertise. I also hold a Minnesota Boiler license. My state does not issue that one and requires it for boiler work. I do have a General contractors license with a 2 digit number. As for the electric furnace.. Do you remember the Rhondic(sic) thermal wall design? Frank Lloyd Wright has an interesting House in Wisconsin that is partially heated by this passive system.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.