The new air-source Heat Pump Water Heater from Rheem Water Heating offers an industry-leading Energy Factor (EF) of 2.0, or more than twice the energy efficiency of a standard electric storage water heater. The energy-saving design will help a family reduce its carbon footprint by nearly two tons annually. In addition, the new water heater qualifies for a federal tax credit as well as many state and utility rebates and incentives.
Intended for residential applications, both new construction and drop-in replacement of existing water heaters, the unit has a storage capacity of 50 gallons and qualifies for an Energy Star listing. Measuring only 21 inches in diameter and 75.5 inches tall, the new Rheem Heat Pump Water Heater offers a slimmer, more portable profile that makes installation in spaces with restricted access — including attics and basement mechanical rooms — much easier.
“That’s why this new unit is an easy retrofit product for existing electric installations,” product manager Tommy Olsen comments. “If a 240-volt electric service is located nearby, it can replace a gas model as well.”
In addition to the 2.0 EF, the new eco-friendly Heat Pump Water Heater meets three other Energy Star criteria: 1) a first-hour rating greater than 50 gallons per hour; 2) a six-year warranty on the storage tank, all components and parts; and 3) compliance with Underwriters Laboratories standard UL1995.
“The Rheem Heat Pump Water Heater should save consumers money over the life of the product, because it is so much more efficient than alternatives,” states Steven Nadel, Executive Director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). “Having a major manufacturer join this market will also help increase consumer confidence in heat pump water heaters.”
How the heat pump works: Instead of heating stored water directly with a conventional electric element — or with a burner, as in the case of a gas unit — a heat pump water heater transfers available heat from the ambient air, intensifies the heat and transfers the heat into the water, a far more cost- and energy-efficient process.
“The average annual operating cost for this technology will be between $225 and $280, or roughly half that of even the most efficient standard electric water heaters on the market today,” says product manager Tommy Olsen, who notes that the new product is “a fully integrated heat pump water heater.”
“We have combined already proven Rheem heat pump technology and two backup electric elements into the same rugged package,” he continues. “Split system heat pump units may come close to a 2.0 EF, but the Rheem Heat Pump Water Heater has the advantage of being a standalone, turnkey water heater that meets all of the new ENERGY STAR and federal tax credit criteria for the heat pump water heater category.”
Ideal installation sites: Air-source heat pump water heaters perform best in climates with average, year-round temperatures above 40 degrees F.
Heat pump water heaters require at least 1,000 cubic feet of surrounding air space, or roughly the size of a 10-foot x 10-foot x 10-foot room. Ideal locations include attics and garages where excess heat is commonly found. “Alabama Power recently estimated that 60% to 70% of water heater installations in the Southeast are done in attics,” says Olsen.
Even in Northern climates, basement boiler and furnace rooms can provide the warm air that a heat pump water heater needs. “For many homeowners with damp basements, the heat pump water heater can also be a very effective dehumidifier,” says the ACEEE’s Nadel.
Three modes of operation: Because the heat pump’s exhaust air is cooler than the surrounding atmosphere, these water heaters generally do not belong in or near busy living areas of the home. However, the Rheem Heat Pump Water Heater offers three separate modes of operation that permit the unit to be installed in areas not in frequent use.
- Mode 1 — Energy Saver: In the most energy efficient setting is ‘heat pump-only’ mode, it works by extracting warmth from the surrounding air, concentrating the heat, and delivering it to the water. This mode provides an industry leading 2.0 energy factor (EF) and the equivalent first hour delivery performance of a standard 50 gallon electric water heater.
- Mode 2 — Normal: When the peak hot water demands are very high or the weather is cold, using the combination ‘heat pump/electric elements’ mode is your best choice. In the dual mode, it still can achieve a remarkable energy factor (EF) of 1.5 and a first hour delivery performance that exceeds a standard 65 gallon electric water heater.
- Mode 3 — Electric Heat Only: A temporary Electric Heat Only setting is available to ensure hot water availability without operating the heat pump. The HP-50 will revert back to heat pump operation after two weeks, if not reset by the user. During those periods, the electric elements will heat the water at a surprisingly high .94 energy factor (EF).
The new Heat Pump Water Heater also incorporates these key features:
- 2.5-inch-thick, non-CFC foam insulation to minimize heat loss during standby periods when there is no demand for hot water;
- a premium resistored anode rod extends tank life;
- a factory-installed, brass drain valve;
- a factory-installed temperature and pressure relief valve;
- hot and cold-water and condensate drain connections (all ¾-inch N.P.T.) on the side of the water heater, rather than on the top, for easier installation and maintenance.
About Rheem Manufacturing Company
Rheem Manufacturing Company (www.rheem.com) is privately held with headquarters in Atlanta. In its 82nd year of operation, the company manufactures a full-line of high-quality residential and commercial heating and cooling systems; tank, tankless, solar, and heat pump water heaters; swimming pool heaters and commercial boilers throughout North America and world markets. The company’s premium brands including Raypak, Ruud and Rheem have been recognized with countless industry and consumer awards for reliability, innovative design, and high quality. Rheem is the official heating, cooling, and water heating supplier to Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Kevin Harvick, Inc. (KHI) and sponsors the KHI No 33 car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, KHI's No. 33 truck in the Camping World Truck Series and RCR's No 29 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.