The Best Heat Pump Water Heaters of 2010 are models on opposite ends of hybrid water heater design theory. One heat pump water heater design is relying heavily on the heat pump to provide the water heating with a small electric immersion element to provide additional heating and the other design relies less heavily on the heat pump with the same electric immersion elements that a conventional electric water heater has.
Which is the best heat pump water heater for you depends largely on where you live and the temperatures you face. Heat pumps produce well down to temperatures about 40 F and after that rely on electric elements to heat the water. In the southernmost areas of the US the heat pump will produce hot water almost year round probably 90 – 100% of the year. Moving north into the middle of the country and up the coasts where the oceans help regulate the winter temperatures heat pumps will work well about 80% of the year. Finally in the northern United States the heat pump will be productive in about 60% of the year forcing a reliance on other means of producing hot water.
When you take the different regions into consideration when you choose a “Hybrid Electric” or, Heat Pump Water Heater your best choice becomes a decision you have to make on what water heater will perform best in your area, with the heat pump offering the most economical operation, and the electric elements offering the highest production of hot water even in colder weather and climates. While the heat pump offers the highest economy, the recovery is slower so in order to make up for the slower production, storage capacity requires increasing to meet demands. Heat pump units that rely heavily on the heat pump will realize the highest Energy Factor, but they will work best in only the warmer climates. The best Hybrid Electric units in cooler climates will have equal capabilities with the heat pump and electric elements using either one or, both to optimize production and economy depending on ambient temperature and hot water usage.
The Best “Electric Hybrid” Heat Pump Water Heaters for 2010 are:
- The Stiebel Eltron Accelera 300 which features an 80-gallon storage tank with the heat pump providing the bulk of the water heating and a single 1700-watt electric element providing backup and additional capacity. The Accelera 300 provides a high 1st hour delivery of 78-gallons with an Energy Factor of 2.5 and will offer the highest possible heat pump usage being the top choice on the warmer southern climate and giving you the maximum possible savings, in fact the Accelera 300 is the only heat pump water heater that can operate on a 15-amp circuit. The Stiebel Eltron Accelera 300 has a 10-Year Warranty.
- The GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater by GE features a 50-gallon storage tank with a heat pump and two 4500-watt electric elements that can be either user selected in different modes of operation or, when hybrid mode is selected the most efficient method or, combination of methods will be used to heat the water for your needs with an Energy Factor of 2.35 and a 63-gallon 1st hour delivery. The GeoSpring by GE is one of the models that is better suited to operate in the cooler climate if the middle to northern states. GE lists two model #’s for this water heater GEH50DNSRA and GEH50DXSRGA. The GeoSpring 1-Year Limited Warranty with parts and labor, and a 10-Year Limited Parts Warranty.
- The Rheem Hybrid Electric Water Heater also features a Heat Pump with a 50-gallon storage tank and two 4500-watt elements with user selected modes of operation that for heat pump only, electric elements only and a normal mode where the water heater selects the most economical method or, combination of methods to heat your hot water with an Energy Factor of 2.0 and a first hour delivery of 67-gallons. The Rheem is also better suited to operation in the middle to northern states with a cooler climate. The Rheem HP-50RH is supplied with a 10-Year Limited Warranty.
Heat pump water heaters are an excellent choice for replacement of electric water heaters offering an energy savings of about $300 per year for the average family according to Energy Star. Heat Pump Water Heaters are also eligible for a variety of rebates and tax credits, which you should check on when considering purchasing and installing one. These rebates and tax credits can offset a portion of the purchase and installation costs putting your money back into your pocket faster.