Kieran973
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:51 pm
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2019
Location: near NY, NY

Heat pump water heaters

Sat Dec 19, 2020 11:45 pm

Can anyone recommend a reliable heat pump water heater? They’re getting a lot of hype right now - some can supposedly use 1,000 - 2,000 kwh per year as opposed to a regular electric water heater which might use 4,000 - 5,000 kwh per year - but most also seem to be plagued with reliability issues: breaking after 1-3 years, etc. So does anyone on the forum have any experience with this?
current: Black 2019 SV Plus with all-weather package (purchased 5/20)
former: Silver 2019 SV with all-weather package (purchased 5/19; traded in 5/20 with 15,000 miles)

jjeff
Posts: 2209
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Re: Heat pump water heaters

Sun Dec 20, 2020 5:40 am

I don't have any experience with Heat Pump water heaters but about a year ago I replaced our 10-year-old 50g natural gas water heater with a 29-gallon high-performance water heater and couldn't be happier. Because it only has 29 gallons sitting around they say it's 17% more efficient than a standard 50g model and because it has a 60k BTU burner(about twice a normal water heater) you can take a shower all day. The only downside is if you're filling a large tub with your faucet on full bore, you could run out of hot water.
They aren't cheap compared to a regular water heater but are cheaper than a heat pump model.
Time will tell on it's longevity compared to a regular water heater but as it has a 12-year warranty I'm hoping it will last longer than our 10-year warranty old model that lasted just about 10 years before it started leaking.
https://www.menards.com/main/plumbing/w ... 727&ipos=5
Oh as it's a power vent model you need to plug it in, otherwise it was a direct replacement for our 50g model and it only comes in natural gas and probably propane.
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iPlug
Posts: 463
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:47 pm
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Location: Rocklin, CA

Re: Heat pump water heaters

Sun Dec 20, 2020 8:01 am

Best are Rheem and the relabeled brands they make. We've had ours a few years and it is wonderful. Have been following these for years, and no reliability issues that I am aware of to date.

https://www.rheem.com/products/resident ... ng/hybrid/

Home Depot carries them. Recommend you go one volume size higher than what you have currently if you want to run it in heat pump mode ~100% of the time.
'19 Model 3 SR+, '19 Leaf SV, '12 Plug-in Prius (sold 3/19), '16 Leaf SV (prior lease), 11.43kW Solar PV (16MWh/yr prod.), 20.5 SEER/13.0 HSPF ducted air-source HP, 3.70 UEF HPWH, Induction Cooktop, Variable Speed Pool Pump, Battery powered yard tools

Kieran973
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:51 pm
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2019
Location: near NY, NY

Re: Heat pump water heaters

Sun Dec 20, 2020 11:42 am

jjeff wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 5:40 am
I don't have any experience with Heat Pump water heaters but about a year ago I replaced our 10-year-old 50g natural gas water heater with a 29-gallon high-performance water heater and couldn't be happier. Because it only has 29 gallons sitting around they say it's 17% more efficient than a standard 50g model and because it has a 60k BTU burner(about twice a normal water heater) you can take a shower all day. The only downside is if you're filling a large tub with your faucet on full bore, you could run out of hot water.
They aren't cheap compared to a regular water heater but are cheaper than a heat pump model.
Time will tell on it's longevity compared to a regular water heater but as it has a 12-year warranty I'm hoping it will last longer than our 10-year warranty old model that lasted just about 10 years before it started leaking.
https://www.menards.com/main/plumbing/w ... 727&ipos=5
Oh as it's a power vent model you need to plug it in, otherwise it was a direct replacement for our 50g model and it only comes in natural gas and probably propane.
Thanks, and interesting - I didn’t know these existed. I have a 50 gallon natural gas water heater right now. But we just had solar put on, and the array produces about 4,000 more kwh per year than we’ve been using, so I’m looking for ways to electrify more things in the house - the main upcoming projects will be switching the water heater to electric (either heat pump or regular) and the heat to electric minisplits.
current: Black 2019 SV Plus with all-weather package (purchased 5/20)
former: Silver 2019 SV with all-weather package (purchased 5/19; traded in 5/20 with 15,000 miles)

Kieran973
Posts: 139
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:51 pm
Delivery Date: 30 Apr 2019
Location: near NY, NY

Re: Heat pump water heaters

Sun Dec 20, 2020 12:01 pm

iPlug wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 8:01 am
Best are Rheem and the relabeled brands they make. We've had ours a few years and it is wonderful. Have been following these for years, and no reliability issues that I am aware of to date.

https://www.rheem.com/products/resident ... ng/hybrid/

Home Depot carries them. Recommend you go one volume size higher than what you have currently if you want to run it in heat pump mode ~100% of the time.

Thanks, iPlug. I’m aware of and really like the Rheem models, and I was all set to have one installed this fall, but then I read some of the customer reviews on Home Depot’s webpage. There are a lot of angry customers giving 1 star reviews. The same goes for AO Smith heat pump water heaters at Lowe’s. The issue with both brands seems to be that things go wrong after 1-3 years with the anode rods, resistive heating elements, the heat pump itself, and/or the “smart” mode tech (which, when something goes wrong, can apparently shut the whole unit down). And even though some of these units are covered by 6-10 year warranties, this is for parts, not labor, so every time something breaks, you have to find and pay a local plumber to fix the problem (if you can even find someone who knows how to work on these). So don’t get me wrong - I think heat pump water heaters sound awesome in theory, and I’d really like to get one, but I don’t want to buy something that’s breaking all the time where suddenly my wife and 2 year old son have to take cold showers/baths for a week while Home Depot sends out replacement parts. To me, a reliable water heater is something that you can hook up and then never speak or think about again for 10 years. So I’ve been considering just getting a regular electric resistance water heater, despite the significant consumption penalty, if that means it will have Toyota Corolla level reliability for a decade.
current: Black 2019 SV Plus with all-weather package (purchased 5/20)
former: Silver 2019 SV with all-weather package (purchased 5/19; traded in 5/20 with 15,000 miles)

iPlug
Posts: 463
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:47 pm
Delivery Date: 25 Apr 2016
Location: Rocklin, CA

Re: Heat pump water heaters

Sun Dec 20, 2020 1:28 pm

Kieran973 wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 12:01 pm
iPlug wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 8:01 am
Best are Rheem and the relabeled brands they make. We've had ours a few years and it is wonderful. Have been following these for years, and no reliability issues that I am aware of to date.

https://www.rheem.com/products/resident ... ng/hybrid/

Home Depot carries them. Recommend you go one volume size higher than what you have currently if you want to run it in heat pump mode ~100% of the time.

Thanks, iPlug. I’m aware of and really like the Rheem models, and I was all set to have one installed this fall, but then I read some of the customer reviews on Home Depot’s webpage. There are a lot of angry customers giving 1 star reviews. The same goes for AO Smith heat pump water heaters at Lowe’s. The issue with both brands seems to be that things go wrong after 1-3 years with the anode rods, resistive heating elements, the heat pump itself, and/or the “smart” mode tech (which, when something goes wrong, can apparently shut the whole unit down). And even though some of these units are covered by 6-10 year warranties, this is for parts, not labor, so every time something breaks, you have to find and pay a local plumber to fix the problem (if you can even find someone who knows how to work on these). So don’t get me wrong - I think heat pump water heaters sound awesome in theory, and I’d really like to get one, but I don’t want to buy something that’s breaking all the time where suddenly my wife and 2 year old son have to take cold showers/baths for a week while Home Depot sends out replacement parts. To me, a reliable water heater is something that you can hook up and then never speak or think about again for 10 years. So I’ve been considering just getting a regular electric resistance water heater, despite the significant consumption penalty, if that means it will have Toyota Corolla level reliability for a decade.
The Rheem units have excellent reliability. For example we have this unit we got in 2017:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Rheem-Perfo ... /312741511

This generation and later gets 5 stars by almost everyone and high sample size. Compare that to other Home Depot ratings. I have kept in touch with several others who also have Rheem heat pump water heaters of this generation and no hardware issues. I don't see better reliability for gas or electric and have been following this for years. You have to look at all the reviews, one will find poor reviews with everything, but sampling size and percentages of experiences are important here.
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LeftieBiker
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Re: Heat pump water heaters

Sun Dec 20, 2020 1:44 pm

Out of curiosity I looked at the reviews. The negative ones, while far fewer than the positive ones, were pretty numerous and were almost all credible. A significant number of the positive reviews were written either shortly after purchase or well within the first year. This reminds me of the ground source heat pump systems back in the Nineties: glitchy and not necessary long-lived. And a 10 year warranty in which only the first year covers service labor?? No, thanks.
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iPlug
Posts: 463
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:47 pm
Delivery Date: 25 Apr 2016
Location: Rocklin, CA

Re: Heat pump water heaters

Sun Dec 20, 2020 1:53 pm

People come back to update as needed with all of their products. How does that compare statistically to electric resistance and NG heaters and their other products? Hard to buy the argument as others in my circle are also not seeing that. Come over to TMC and see if others are seeing the same.
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SageBrush
Posts: 5608
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:28 am
Delivery Date: 13 Feb 2017
Location: NM

Re: Heat pump water heaters

Sun Dec 20, 2020 5:05 pm

Kieran973 wrote:
Sun Dec 20, 2020 12:01 pm
Thanks, iPlug. I’m aware of and really like the Rheem models, and I was all set to have one installed this fall, but then I read some of the customer reviews on Home Depot’s webpage. There are a lot of angry customers giving 1 star reviews. The same goes for AO Smith heat pump water heaters at Lowe’s. The issue with both brands seems to be that things go wrong after 1-3 years with the anode rods, resistive heating elements, the heat pump itself, and/or the “smart” mode tech (which, when something goes wrong, can apparently shut the whole unit down). And even though some of these units are covered by 6-10 year warranties, this is for parts, not labor, so every time something breaks, you have to find and pay a local plumber to fix the problem
The anode rods and resistive heating elements in a hybrid heat pump water heater are no different than those in a regular, resistance heat only water heater.

Reading negative reviews has to be taken in context. First, people write when they are unhappy, and rarely to give praise. Second, a *lot* of these heaters are sold, so even a problem rate well below 1% will generate a generous complaint page. Third, at least a portion of the complaints are not the unit itself but either improper installation, operation, maintenance or use. The only hot water heat pump I am aware of that has sold in large quantities and is truly a bad piece of equipment is the GE HotSpring. I think it has been discontinued.
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dmacarthur
Posts: 212
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:00 pm
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Leaf Number: 306556
Location: Vermont

Re: Heat pump water heaters

Sun Dec 20, 2020 6:23 pm

I own 3 of these water heaters in rental properties and have no complaints- I BELIEVE that some appliances made for the big box stores are not as well-made as the ones sold through plumbing suppliers- this is true of power tools and the same could easily be said of appliances. For example, I own a Rinnai combi hot water heater/ boiler which I bought form Home Depot and when a relay inside it gave out in less than a year, I called Rinnai for the replacement and they identified the unit as having come from HD- the relay listed is different than if the unit had not been a Home Depot model...... who knows but it should not have crapped out. But, back to the HW heaters: the 2 AO Smiths are loud and occasionally the renters complain, whereas the Rheem is quiet. I had to replace the electronic unit in a Smith but it was easy and was covered under warranty, PIA but no big deal. They all make plenty of water and we try to keep them set on Heat Pump only, occasionally the renters will boost them up to Hybrid when they have teenage kids...IMO the Rheem is a better tool.....
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