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Apollo HydroHeat -- known problems?


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I have an Apollo HydroHeat system and right now I'm shopping for a new 75 gallon hot water heater that will work with it. Mine busted Thursday night and emptied out into my first floor.

First guy, who came recommended from a reliable source, said it would cost $2100 installed to replace. The salesman at the gas company said he could take a standard 75 gallon hot water heater and (something to the effect of) could attach a pneumatic assembly to make it work with my system for $1700. Please keep in mind I have no idea what I'm talking about so excuse my terminology.

My questions are:

1. Why does Apollo HydroHeat even exist - what is supposed to be the benefit? Lower energy costs?

2. If so, are they still considered energy efficient today?

3. Is what the gas company saying they can do sound okay?

4. What powers the pneumatic assembly? Would that cancel out any energy savings?

5. If I let them do that, then down the road could I have the option of going away from Apollo without replacing the hot water heater by just removing the pneumatic assembly?

Fantastic thread - thanks!

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It's nothing more than a giant car heater installed in your house with water circulating through it.

In a car, the engine heats the water and the water pump circulates the water through the heater coil according to what you set the controls at. It's the same thing with the Apollo - the water heater is the engine, a circulator (the pneumatic thingy he referred you to) pumps water to it, and you adjust it using your thermostat.

I wouldn't use a conventional water heater though; I'd use one with an immersed coil so that the water circulating through the Apollo was separate from what I'm bathing in and using for cooking, washing dishes, etc.

I can't remember if the Apollo has a circulator integral to the coil/air handler or if it's separate. If integral, you don't need the circulator and I should think a properly sized water heater with an immersed coil that's designed to be used with a circulating hydronic system would work fine. If it requires a separate circulator, and the old one isn't available or is shot, your plumber will need to match the water heater Btu/Hr and recovery rate and the flow rate with the Apollo.

Just about every water heater manufacturer makes higher Btu/Hr water heaters that can be used with hydronic systems these days and they're just about identical to the one that Apollo uses. Replacement shouldn't be nearly as difficult as folks imagine.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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  • 5 weeks later...

My 1987 Apollo 5010 water heater finally started leaking and must be replaced. Of course they don't make the model any more. Is it worth digging around to see if I can find a 5010 in the back of some warehouse or should I just get a newer Apollo model and let the plumber see what he can do with the pipe placement? Or can another brand be substituted?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi..this is the most comprehensive site I have found on the Apollo system. THANKS to all the experts!

I am in a similar boat as another poster. I have an ~1800 sq ft two story house on a slab with one unit.

HVAC tech came by today stating that my motor was locked up and needed to be replaced and a new contactor? (something he said you change when you change the motor that started with a C). This will cost me ~ $700 installed. My unit has been running since 1997 with very few problems in Durham, NC. Two years ago, I replaced the gas valve on the Water heater (65,000 BTU) and last year had to replace the thermocouple and "click switches" that lead to the retro fitted power vent. Also, the tech found a "hard start" on the condenser today which I am not sure how it got there...maybe from previous owners.

So now I am wondering...

1)Is apollo really out of business as mentioned above?

2) with a unit as old as mine, does it make sense to just replace the motor...and the other C part?

3) Is the motor the thing that limits the lifetime of the Apollo Systems or something else in your experience...ie, if I replace the motor am I buying more time?

4) Since I am on a slab-I can't do Gas pack. I have only " 5 wires" in my two story house therefore may not easily be able to get a heat pump without rezoning at a cost of $ 3,000 additional to new unit-is it best to try to stick with hydroheat or pay for modification for heatpump?

5) Am I overloooking another alternative?

Phew... Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for any responses. :)

Anna

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  • 2 months later...

Can someone explain to me how to perform maintenance on our Apollo hydro heat system? We've changed the filters but have not flushed the system in 20 years of use. Its heat output has declined.

It's hard to find information about this system. The forum is appreciated.

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  • 4 months later...

I have a question for Mr. Katen. I live in Albama and have an Apollo system. We had only owned the house 8months and don't know much about the previous owners. Our heat system does not seem to work properly. There is a switch mounted in the heater closet and everytime we want heat we have to flip the switch off and then on again. The unit will not come on by itself even if it is 30degrees in the house. Over the summer we had to put a new thermostat in and I am now curious that we might have the wrong thermostat. I cannot find enough information on the unit to find out if it is 2wire or 3wire system and these units are very uncommon in the south so no one seems to be able to help. Any ideas?

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I have a question for Mr. Katen. I live in Albama and have an Apollo system. We had only owned the house 8months and don't know much about the previous owners. Our heat system does not seem to work properly. There is a switch mounted in the heater closet and everytime we want heat we have to flip the switch off and then on again. The unit will not come on by itself even if it is 30degrees in the house. Over the summer we had to put a new thermostat in and I am now curious that we might have the wrong thermostat. I cannot find enough information on the unit to find out if it is 2wire or 3wire system and these units are very uncommon in the south so no one seems to be able to help. Any ideas?

I just reviewed the wiring diagram for that system and it calls for 4 wires to the thermostat. How many wires go to your thermostat?

When you turn up the thermostat (or when it gets cold in the house) what happens? Does either the blower or the pump engage?

When you turn the switch off & on what happens? Does the system run indefinitely, or only till the thermostat is satisfied?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Our thermostat has 4wires but on the back of the pkg it is saying something about a 240v system with 3wires?

When I flip the switch it will run until the thermostat is satisfied and cut off but then will not come back.

No, the blower does not come and I'm not sure about the pump. Can you tell me where to look for it?

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Our thermostat has 4wires but on the back of the pkg it is saying something about a 240v system with 3wires?

When I flip the switch it will run until the thermostat is satisfied and cut off but then will not come back.

No, the blower does not come and I'm not sure about the pump. Can you tell me where to look for it?

I suspect that the problem might be as simple as a mis-wired thermostat, or perhaps a bad relay somewhere.

I've attached the installation instructions for your unit. Print them out & call a good HVAC tech. If you can find one who's worked with Hydro heat systems before, great. But if not, just find someone who knows his way around conventional HVAC systems & wiring diagrams. He should be able to figure it out pretty quickly.

Download Attachment: icon_adobe.gif om_airhandler.pdf

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Mr. Katen,

Thank you for all of your help. We have called in another hvac tech and he says as far as he can tell the thermostat is connected correctly and there is no bad relay. Any other suggestions?

Just guessing:

Could the switch that you turn on & off be a service switch for the air handler? If so, when you turn it off, you're cutting power to the system and, essentially, rebooting it. It could be that, as it's running, a high limit switch or safety switch makes contact and shuts down the system. Then the system doesn't work until you cut power & reboot it again.

If that's the case, the switch might be malfunctioning or it might be behaving as it should, in reaction to a problem with the system. (BTW, is the coil and the filter clean?)

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm sorry it has taken so long for me to answer. My son is in the Army and he has come home for a visit. Yes the filter and coils are cleaned. The guy helping us here cleaned the coils and we have tried several different filters. I forwarded your last suggestion to him and hopefully he can help. It is starting to get expensive on the service calls. I really appreciate all of your help. It would be great if we were in the same area.

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  • 1 month later...

I have been trying to do some research on our Apollo hydro heat system and I'm so glad I found this site.

I am reviewing our gas bills from the summer - winter (I live in NC) and the usage and price has jumped significantly, which makes sense. But I wanted to make sure I am being economical about it, I recently set our thermostat to be at 72 throughout the day and drop to 68 at 9pm, then go back to 72 at 6am. I am home all day with the kids so we like to keep it comfortable. However, I'm wondering with this type of system (hydro heat) if it's best to just leave the thermostat at one set temp all the time?

Any wisdom and guidance you could provide would be very helpful!

Thanks!

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I have been trying to do some research on our Apollo hydro heat system and I'm so glad I found this site.

I am reviewing our gas bills from the summer - winter (I live in NC) and the usage and price has jumped significantly, which makes sense. But I wanted to make sure I am being economical about it, I recently set our thermostat to be at 72 throughout the day and drop to 68 at 9pm, then go back to 72 at 6am. I am home all day with the kids so we like to keep it comfortable. However, I'm wondering with this type of system (hydro heat) if it's best to just leave the thermostat at one set temp all the time?

Any wisdom and guidance you could provide would be very helpful!

Thanks!

What you're doing now is fine, it shouldn't cause any problems.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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  • 4 weeks later...

I moved into a condo a year ago. I have never had as many leaks and floods in my condo in a years time. Five of the floods were in the first month of moving into the condo.I think this system is the worst system in the heating world. I am now just today putting up with a wet floor for the 15th time.I am currently looking for somewhere else to live and if I see a Apollo heat system will run out the door screaming.

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We seem to have had quite a few folks from NC coming on and complaining about issues with these HydroHeat systems. Does anyone know if there are any issues with alkalinity in the water that trashed copper pipe in NC. I've heard of it eating through copper pipe in only 15 years in the NJ/MD area, so maybe the same issue exists down there. Thoughts?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Hello,

My Apollo hydro ceiling heat system needs replacing. It is 22 years old and has been problem free. I've been happy with it - only had one minor repair in 22 years, beside replacing the water heater a couple of times. My heat has been nice and my electric bills have been low.

But now, it quit heating and the AC company is quoting me $6000 to replace it. My condo is one floor, approx 970 square feet wtih a unit above me. The water heater is in the garage below. They're telling me that the pump is rusted out.

This seems like a rip off. The condo is in CA and was installed when the unit was built. These units aren't common in CA and I'm having a hard time finding anyone that has ever heard of it, let alone someone that can repair it.

Seems to be I'm better off putting a new AC and heater and forgetting about this system entirely. Is that possible? I have a unit above me if that makes a difference.

Thank you.

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Hello,

My Apollo hydro ceiling heat system needs replacing. It is 22 years old and has been problem free. I've been happy with it - only had one minor repair in 22 years, beside replacing the water heater a couple of times. My heat has been nice and my electric bills have been low.

But now, it quit heating and the AC company is quoting me $6000 to replace it. My condo is one floor, approx 970 square feet wtih a unit above me. The water heater is in the garage below. They're telling me that the pump is rusted out.

This seems like a rip off. The condo is in CA and was installed when the unit was built. These units aren't common in CA and I'm having a hard time finding anyone that has ever heard of it, let alone someone that can repair it.

Seems to be I'm better off putting a new AC and heater and forgetting about this system entirely. Is that possible? I have a unit above me if that makes a difference.

Thank you.

Does the condo association have an email list or other communication forum? If so, I suggest that you begin by asking other owners what they've done. If your system is ready to be replaced, others are also. You might be able to find a contractor who'd be willing to become the go-to guy for the association when it comes to replacements.

Depending on where in Cali your unit is, the price might or might not be a rip off. As I'm sure you're aware, contractors often adjust their prices according to the mean income of the neighborhood.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I think you Jim K. could put up an Apollo HydroHeat web site and charge a registration fee for folks wanting to post questions.

I've never seen one. I'm guessing they're mostly installed in areas that don't need a real central heating system.

I think they're mostly installed in areas where there's an installer who specializes in them.

A few weeks ago, I looked at a 6,800 square foot house, half of which was heated by a hydro-air system. The water heaters (two of them) were made by Bradford White while the air handler and coil were made by State. The water heaters were from 1996 and the air handler from 1999, so I suspect that this was originally an Apollo system in which all of the Apollo parts have simply been replaced.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Yes, there is one contractor that services all of the units in this building and he gave me the quote. Yes, I plan to call him but I wanted to do some background research first. Maybe it does include the AC. Lets say $6000 is legitimate but doesn't include the AC. Do I want to pay this and then also have to buy a new AC in a few years in a rental? My AC is about 10 years old. At this point, if it will save me a few grand to just put a "normal" heater, I'll do so, even that includes a new AC.

I'm just not sure what I'm getting for $6000, it will take years for it to pay for itself. It's not like we use the heater in CA all the time, just mainly to get the chill out of the air or for unusually cold days.

I'll post what I find out.

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Yes, there is one contractor that services all of the units in this building and he gave me the quote.

Maybe he needs a little competition.

Yes, I plan to call him but I wanted to do some background research first. Maybe it does include the AC. Lets say $6000 is legitimate but doesn't include the AC. Do I want to pay this and then also have to buy a new AC in a few years in a rental? My AC is about 10 years old. At this point, if it will save me a few grand to just put a "normal" heater, I'll do so, even that includes a new AC.

I'm just not sure what I'm getting for $6000, it will take years for it to pay for itself. It's not like we use the heater in CA all the time, just mainly to get the chill out of the air or for unusually cold days.

I'll post what I find out.

I can't express an opinion about the price unless I know what it includes. $6,000 doesn't seem out of line for an all new heating & ac system. However, if he's just proposing replacing the air handler & pump, it seems like a very high number.

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  • 3 months later...

hey just joined this forum cuz i googled apollo hydroheat in search of a tankless hydro heat system to save even more money and cant find find anything for a apollo system. any clue if thats out there? I personally have worked on and replaced many apollo systems at my job doing maintenance at a 630 apt complex that all the apts run off of apollo heat and ac, so if any1 needs a question answered about em i have rebuilt em from the ground up

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I think Jim K. could put up an Apollo HydroHeat web site and charge a registration fee for folks wanting to post questions.

I've never seen one. I'm guessing they're mostly installed in areas that don't need a real central heating system.

They had a pretty good run here in Richmond. We do see cold temps now and then, and I've never heard anyone complain about their performance.

I haven't seen them in new home construction for several years, though. I guess that says it all.

The only problem I ever witnessed with one was polybutylene distribution lines, which failed and made a heck of a mess.

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