GE GeoSpring
Hybrid Water Heater Review

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How GE GeoSpring hybrid water heater can save you money on water heating. A review of GeoSpring GEH50DNSRSA advantages and highlights such as the hybrid water heating, high efficiency and Energy Star approval...

Why GeoSpring

GE GeoSpring is the hybrid water heater that combines electric and heat pump technologies for the ultra-efficient water heating. 

GeoSpring is a free standing, tank-type unit that comes with the most popular tank size of 50 gallons. When compared to the traditional 50-gallon electric tank-type unit, the heat pump provides more hot water for much less money.

GE heat pump is an ideal solution for water heating if you leave in the area that uses electricity only, with no propane or natural gas available or installed.

How it works

ge heat pumpThe GE GeoSpring uses the evaporator and two fans to pull the warm surrounding air in and the compressor to increase the temperature of the refrigerant inside. The refrigerant with the high temperature is then moved through the coils that wrap around the tank, and it heats the surrounding cold water located in the tank.

The heat pump actually works as the AC but in reverse. The water heater also utilizes two heating elements to increase the water temperature during the high demand. When the heat pump is OFF the unit works as the electric water heater, in the electric mode.

The best location for installing the heat pump is in the attic or garage, so you won't hear the unit running, plus the recommended volume of the room should be 700 sq. feet. Furthermore, most of the benefits you will get if you live in the warmer area.

For the safe and reliable work, it is required to use the dedicated electrical circuit of 30 Amps and 220/240 V and perform the regular maintenance such as the filter cleaning and condensate removal.

GeoSpring vs. electric

When you check my review of the standard tank-type water heaters, you will see that they use one or two heating elements, that usually consumes 4500 kW of electricity. The GE GeoSpring on the other side uses the heat pump as the primary source, and it consumes only 550 Watts of the electricity and utilize two heating elements if you need faster water heating (when the higher recovery is needed).

If you check out the yellow EnergyGuide label you will see that the estimated operating cost per annum is $520 for the traditional type vs. $195 for the hybrid water heater, or usage of 4879 kW vs. 1830 kW (based on the rate of approximately 10.65 cents, but it depends on the actual energy rate and use).

This is the only electric water heater that is Energy Star qualified.

Top features, pros and cons

Control panel

geospring control panelAt the front of the water heater is a control panel which allows you to adjust the temperature and operating mode to optimize the energy savings. The temperature settings is within the range from 100 to 140 F with the increments of
3 F.

The UP and DOWN button lets you adjust the temperature which can be seen on the LCD display (in F or C).

There are five operating modes:

  • Heat pump as the most efficient mode providing you the greatest savings.

  • Hybrid mode utilizes both the heat pump and the electric elements for faster recovery.

  • High demand, very useful if you have guests. This mode is similar to the Hybrid, but the heat element runs longer and heat water faster.

  • Electric only is the standard mode which is recommended in cold situations when the heat pump efficiency is low.

  • Vacation - helps you save the energy when you are away. By using the UP or DOWN button you can select the number of days you will be away. The temperature of water can be set to 50 F which not only saves the energy but prevents the unit from freezing during the colder days.

There is also a filter indicator light which will let you know when the filter needs cleaning.

The anode rod

The GE offers a long warranty of 10 years, mainly because of the heavy-duty anode rod, which is used to protect the metal tank from corrosive water action. Also, as most of the high-efficient water heaters, GeoSpring is wrapped in the thick 2" foam insulation so it can keep the heat longer inside, while reducing the stand-by heat loss.

Drawbacks

One of the disadvantages is definitely an upfront price which is approximately $1200-$1500 vs. few hundred bucks for the electric unit. This is a regular price you can usually find in Sears, Lowe's or into GE website, but it can be lower, depends on the deals, federal tax credit option or utility company rebates.

Also, the GE GeoSpring heat pump is louder than the electric unit, and this is one of the frequent complaints. The noise is coming from the fan that moves the air through the system and the compressor, and according to the specs., the noise level is 58 dB. Since the heat pump takes the warm surrounding air it has to discharge the cold air. This is why it is recommended to install the unit in places where it is warmer, such as the attic or in the same room as the furnace.

The heat pump is not equipped with the self-cleaning system, a specially designed dip tube that creates the turbulent water flow, so the unit is prone to sediment build-up.

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Product highlights and benefits

  • 62% savings, plus rebates.

  • 2.4 energy factor ratings.

  • Energy Star.

  • Smart technology.

  • Popular 50-gallon tank that fits in the similar footprint as the standard type and is recommended for a family of four.
  • Easy installation, uses the existing water and electric connections from the old electric model.

  • Made in USA (Louisville, KY).
  • 10-year warranty.

Keep in mind that the water heaters are the second highest energy users in homes, so stop wasting your money and start using the high-efficient products for hot water.

The GE GeoSpring heat pump provides the same amount of hot water as the traditional type, but for a fraction of cost, and the installation is as simple. According to GE, the heat pump uses up to 62% less energy than conventional type, and with the 10-year warranty savings are over $3000. When you combine these savings with the rebates from the utility company and federal/state tax breaks, the unit pays for itself in 2 to 4 years.

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Picture is courtesy of GE company

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