The AO Smith Voltex Hybrid Electric Water Heater model PHPT-80 is the latest of the high efficiency heat pump water heaters to become available. Heat pumps offer heating with exceptionally low cost because they do not make heat but instead transfer it from one place to another using a reverse refrigeration process.
The AO Smith Voltex uses a heat pump to pump heat from the ambient air into the water in the tank yielding an Energy Factor of 2.3 when heating in the efficiency and hybrid modes of operation and a Coefficient of Performance (COP) of 3.1, which means they meet the Energy Star requirements for rebates under the Appliance Stimulus Package, and Income Tax Credits of 30% up to $1500. These rebates and tax credits are a direct result of the government promoting energy saving products and stimulating the economy.
The AO Smith Voltex Hybrid Electric Water Heater model PHPT-80 is an 80-gallon heat pump water heater, which uses an 850-watt compressor to pump the R-134A refrigerant through the heat pump system. The heat exchanger coil and compressor are mounted on top of the unit pulling heat from the air in the room then sends the heat down to another heat exchanger coil wrapped around the tank which heats the water in the tank. The heat pump exhausts cool air into the room and also removes humidity from the air passing through it acting as a dehumidifier, so a condensate drain is required as part of the installation. The AO Smith Voltex PHPT-80 also has two incoloy heating elements, which can heat the water like a typical electric water heater. The upper element is a 4,500-watt element and the lower element is a 2,000-watt element.
The AO Smith Voltex Hybrid Electric Water Heater model PHPT-80 has four heating modes, which can be set by the owner. The Voltex has a control panel with an LCD screen that shows the set point, mode/status, heat pump on, elements on, level of efficiency, and whether the control panel is locked or, not. The Efficiency Mode utilizes only the heat pump for heating the water. The heat pump has an effective use range of 45-degrees F (7.22C) to 109-degrees F (42.8C), if the ambient temperature is out of that range or, hot water usage is higher than the heat pump can produce the hybrid mode should be selected. The Hybrid Mode can utilize both the heat pump and the electric elements to heat the water. In the hybrid mode the heat pump is the primary method used to heat the water but when the demand exceeds a preset level the elements will turn on to help meet the increased demand. The Electric Mode when selected has the water heater operate as a conventional electric water heater with only the elements providing hot water. The Voltex also has a Vacation Mode where the water heater will maintain a temperature of 60-degrees F (15.6C) for use when hot water will not be used for an extended period of time and to prevent freezing damage to the unit.
The AO Smith Voltex Hybrid Electric Water Heater model PHPT-80 has a first hour delivery of 70-gallons in the efficiency mode, 84-gallons in hybrid mode, and 76-gallons in the electric mode. AO Smith recommends installation in a room with 1,000 cu. ft. of size with free airflow in and out of the unit. When a condensate pump is used there is a condensate pump wiring loop that can be connected to a float switch on the condensate pump which when activated by a failed pump will cause the heat pump to shut off and “Condensate Drain Alarm” to display on the control panel. The Voltex has an easy to remove washable air filter, a powered anode rod, brass drain valve, two inches of non-cfc foam insulation, and a factory installed T&P valve. The AO Smith Voltex Hybrid Electric Water Heater model PHPT-80 is supplied with a 10-Year Limited Warranty.