American heat pumps are also called hybrid water heaters because of the use of two technologies for potable water heating; conventional electric and heat pump. Check out the detailed review below.
American heat pumps are tank-type appliances that provide the most effective way for hot water production in residential applications. The energy efficiency is more than twice (EF factor is 2.75) higher than on the conventional electric models, even higher than the competitor’s heat pumps.
According to the American Water Heater manufacturer, the heat pump can reduce water costs up to 66%, which is several hundred dollars per year, and the payback period is 2-3 years. These are some of the reasons why this technology is called green.
The American heat pumps are equipped with the 850 W compressors filled with the environment friendly refrigerant, external coil heat exchanger and fan; integrated into the top of the unit and working in absorbing the heat from surrounding air and transferring to water. This is how heat pump works, and if there is an additional heat needed, heating elements are activated. There are two elements made of copper; lower with 2000W and upper with 4500W both with the dry fire protection feature, so there is no activation if the tank is not full of water.
The system uses the advanced electronics to control and monitor the heating process with an easy programmability. Electronic user interface consist of the LCD touch panel and display so you can easily set and change the temperature of hot water, check the status, see if there is a problem and other info. The temperature is shown either in F or C and can be set in the range from 95F to 140F (50-gallon) or 150F (for 60 and 80-gal models), while the error codes are displayed as textual info, and are saved in the system memory for future use. There is another great feature, called SmartPort that takes advantage of the smart phones and tablets, so you can connect the unit to home management and utility smart grid.
The metal tank and other metal components are protected from corrosion as the system uses the powered anode made of aluminum (Al) and magnesium (Mg), an anode that is not sacrificial and it does not deteriorates over time. It also cuts the time spent on maintenance and service, while reducing the chances for rotten egg smell and discolored water issues. At the top of the unit there is an air filter that helps in filtering the surrounding air, plus it does not require frequent replacement as it is washable.
The unit uses the side inlet / outlet water and electrical connections for easy access and service.
The metal tanks have the capacity of 50, 60 and 80 gallons that allows more hot water for homes with the high hot water demand, and at the same time letting heat pump to work more often than heating elements, and therefore reduce the energy consumption greatly. The highest recovery rate is reached when the units operate in hybrid modes; 67.5, 68, 84 gallons per hour.
As said, the American heat pumps offer great savings to its owners, including variety of options, such as setting up one of the four operating modes:
Efficiency mode uses the heat pump for water heating and heating element if needed. This is the mode where the highest EF for 50- and 60-gallon units can be achieved.
Hybrid mode uses either heat pump or electric elements, depending on the heat requirement or demand. 80-gallon water heater has the highest energy factor in this mode, 2.33.
In the electric mode, the water heater uses the heating elements only, while the heat pump is turned off.
Vacation mode is used only in a case of the extended absence and up to 99 days; to reduce the operation cost and protect the unit from freezing. The water tank maintains the temperature of 60F.
The hybrid water heater footprint is almost the same as the electric unit, but the unit is higher. It is recommended for installation in milder climates mainly, and utility rooms, basements, garages where it can take advantage of warm air generated by the furnace, for example.
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Picture is courtesy of American Water Heating company