Coordinating Public Policy And Private Industry
However, none of this guarantees that a multiyear investment in designing, manufacturing and marketing a brand-new product line will pay off for manufacturers.
This technology, like any emerging technology, was experiencing this chicken-and-egg problem, Khanolkar said. Without a real product, the utilities would not provide incentives to cover the extra upfront cost for heat pump water heaters compared to gas-fueled versions. And without the demand generated by incentives, manufacturers would not fully invest in the product.
Thats why the Building Decarbonization Coalition chose to engage early in 2018 with Rheem and other water heater makers on getting prepared for Californias electrification policy push, Bartholomy said. They saw that there were the right people at the table who were going to ensure that the policy changes would be made and that the program would be deployed in a way that would ensure the demand would be there for them.
Californias ongoing policy actions helped keep up the confidenceto stick with the project, he added. Those policies included heat pump incentive programs aimed at contractors as well as homeowners, along with a statewide building code that set heat pump water heaters as the standard for efficiency.
Manufacturers typically operate on five-year cycles, he said. How can you build trust and act on the market and policy changes that are necessary to give them confidence to move forward?
The Best Heat Pump Hybrid Water Heater
Replacing your water heater is an overwhelming decision and one that can be difficult to plan for. From an electric water heater, to a tankless water heater, to a hybrid hot water heater, and more, there are many options out there. But its a decision that could save youor cost youthousands of dollars down the line. In fact, switching to a hybrid water heater can save you as much as $4,800 over the next 10 years.
We spent hundreds of hours looking for the best heat pump water heater on the market when we wrote our buyers guide. Read below to see our heat pump water heater reviews and what models we liked best.
Summary Of The Ao Smith Hybrid Water Heater
AN AO Smith hybrid water heater is an ideal choice for bigger families, where electricity can be used as a power source. Although these models tend to be more expensive than electric-only models, they are more efficient, resulting in substantial energy cost savings.
Depending on your location, you may also be eligible for federal tax breaks and/or utility company rebates. AO Smith hybrid water heaters are the only models that have Energy Star approval and have increased thermal efficiency.
Its footprint is similar to standard models from various manufacturers, and installation is fairly straightforward. It can provide an added benefit when installed in a space with a higher temperature, such as attics, or technical rooms with furnaces or boilers, as it cools and dehumidifies the surrounding air.
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Blue Diamond Glass Lined Tank
This water heater comes with a special glass-lined tank. This lining offers the protection against tank corrosion and increases the life of the water heater and it is achieved through a specialized fusion process.
The tanks are designed to pass 100,000 cycle fatigue test. This makes it one of the best tanks resistant to rust and scaling.
A O Smith Introduces The Industrys Most Efficient Heat Pump Water Heater
A. O. Smith, a leader in water heating and water treatment, announces the introduction of the Voltex® AL hybrid electric heat pump water heater to its family of residential products. This unit brings to market a first-of-its-kind water heating solution with integrated leak detection, smart connectivity, and updated water connections for professionals and homeowners seeking a highly efficient, intuitive, and user-friendly product.
The Voltex AL model leads the water heating industry in efficiency, featuring the highest overall Uniform Energy Factor of 4.02 with the 66-gallon unit and the highest 50-gallon UEF at 3.8. It is also available in an 80-gallon model. The unit can save homeowners up to $521 per year on utility bills when compared to a standard electric water heater. ENERGY STAR® certified, the product also allows homeowners to take advantage of rebates and tax credits for additional savings.
Heat pump water heaters continue to play an important role in decarbonization and efficiency efforts, and A. O. Smith is committed to the development of these technologies, said Arthur Smith, A. O. Smith Product Coordinator. The Voltex AL heat pump water heater not only provides contractors and technicians with increased installation and maintenance flexibility, but it also supports our commitment to homeowners who are looking for additional energy and cost savings.
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Other Heat Pump Water Heaters We Reviewed
In addition to the heat pump water heaters we reviewed above, we also looked at the following models.
- Energy factor: 3.75
- Annual cost: $125
- Warranty length: 10 years
Stiebel Eltron is a German hot water heater manufacturer known for their high quality. But when we reviewed their heat pump model we found little reason to justify the $2,499 cost.
At an energy factor of 3.05 it is less efficient than Rheem, AO Smith and Bradford Whites models.
The only reason we could come up with is its pretty cool looking. I mean look at that beauty.
Ao Smith Gas Water Heaters
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Hybrid Electric Heat Pump Tank Water Heaters
Providing a high-efficiency, energy-savings water heating solution for your home
A. O. Smith high-efficiency hybrid electric heat pump water heaters provide an energy-efficient and innovative water heating solution for your home. They are engineered to offer premium features, including a user-friendly display, vacation mode, and a heavy-duty anode that protects your tank. Select models are equipped with IoT capabilities, allowing you to monitor and control your water heater from anywhere.
Our Favorite: Rheem Performance Platinum
We looked at every heat pump hybrid hot water heater on the market and our favorite is the Rheem Performance Platinum.
Lowest upfront cost
Rheem vs. AO Smith: The Rheem Performance Platinum is the cheapest heat pump water heater on the market at $1,672 for a 40 gallon tank and $1,699 for a 50 gallon tank. Thats $127 cheaper than the AO Smith Signature Premier and $383 cheaper than the Bradford White AeroTherm.
But for that extra $127 and $383 neither the AO Smith or the Bradford White come with any additional features. In fact, Bradford Whites AeroTherm model is less energy efficient and noisier than the Rheem.
Highest energy efficiency
If you look at the energy efficiency of these models youll see that the Rheem heat pump water heater wins on that front as well. Their Performance Platinum model has an energy factor of 3.75 compared to AO Smiths 3.45 and Bradford Whites 3.39. That will lead to savings of about $10-15 per year. Thats nothing to write home about. But considering the Rheem is also the cheapest model, its the best bang for your buck.
Quietest background noise
The Rheem Performance Platinum is also known for being the quietest heat pump water heater on the market. It runs at 49 dB compared to AO Smiths 51 dB and Bradford Whites 55 dB.
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How Does A Heat Pump Water Heater Work
Heat pump water heaters use electricity to move heat from one place to another rather than generating their own heat like a traditional electric water heater. This makes them two to three times more efficient, according to the Department of Energy . Think of a heat pump water heater as a refrigerator working in reverse.
- A refrigerator pulls heat from inside a box and dumps it out into whatever room it’s in.
- An electric pump water heater pulls heat from the surrounding air and dumps it, at a higher temperature, into a tank to heat water.
Heat pump water heaters are sometimes called hybrid water heaters because, during periods of high hot water use, they can switch to standard electric resistance heat automatically. You can use your units control panel to set the water heater to various settings, including hybrid mode. If you dont want it to switch over automatically, simply set it to the regular heat pump mode.
Many control panels have multiple settings and modes to maximize energy savings. If both of your kids are showering at the same time in different bathrooms while youre running the dishwasher, you can switch it to High-demand or Hybrid mode to get adequate hot water. Hybrid mode is the most energy efficient mode for daily use.
Money Saving Heat Pump Flexibility
The Voltex series of water heaters have four operating modes that help maximize savings and efficiency. These modes are used for different climates and hot water demand scenarios:
Hybrid mode The water heater will use the heat pump for efficiency, while the heating elements will be utilized to cater for high hot water demand to provide faster recovery.
High-Efficiency mode The water heater will only use the heat pump for water heating, thereby providing maximum efficiency.
Vacation mode This operating mode is used during periods with little or no demand for hot water, like being on vacation. During this time, the unit will be more inactive than active, and it will reduce the operating costs to a minimum, while still protecting the heater against freezing on cold days and nights.
Electric mode In this mode, only the heating elements are used. During periods of extreme cold, it is recommended that only the electric powered heating elements are used, as the heat pump is not very efficient during such times.
The AO Smith hybrid water heater contains two electric elements an upper 4.5 kW element and a lower 2 kW element. Both of these elements are protected against dry firing.
Voltex water heaters by AO Smith are classified as green products. Not only do they use environmentally friendly refrigerant, but they also provide high efficient heating, resulting in less waste.
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Why Is The Ao Smith Hybrid Water Heater Better
The Voltex series of hybrid water heaters use both a heat pump that is integrated into the top of the tank and electric heating elements. The primary method used for heating water efficiently is via the heat pump, while two electric heating elements are used for faster hot water recovery and as a backup.
The models in the HPTU series are capable of using dual voltages, enabling them to operate using either 240 volts or 208 volts.
The combination hybrid water heating system makes the AO Smith heat pump water heaters ultra-efficient, while the added storage allows for plenty of hot water to be supplied in high demand scenarios. This type of design reduces operating costs dramatically and the Voltex range can achieve energy savings of up to 70%.
The main difference between Voltex water heaters from AO Smith and water heaters from other manufacturers is that they are available in three sizes, while most others are only available in one size. The Voltex range also utilizes higher capacity storage tanks than what the main competitors such as Rheem and the GeoSpring from GE do.
AO Smith electric heat pumps are available with tank sizes of 80, 66, and 50 gallons, making it possible to serve up to 5 showers used at the same time. With a maximum energy factor of 3.42, these units are extremely efficient and are Energy Star approved.
According to AO Smith, Voltex water heaters can provides energy cost savings of around $350 per annum, or $3,500 during the warranty period of 10 years.
How Do Hybrid Electric Heat Pump Tank Water Heaters Work
Hybrid electric heat pump tank water heaters are built to be the most efficient tank water heater on the market. Engineered to utilize your homes electricity along with heat pump technology, the A. O. Smith line of hybrid heat pumps provide up to a 3.45Uniform Energy Factor rating, which conserves energy and isENERGY STAR® certified.
A fan at the top of the hybrid electric heat pump tank water heater pulls air from the surrounding space through an evaporator. Refrigerant in the evaporator absorbs heat from the air. The refrigerant runs through a compressor, which raises the temperature and pressure. Finally, the heated refrigerant is passed through the condenser coil around the tank and transfers the heat to the water. So, rather than using only the electricity in your home to heat the water, A. O. Smith hybrid heat pump water heaters utilize heat within your home to heat the water in your tank.
With A. O. Smith hybrid electric heat pump technology, you can save energy costs within your home. The heat pump uses heat available in your home to minimize operating costs, which can save you hundreds of dollars annually compared to a standard tank electric water heater.
A. O. Smith hybrid electric heat pump water heaters are built with an innovative anode to make sure your water can continue heating within your home quickly and efficiently. A. O. Smith also offers models with 6- to 10-year limited warranty options.
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Ao Smith Hybrid Water Heater: Best Money Saving Heat Pump
The Voltex AO Smith hybrid water heater uses hybrid technology to deliver massive savings and excellent benefits to homeowners.
These benefits include water heating, as well as dehumidifying and cooling the surrounding air.
In this article, well review both the positives and the negatives of the Voltex heat pumps manufactured by AO Smith.
This Is The Most Popular Size
Runner Up: Ao Smith Signature Premier
In our opinion the second best heat pump water heater is AO Smiths Signature Premier.
When we first published this review in 2020, AO Smiths heat pump water heaters tied Rheem for the cheapest model. But since then AO Smith got more expensive than the Rheem.
AO Smiths 50 gallon model starts at $1,799, which is $127 more than the Rheem. But AO Smiths heat pump water heater is $256 cheaper than Bradford Whites heat pump water heater reviewed below.
Looking at the energy efficiency, an AO Smith hybrid water heater comes in second with an energy factor of 3.45 .
Now its worth mentioning that the difference between an energy factor of 3.75 and 3.45 isnt huge. If your plumber loves AO Smith, its probably not worth harassing them to install a Rheem. But it will result in a bit higher energy bill .
Second quietest background noise
Background noise is another important consideration for heat pump water heaters. And here the AO Smith also comes in second at 51 dB.
Again, the difference between 51 and 49 dB isnt very big. So its probably not worth picking the Rheem over the AO Smith just because its 2 dB quieter. But compared to the Bradford White, the AO Smith is 4 dB quieter. That difference isnt massive either. But considering the Bradford White is more expensive, its worth going with the quieter option.
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Customer Reviews Of The Ao Smith Heat Pump Water Heater
In general, the customer reviews for these hybrid water heaters are positive and customers are happy with their quality, longevity, performance and cost savings.
Two of the complaints found in customer reviews of the AO Smith Voltex are high upfront costs and the noise.
While it is true that the units are relatively expensive compared to other models, the unit will pay for itself in about two to four years, based on information supplied by the manufacturer and energy saving claims.
The noise complaint was mostly made by users who had the AO Smith heat pump water heater installed either in a garage, or in a closet close to the bedroom.
Another customer was surprised that the energy savings in winter was much less than they has expected. Closer investigation revealed that they lived on the border between colder and warmer climates, resulting in the unit switching over to electric mode more often than they had expected. The heat pump mode is more efficient, but only when the outside temperature is not too cold. His advice was to install the unit in a garage rather that outdoors to maximize the efficiency.
Interestingly enough, one customer complained about how long it took for the hot water to reach the shower. This is a function of the length of water pipes between the heater and the appliance, and it would be the same for traditional tank-type models.
Split System Heat Pumps
Its more efficient and less expensive to move heat than to create it. A.O. Smith commercial air and water source heat pumps draw heat energy from ambient air or available source water, saving 60% – 75% in energy costs compared with electric water heaters. A.O. Smith split system heat pumps are designed to be an all-electric, energy efficient, zero emissions solution for your water heating needs. Models are available from 60,000 to 2,000,000 BTU/h heating capacity to cover a wide range of commercial water heating applications.
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Benefits Of Hybrid Electric Heat Pump Tank Water Heaters
- Energy Savings
Hybrid electric heat pump water heaters use heat from the surrounding air to heat your water. This minimizes operating costs and maximizes savings.
- High Efficiency
A. O. Smith hybrid electric heat pumps have up to a 3.45 UEF and are ENERGY STAR® certified.
- Long Lasting
Hybrid electric heat pump tank water heaters are built with innovative technology and are paired with a 6- to 10-year limited warranty to provide years of hot water for your home.