Explore American heat pumps water heaters, also called hybrids, designed to use electric and heat pump technologies for heating potable water. Check out our detailed review below, including models, top features, and benefits.
American heat pumps are tank-type electric appliances that provide the most effective way for hot water production in residential applications. The energy efficiency is more than three times higher than the conventional electric models, even higher than some of the competitor’s heat pumps.
According to the American water heater manufacturer, the heat pump can reduce water costs up to 73%, which is several hundred dollars per year just in savings, and the payback period is 2-3 years. These are some of the reasons why this technology is called “green” and approved as Energy Star unit.
The American company offers 3 sizes and two warranty terms of six and ten years. Hybrids come in capacities of 50, 66, and 80 gallons. Those models with a 10-year warranty are designed with the maximum efficiency - UEF of 3.45, while units with a 6-year warranty have the efficiency of 3.35, 3.42, and 3.45.
American heat pumps are equipped with 850 W compressors filled with the environment-friendly refrigerant, external coil heat exchanger, and a fan. The elements are integrated into the top of the unit and designed to help absorb more heat from the surrounding air and effectively transfer it to the water.
This is how the heat pump works, and if there is additional heat needed, heating elements are activated. There are two heating elements made of copper; the lower element with the 2000 W of power and the upper one with 4500 W, both with the dry fire protection feature, so there is no activation and breakage if the tank is not full of water.
The system uses advanced electronics to control and monitor the heating process with easy programmability. The electronic user interface consists of the LCD touch panel and a display to easily set and change the temperature of hot water, check the status, see if there are problems, and other info.
The temperature is shown in F or C and can be set in the range from 95 F to 140 F (50-gallon models), or 150 F (for 66 and 80-gal models). The error codes are displayed as textual info and are saved in the system memory for future use.
Another great feature, called SmartPort, takes advantage of smartphones and tablets to connect the unit to home management and the smart utility 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). This type of an anode rod is not sacrificial because it doesn't deteriorate over time. It also cuts the time spent on maintenance and service while reducing the chances of rotten egg smell and discolored water issues.
There is an air filter at the top of the unit that helps 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 a capacity of 50, 66, and 80 gallons that allow more hot water for homes with high hot water demand. At the same time, it lets the heat pump work more often than heating elements, reducing energy consumption - significantly.
The highest first hour rates are reached when the units operate in hybrid modes; 66, 79, and 86 gallons per hour.
Models are recommended for average and large-size homes.
American heat pumps offer great savings to their owners, including a variety of options, such as setting up one of the four operating modes:
The Efficiency mode uses the heat pump for water heating and heating elements if needed. This is the mode where the highest UEF of 3.45 can be achieved.
The Hybrid mode uses either a heat pump or electric elements, depending on the heat requirements or demand.
In the Electric mode, the water heater only uses the heating elements, while the heat pump is turned off.
The Vacation mode is used only in the extended absence and up to 99 days; to reduce the operation cost and protect the unit from freezing. The water tank maintains a temperature of 60 F.
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 and mainly in utility rooms, basements, and garages. This is where it can take advantage of the warm air generated by other sources, such as the furnace.
American hybrids are ideal solutions for large homes if homeowners prefer electricity over natural gas and milder areas. They are expensive but save a lot. According to the manufacturer, the annual operational costs can go as high as $173. They have an ultra-high UEF rating of 3.45 and provide a sufficient amount of hot water to 3 simultaneous showers with a maximum shower time of close to one hour.