Hybrid Water Heater FAQ
Can I install a hybrid water heater myself?
It is recommended that Hybrid Water Heaters should only be installed by a licensed plumbing contractor who has been certified to install this type of advanced technology. This is also required to comply with the manufacturers warranty.
What set point will give me the most energy savings?
The published energy savings for hybrid water heater is calculated using a 135 °F set point. Settings below this will achieve greater energy savings. The average set point for households is 125 °F, which in my opinion is still too hot because it can scald. My preferred set point for maximum saving and comfort is therefore around 115 °F.
By reducing the set point to this level, together with good management of how water use will result in maximum savings.
What are the realistic savings that I can expect from a heat pump water heater?
Extensive testing has been done on the savings that can be achieved when using a hybrid water heater. Most published results, including ENERGY STAR show savings of $300 – $360 per year per 3 person household and almost $500 per year for a four person household. However, in reality this depends on how the appliance is managed, where it is located, the prevailing climate and also the number of people living in the home.
How can I increase the savings potential of my hybrid water heater?
In my opinion, the most important cost saving variable is how the hot water usage is managed. An example of this would be spacing usage times apart to aid recovery and limit the use of the conventional backup feature.
What is the payback?
The payback on a hybrid water heater can be 2-3 years or less depending on how it is managed and the other variables discussed above. However, it is a redundant question. The correct question is, “what is the payback compared to a conventional water heater, which offers zero savings?”.
Does a heat pump water heater really protect the environment?
According to studies done by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if everyone who bought a water heater in one year chose a hybrid water heater instead of a conventional heater, it would have the same effect as taking 1.6 million cars off the road and saving almost 20 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. So, the question is really answered by asking another question: How much are we adding to air pollution by buying standard water heaters instead of heat pump water heaters?
What is the expected recovery rate of a hybrid water heater?
At an ambient temperature of 68°F, a good quality hybrid water heater can reheat about 8 gallons of water per hour. To put this into perspective, a conventional, two element electric water heater can re-heat approximately 22 gallons per hour and an average shower uses 14 gallons. On some models, the recovery rate can be increased by activating a high demand feature when needed.
What if the ambient temperature is very low?
A hybrid water heater doesn’t work at temperatures below 45°F. At that low temperature, the electric resistance heaters will kick in and take over. A solution to this problem is to locate the water heater in a more protective location where the air is warmer or in the heated living area of a home.
How should a hybrid water heater be maintained?
In order to enjoy the full benefits, proper functioning and long term use of a Hybrid Electric Water Heater, it is important to ensure that periodic maintenance is carried out. Here is a summary of what needs to be done:
The air filter should be checked and replaced if necessary.
The condensate pan should be checked for standing water, which could indicate problems with condensate lines, plumbing or the condensate pan.
All pipes should be checked for leaks.
The tank should be drained to remove any buildup of sediment.
The temperature and pressure release valve should be checked to see that it is working properly.
If any problems are detected, then I recommend that you call a licensed plumber to take care of it.
This is a PDF copy of the full maintenance instructions and a troubleshooting checklist for the American Water Heaters HPE10280h045DV Hybrid Residential Electric Heat Pump, 80 Gallon.
How much energy does a hybrid water heater save?
How much energy a hybrid water heater saves, depends on the brand and most of all, where it is located and how it is managed.
For example, a hybrid hot water heater that is located within the cool air conditioned space of a home in a warm climate is going to be less efficient than one that is located in a warm, unconditioned and humid garage or utility room.
Also, homeowners that take long frequent showers will cause their hybrid hot water heater to heat the water via the resistance element heater for a longer time instead of via the heat pump. Both of the above two scenarios will result in higher energy usages and costs.
With regards to the brands, let’s hear what GE Electric has to say about the savings that can be made with their GeoSpring hybrid water heater:
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