View Full Version : Hydrokinetic system
04-02-2004, 02:02 PM
I don't know anything about the hydrokinetic systems used by some homes that are electric (no gas / no oil).
Specifically, I recently saw an ad that a home offers a
"Hydrokenetic system with a humdiifier and 80 gallon H/W heater "
This is somehow supposed to be very efficient. I can't
seem to find anything on the web about this.
1. Does someone know a link that I can use to read about
2. How efficient are these systems, and under what
principle(s) do they work?
3. Miscellaneous comments??
04-02-2004, 03:02 PM
I've heard of Kinetic high efficiency boilers which are gas or oil fired and an indirect tank,but not "hydrokinetic"
04-02-2004, 05:32 PM
Might be something like an electric HW heater hooked up to a hydro air coil. I can't see how this could be any beter then a heat pump. It probably would not work to well in a very cold climate since the elec WH would have trouble getting the water over 120 degrees.
04-02-2004, 06:21 PM
I think you are referring to the Hydrokenetic off peak storage system.
They have some querks.
If that is what you are looking for, let me know and i will tell you about them.
04-02-2004, 06:28 PM
beenthere what is it? How is it used?
04-02-2004, 06:59 PM
Almost the worst idea ever!
Atleast the hydrokenetics.
With the cooperation of the power companies and special meters, these units heat up the water in a steel,(yes steel without a liner) at night. the smallest tank is 400 gal, the largest i work on are 1200. the electric meter has a timer and relay in it, when the relay signals the hydro, it heats the water at night for about half the elec rate that you or i pay, the tanks are sized to hold enough heat, to heat the house the next day without having to use the elements again till the next night. The water heaters also work off the same relay.
CATCH 22, if you use more than x kw during the peak hours, you must pay a higher rate on all your electric.
They tried digital boards, found that airplane radios made the boards boil the water, had to switch them back to anolog.
The company went out of buissness, now it is very hard to get parts.
Can you tell i don't like them?
It is a great idea on paper, but not in reality, it is hard for most people to stay within the restrainst that the meter puts on them.
The off peak time period starts at about 5 pm, and runs till 7 am.
04-02-2004, 07:09 PM
Sounds like you installed a few.
04-02-2004, 07:31 PM
Only helped to install a couple, (I knew after the second one it was a bad idea) but work on way too many of them, they have been trouble from day one.
OH yea, these are non pressurized vessels.
These units are hooked up in 20 different configurations, with heatpumps, or cast rads, or hydro coils, or with oil or gas back up, and alot of other ways.
They are a wiring nightmare.
So if anyone is buying a house with a hydrokenetic, get ready to either pay big elec bills, big repair bills, or change it out.
I just had a call today for one that sprung a small leak.
I got it fixed, but who knows when it will leak at another area.
Oh, did i mention that the #$#@#$# steel tanks are real heavy.
04-02-2004, 08:44 PM
At least if it were a good hydro coil config in ductwork, it shouldn't be too hard to just put in an oil/propane/nat gas boiler to replace the crap water tank. If you can get the house at a good price and the fuels can be brought in or nat gas is already there, it should be an easy upgrade.
You should also find out what gives you the best BTU per $.
04-06-2004, 10:02 PM
Thanks for everyone's feedback.
I did some research with the power company regarding some of the statements made by 'beenthere'
There is no limit of KW hour usage. I may use all the power I need all any time with no penalty, under the following conditions:
1. peak hours are from 7am-5pm, 8am-6pm or 9am-7pm; customer choice.
2. peak rates are slightly more than 3x the off-peak rates.
3. I was quoted the following:
peak KWH off-peak KWH
DIST. 3.053 0.993
GEN. 8.957 2.542
TRANS. 2.931 0.954
4. Fixed monthly cost of $12.47/month
5. These rates are for the Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL) company.
I forgot to ask what is the flat electric rate. I wonder how the normal flat rate measures up to the peak and off-peak rates above.
Thanks again to all.
04-07-2004, 06:29 PM
Hmmm. it must be something for new customers. PP&L uses a normally closed relay in their meters to contol the hydro.
GPU uses normally open.
Many of the units I service are in the PP&L area.
The rates they quoted you are far less than the last 4 customers I was at. They were paying just over .04 KWH.
But, as long as they garranty it to you, go for it.
The original rate was only garrantied for 10 years.
Also check with the previous home owner if it has been sevice every year. Its a steel tank, does it have rust inhibitor in it?
Also did they explain to you, that the water heater won't charge during peak hours, unless you use the over ride.
Our customers that do this are the ones that complain the most.
But, good luck with your system.
PS: We're one of the few companies that still have, and can (or know how to)get certain parts for them yet.
[Edited by beenthere on 04-07-2004 at 06:31 PM]
04-07-2004, 07:23 PM
I just reread your post.
There not giving you the normal discount on your on peak hours.
The original set up was a lower rate all day as long as you didn't go ove x KWH during on peak hours.
BUt, your still getting it for your off peak, so the bill shouldn't be too high.
01-27-2005, 07:01 PM
So how is the hydro doing for you?
01-27-2005, 07:56 PM
Hey beenthere I have installed and repaired the Hydrokinetics. I think I still have one of the earlier books on them. I first started working with them in 1988 or 89. Moved from Pa. in early 90. My experience with them was in new construction. The duct guys set the tanks, I piped and wired them to the heat pump. Get this, If the storage tank is in the basement and you have a hot water coil in the attic of the second floor, the expansion tank has to be in the attic, higher than the coil.
01-27-2005, 08:15 PM
LOL... yea I saw one or 2 like that.
We have coils in the hydro tanks to eliminate that need.
Use lose some heat transfer eff. but no worry about some HO playing with the fill valve and flooding their house.
01-29-2005, 08:34 AM
A homeowner playing with their fill valve, oh that would be a riot. A sad riot but still, after I get off of the phone with that kind of call I would collapse to the floor with laughter, the only thing stopping me would be a lack of oxygen or realizing how I would feel if I was in their shoes HEE HEE HEE :)
01-29-2005, 10:52 AM
I like when they call and say their basement is full of steam, and their afraid to go into the basement and turn off the breaker in their main panel box.
What mess by the time i get their.
When they open their fill valves i make sure i got my boots with me, in case their sump pump doesn't work.
01-29-2005, 08:45 PM
I never did ask why Hydrok used open systems. Do you know?
01-30-2005, 12:21 AM
No I don't know for sure.
I always thought it was because they would have had to have alot thicker metal then they used. But that is only my guessing.
02-01-2005, 08:24 PM
Yeah kind a what I was thinkin too.
01-22-2006, 11:20 AM
did you ever find all the info on hydrokinetix system......i'm looking for info....can you help with leads??
01-20-2008, 01:23 AM
I recently inherited a Hydrokinetics system with a purchase of my summer house in Poconos. Before handing over the owner very briefly explained how to operate the system, and didnít leave any operating manuals.
Being a woman without engineering degree, I would greatly appreciate if someone provide with some sort of Operating of Hydrokinetics 101.
I understand that there are three controllers on the board:
1. The lock-out for the lowest level of the temperature of the water. It is currently set @90. Do I need to keep it at this level? What are the implications if it will be set up or below 90?
2. The differential. It is currently set @100. Do I need to keep it at this temperature? Not sure if I understand correctly what this controller does. Any guidance on this?
3. The lock-out for the highest level. It is currently set @140. Do I need to keep it at this level? What are the implications if it will be set up below 140?
Overall, would greatly appreciate any guidance as per operating this monster. I've been trying fruitlessly to find any kind operating manual on the net, so any tips/suggestions are highly appreciated.
01-20-2008, 07:04 AM
Are you sure the diff isn't 10*
Sounds like you have a hydro coil back up heat for a heat pump application.
I wouldn't reset the temps, they have been working like that for years. You adjust them now, and it could cause you to have not enough aux heat, or a BIG electric bill.
Find out who use to service it, and have them check it yearly.
01-20-2008, 08:31 AM
A bit of clairification here. I did not install Hyrdrokenetix (but I did some service/repair on them) I installed a competitor's product (OPES). The PPL rate had a fixed kwh price, but you paid for demand. You got 2 kw peak free, and paid around $6 per kw above that. However the base kwh rate was the same at all times. They also charged about $12/month fixed fee. My last info was that PPL was grandfathering in any customer, but was not offering this rate to any new customer. So I would check with PPL before you get a surprise.
As far as donik1's questions, if I understand your questions:
1. The low temp lockout is the outdoor temp. You must be below this OD temp to enable the system. Usually between 20 and 30 deg.
2. The differential is usually the heaters on-off. Usually 20-30 deg.
3. The hi temp cutoff is the water temp. Usually on these 180-190 deg. A lower temp will give you less capacity in BTUs for the system.
01-20-2008, 10:32 AM
Low temp lock out, is to turn off the circ, so it doesn't cool the entire tank below this setting, and cost the customer a fortune to reheat the water.(Usually a temp where the heat emitter can't transfer heat efficiently anymore.)
01-20-2008, 12:48 PM
Thank you for your guidance. Wanted to clarify a couple of things:
1. The lock out T:
at what number should I set this contoller, so the system would operate in the most efficient way? any thoughts?
2. The differential:
Sorry for my dumbness, still can't grasp with the main function of this controller, given that it has the T range from 70 to 140.
Having the same question: what is the correct set up for it?
Again, sorry for being dummy. Greatly appreciate your guidance.
01-20-2008, 12:55 PM
yea, they do have a high diff on them. Forgot that, I was thining of a regular boiler.
Youll find that the previous owner probaly has them about where they will work the best.
In order to determine what is best, someone would have to be there and see your heating set up.
Are you getting high electric bills that you want to change the settings.
It may not be the hydro.
You have a very narrow electric usage range that you must stay in in order to get the discount rate.
You did call the electric company to see if you are going to get the discount right.
If your not getting the discount. you will have high electric bills no matter how you set that hydro.
Most electric companies will give the discount on existing systems even when a new person buys the house.
Atleast PPL does around here.
01-23-2008, 05:02 AM
I have a hydrokinetix system that supplements a heat pump. Both are about 18 yrs. old. The control board for the hydro system died. Is it a good idea to fix it or get a new system? I know there are alot of problems with the system and parts are difficult to find. Any help appreciated.
01-23-2008, 07:39 AM
Keep it working as long as you can, for as long as you can get the reduced electric rate.
Parts can be difulcult to get, but not impossible.
What area do you live in.
If your close to lancaster PA. Call me at 717-295-1808.
Ask for Jim.
03-11-2009, 10:37 AM
Hello, I stumbled upon your thread while doing a search for info on my hydrokinetic system. It looks like no one has used this thread in over a year, but if anyone checks it out I would appreciate some info. My system wasn't keeping my home well heated during the coldest days of winter so I bumped up the temp of the tank. My logic was that it would therefore heat better. I suppose I just proved myself to be the typical dumb homeowner because now it is blowing steam out the vent pipe which is condensing and soaking everything in the room around the unit. I turned the temp down hoping to avoid any more steam when it reheats overnight, but the problem is I don't remember what the original setting was. (I made the adjustment several months ago and last night was the first problem, so I'm not 100% sure that is actually the problem.) I would greatly appreciate any advice from those who know what they are doing with these systems (unlike myself). Thanks!
03-11-2009, 11:35 AM
Probably more then just you having turned up the temp some months ago.
Time for service.
You probably have a part that needs replaced.
Steam is not an uncommon occurence with those.
03-12-2009, 11:09 AM
I see you are from Lancaster. Do you know of anyone with skills with this system from the Allentown area where I live? A referral would be appreciated. Thanks
03-12-2009, 11:16 AM
Don't know anyone in your area.
He's from my area.
Wagnerhvac (http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/member.php?find=lastposter&t=154033) has a wide service range, and may service your area.
12-29-2009, 06:37 PM
Hello. This is my first post as I just found this wonderful forum. My Hydrokinetix system is 20 years old and still performing. In the fall, I added some water to the tank. Since I cannot tell the level of the water, I added enough so that I was sure it was filled. Before I turned it on, I placed a large tub at the bottom of the overflow pipe since I figured that when the water in the tank heated up, it would probably overflow. Sure enough, some did overflow into the empty tub. The overflow water look very brown (rusty).
At the end of the heating season, I want to clean out the tank
So, my question is HOW to CLEAN the TANK?
I see some big plugs on the outside that I assume can be removed to get to the inside.
Does anyone know how to clean the tank properly?
Is this a good idea?
What to I refill it with in addition to water?
Thanks for any help you can provide.
12-29-2009, 07:35 PM
DO NOT DRAIN that tank.
Its one of the worse things you can do to it.
A good company will know how to treat it. And how to check the safeties, to make sure they all work.
12-29-2009, 07:42 PM
Thanks for your prompt reply beenthere... it is appreciated.
I hear you... I will not drain the tank. Can you reccommend someone in the Lancaster area to treat the tank?
12-29-2009, 07:54 PM
Screen name wagnerhvac.
he still services them. And may also have some parts instock if it ever needs any.
I believe he has his email address in his profile.
01-22-2010, 11:07 AM
I think you are referring to the Hydrokenetic off peak storage system.
They have some querks.
If that is what you are looking for, let me know and i will tell you about them.
Hi I wanted to get some more detail from you on how they work. I have one HKT-200 I think.
How do you get them to work efficiently? In the winter? What is normal? I thanks for the info. Is it normal for the system to use 100kWh+ a day?
The system looks to heat to 180. There is a psi meter on the same as the temp and that does not move.
01-22-2010, 02:18 PM
You got mail
11-30-2010, 01:24 AM
hi, realize no one has commented on this post in 11 months, but I thought I'd try. I have one of these Hydrokenetic beasts in a home I recently purchased. one day I came home and steam was coming out of the vent and whole basement was soaked with condensation. Called a HVAC guy and he filled it and got the low water light to turn off, but now it drips out of the drip leg constantly but no steam. Is this normal?
11-30-2010, 05:56 AM
Depends. Could be he over filled it. And if by constantly, you mean when ever its regenerating heat, it will stop once the boiler has heated the water to the max temp it is set for.
If it drips even in the middle of the day when the boiler is cooled down. Then no, its not normal, and needs repaired.
I don't think the tech fixed anything. If the low water level light was on. Then it should have stopped heating the water. And not produced any steam. Good chance a control is stuck on and still heating the water, and it will steam again.
Call them back. And ask them to check that all elements are off during the day as they should be.
If not, it will steam, and you will have a very high electric bill.
12-14-2010, 09:00 PM
I posted this question elsewhere and hadn't gotten any responses so I thought I would post it here since there was a conversation about the Hydrokinetix system.
I live in Northeast PA in PP&Lís electric coverage area. My HVAC system is a Trane heat pump with a Hydrokinetix Thermal Storage System HK400E 20kw for aux heat. Since PPL no longer offers off peak time electric rates, when the Hydrokinetix unit would heat the water, I think it would more economical to have a bayhtr (electric heat strips) installed in my air handler and eliminate the Hydrokinetix. What do you think? Thanks for your opinions.
12-14-2010, 09:03 PM
Yep, heat strips would be cheaper. Your Hydro is heating the water even on nights when you don't need the back up.
12-16-2010, 09:20 PM
Found all the posts interesting. If I could comment on a few things. I have a Hydro Kinetix HK-300E system in my home, which I purchased 12 years ago (it was previously a "second home" for 7 years). I have been extremely happy with the operation and costs associated with the maintenance and electric costs. I only ever had to add water to the system, once; when I purchased the home. I had the relay stick twice for the main electric element during cold (+10 to -10 F) temps. I should replace the relay, but lightly sanded the relay contacts (I have electronics, computer, and some HVAC training so the system operation is not foreign to me). It did start gurgling and blowing steam. Resetting the power cleared the problem. Non related issues: I replaced the relay for the air handler (blower fan). It stuck on and needed replacement. Now that the electric companies have done away with the "Off peak" rates, last February I fired up my wood/coal stove (which I rarely used) to supplement my heating needs (save $$$). Found out I could heat my home when it was stoked. So, this winter I've already starting using it. I'm now considering to tinker around for next winter's heating needs utilizing the wood/coal stove and the Hydro Kinetix system. Thinking about getting a heat exchanger or two for the coal/wood stove and pipin' the hot water via a circulation pump into the Hydro tank instead of using the high wattage heaters (save $$$). Any thoughts anyone??? If anyone needs a copy of the prints for this model system, let me know, I'll send them a PDF.
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