How the hybrid technology, found in AO Smith Voltex water heaters delivers the great benefits and lots of savings. This article reviews the positives and negatives found in the heat pumps from AO Smith.
The Voltex hybrid is the electric water heater that utilizes the heat pump integrated into the top of the tank. The heat pump technology is used as the primary source for high efficient water heating, while the set of two electric heating elements for faster recovery.
The combined, hybrid water heating is what makes these heaters ultra efficient while the increased storage enables plenty of hot water during the high demand. Such a design brings the operating costs down, which is approximately 60% in energy savings.
The major difference between the AO Smith and its competitors is that Voltex is built in two sizes, which are with the greater capacity than the GE GeoSpring or Rheem HP40RH and HP50RH.
AO Smith electric heat pumps are available in tank sizes of 60 gallons as the PHPT-60 model and 80 gallons or PHPT-80 model, both models with up to 2.4 in energy factor, EF and Energy Star approved.
According to the manufacturer, the Voltex provides savings of approximately $350 per annum or $3500 during the provided warranty of 10 years.
AO Smith Voltex comes with the four operating modes to maximize the efficiency, savings and is used for different hot water demand:
High efficiency mode uses both technologies when it is needed for full power and maximum efficiency.
Hybrid - the water heater utilizes the heat pump for efficiency and heating elements for faster recovery during the high hot water demand.
Electric - this is the mode when only heating elements operate. It is recommended to use the electric-power heating during the periods of cold weather as the heat pump operates with the min. efficiency. Backup electric elements consist of the lower 2 kW and upper 4.5 kW elements, both protected from dry firing.
Vacation - is the mode used during the period of your absence. This is when the unit is more inactive than active, which reduces the operating costs to the minimum while protecting it during the cold freezing days.
AO Smith Voltex is the green product, it uses the environment-friendly refrigerant and has high efficient heating, and is meant for family sizes of four and up. The heat pumps can provide the same amount of hot water as the traditional tank-type model but for less money.
Another great element that is installed in Voltex heat pumps is the non-sacrificial powered anode rod, which protect the metal tank from corrosion while extending its life.
AO Smith uses the computerized system that makes the usage more convenient, reliable and safer.
By using the control panel, push-buttons and its large LCD display you will have an access to the diagnostics system with the error codes, temperature control, mode selection and other useful features.
On the LCD display, you can see the heating element or heat-pump functioning icon, set temperature in C or F, the efficiency status, mode indicator and the panel lock icon.
There are two the main complaints I have found in user reviews about AO Smith Voltex; the noise and the high upfront cost.The complaint about the noise was coming from the users whose heat pump was installed either in the closet or attached garage, close to the bedroom. As for the other negative complain, yes the units are expensive but according to the manufacturer and presented savings, it seems that the unit pays for itself in two to four years.
AO Smith Voltex heat pump is an ideal choice for larger families, where the electricity is the only power source. It is more expensive than the electric unit, but it is also more than twice as efficient and is usually eligible for all kinds of savings, such as the utility company rebates or federal tax breaks. This is the only electric water heater that comes with the increase thermal efficiency and Energy Star approval.
It takes the same footprint as the standard models and the installation is as easy. It can be very beneficial if installed in rooms with higher temperature (attic, technical room with a furnace or boiler) as it is cooling and dehumidifying the surrounding air. According to the manufacturer and based on the usage, the Voltex can pay for itself in few years.
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Pictures - courtesy of AO Smith company