American Heat Pumps (Hybrids)
Review and Buying Tips
(updated 2020)


American heat pump - hybridphoto by American

Discover the advantages and benefits of the American heat pumps water heaters (hybrids), recommended for homeowners looking to go green, want to take advantage of the high-efficient water heating, and save.

American electric heat pumps are actually hybrid water heaters that combine two technologies; a heat pump and electric heating, resulting in the most cost-effective energy solution for consumers.

According to the manufacturer, the heat pump can reduce the water heating costs up to 73% (when compared to a standard electric type), and provide annual savings of over $400 with the payback period of 2-3 years. The greatest savings are for the households located in the regions with high electricity rates and in colder climates.

Benefits

What makes the American hybrids energy efficient is how the heat pump is designed to operate. The heat pump transfers  the heat (does not generate) from the ambient air through the heat exchanger, where it heats the water while cooling and dehumidifying the room at the same time. While the unit provides savings on the utility bills, it also offers excellent comfort and convenience.

Heat pumps look the same as the traditional electric hot water tanks except for the heat pump addition at the top. They have the same footprint and connections, but they are more advanced. Hybrids offer innovative electronics and a large LCD display for convenience and easy control, monitoring, and troubleshooting when the problem appears.

The energy factor (UEF), which measures the unit's efficiency, is at least two times higher than the efficiency found on the standard electrical heaters, which uses only the heating elements for heating. The highest UEF is 3.45 on hybrids and close to 1 on standard electric models.

Due to its great benefits and energy savings, American heat pumps are the only type of all electric water heaters that are Energy Star compliant. They offer industry-leading efficiency, and at the same time, are eligible for tax credits and rebates from utility companies.

Model review

American heat pumps is part of the Proline XE series, which is the best category among electric heaters, and are available as HPHE models.

The HPHE group of heat pumps offers six models with the capacities of 50, 66, and 80 gallons, and warranties of 6 and 10 years. Those models with the 10-year warranty are also AHRI certified, which confirms the performance rating.

They all provide the same amount of hot water as the standard 50-, 66- and 80-gallon models, but at half the cost. The hybrids are usually built with a higher tank capacity, so the heat pump can operate more often than the heating elements, which ensures better savings and more hot water for periods of high demand.

Below is the table with the available models, capacity, first-hour rating, and the uniform energy factor (UEF). The highest energy factor is 3.45, while the greatest first-hour rating is 86 gallons found in 80-gal units, which ensures long showers with the maximum shower time of 55 minutes and up to 3 showers simultaneously used.

Models/Features Nominal
capacity
(gal)
UEF First
hour
rate
(gal)
Warranty
HPHE10250H045DVN 50 3.45 66 10
HPHE10266H045DVN 66 3.45 79 10
HPHE10280H045DVN 88 3.45 86 10
HPHE6250H045DV 50 3.42 66 6
HPHE6266H045DV 66 3.35 79 6
HPHE6280H045DV 88 3.45 84 6

The 50-gal unit is recommended for homes with up to 4 members, a 66-gal unit for 4-5, and an 80-gal unit for 5.

It is important to say that the heat pump water heater will get the highest energy efficiency in the efficiency mode, while the lowest efficiency in the electric mode, where it will also cost the most to operate. Also, the greatest first-hour rating is in the hybrid mode (shown in the table above), while the smallest is in the efficiency mode. If the heat pump is used more often, the more efficient it becomes.

A 50-gal unit is ideal for mid-size homes and families, also where space is an issue, due to its smaller diameter of 22". If there is enough room, larger and taller models can be used in high demanding homes.

Features

Enhanced performance

American hybrids utilize several standard features as found on other electric models, including the Blue Diamond glass coating for better protection against corrosion, DynaClean automatic sediment cleaning system, heat traps, and long-lasting brass drain valves.

Environmentally-friendly heating

The American heat pumps are using the "environment-friendly" refrigerant to extract the heat from the surrounding air and build-in compressor to increase the temperature of the fluid.

On the other side, the backup electric heating system utilizes the long-lasting Incoloy heating elements, upper and lower with the maximum wattage of 4500 W. Thanks to the smart control system, the heating elements are protected from dry firing.

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Operating modes

The hybrid technology allows American heat pumps to work in four operating modes maximizing efficiency and performance, and also easy to use and customize:

  • The hybrid mode allows water heaters to work between the heat pump and electric heating elements, and it depends on the heat requirements. The heat pump is the primary source while the heating elements are functioning only during the high hot water demands or peak hours, when most of the hot water is needed (evenings or mornings). This is what causes the high-efficiency operation and quick recovery. The hybrid mode is the default mode.
  • The electric mode is the mode when only electric heating elements are working, and it is the least efficient mode. This mode is used during the cold weather when the surrounding air has a lower temperature (below recommended), so the heat pump efficiency is reduced.
  • The efficiency mode uses the heat pump most of the time but can turn the heating elements ON also if there is a need - for example, when the temperature of the surrounding air won't provide optimal heating (when the temperature is below 49 F). This is the most energy-efficient mode.
  • The vacation mode is used during the extended absence (vacation, for example) when it reduces the heating operation and costs while protecting the unit from freezing temperatures. This mode is programmable.

Advanced electronic system

Another significant advantage of this hybrid type over electric water heaters (great savings is probably the biggest one) is the advanced electronic systems, giving users some useful info; the operating status, modes, better control, convenience and more.

The control panel found in the upper part of the water heater comes with a large LCD display and touchpad. You will be able to set and change the temperature, lock the settings, check the status, and use its diagnostic system and the error codes when the problem occurs.

Models equipped with the communication port can be connected to home management and utility systems for better control and savings.

Advanced anode rod

As opposed to most of the conventional types of electric water heaters, the American heat pumps are equipped with the CoreGard advanced anode rod to protect the heater's tank from corrosion.

This is a sacrificial anode and is long-lasting due to the stainless steel core.

The American electric heat pumps are recommended for families with four and more members and medium to large houses that utilize the maximum 240 VAC single phase and 25 Amps circuit breaker. Hybrids are designed for indoor use and rooms with enough fresh air, so the best places for installation are attics, basements, and garages.

The company gives the maximum 10-year warranty on the tank and its parts. According to their website, savings are over $4000 over 12 years period, and the payback period is three years or less.

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