American Heat Pumps Review and Buying Tips
(updated 2018)

American heat pump

Discover the advantages and benefits of the American heat pumps water heaters, recommended for homeowners who are looking to go green and would like to take advantage of the high-efficient water heating.

The American electric heat pumps are actually hybrid water heaters that combine two technologies; 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 68%, 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 the high electricity rates and in the colder climate.

What makes these water heating devices energy efficient is how the heat pump is designed to operate. The heat pump transfers the heat from the ambient air through the heat exchanger to heat water, while cooling and dehumidifying the room at the same time. So while the unit provides savings on the utility bills, it also offers great comfort and convenience to the users.

Heat pumps look the same as the traditional electric hot water tanks, the same footprint, and connections, but are more advanced. They offer the innovative electronics and the large LCD display, for convenience – easy control, monitoring, and troubleshooting when the problem appears.

The Energy Factor (EF), which measures the efficiency of the unit, is at least two times higher than the efficiency found on the standard electrical heaters, which uses only the heating elements for heating.

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

Model review

American heat pumps are available in two categories HPHE and HPE and the total number of seven models, and warranties of 6 and 10 years.

The HPHE group of heat pumps offers six models with the capacities of 50 and 66 gallons, while the HPE line has only one model, which is also the largest, offering the storage tank of 80 gallons and warranty of 6 years.

They all provide the same amount of hot water as the conventional 50-, 66- and 80-gallon models, but at half the cost. They are usually built with the higher tank capacity so the heat pump can operate more often than the heating elements, which ensures not only better savings but more hot water for periods of the high demand.

Below is the table with the available models, capacity, First Hour Rating and the energy factor. The 50-gal unit has the highest energy factor of 3.42 while the greatest first-hour rating is 84 gallons found in 80-gal units. This unit is by 2” taller but 5” narrower than the 66-gal unit, and is much lighter.

Model Capacity
(gal.)
Energy
factor
First
Hour
Rating
(GPH)
Foam
thickness
(inch)
HPE10260H045DV 60 2.4 68 2
HPE10280H045DV 80 2.3 84 2

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 smallest 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 the high demanding homes.

Features

Heating

The American heat pumps are using the "environment-friendly" refrigerant to extract the heat from the surrounding air and built-in compressor to increase the temperature of the fluid. On the other side, the backup electric heating system is utilizing 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.

Operating modes

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

  • Hybrid mode allows the water heater to work between the heat pump and the 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 cold temperatures. This mode is programmable.

Advanced electronic system

Another great advantage of these electric water heaters (great savings is probably the biggest one) is the advanced electronic systems, which gives you very useful info; the status, modes, it gives you better control, convenience and more.

The control panel found in the upper part of the water heater comes with the 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.

If the unit is equipped with the communication port (HPHE models for example), the heat pump can be connected to home management and utility systems for better control and savings.

Advanced anode rod

As opposed to most of the conventional type of the electric water heaters, the American heat pump from HPE series is equipped with the powered anode rod, to protect the heater's tank from corrosion. This type of the anode eliminates the need for the service and reduces the cost of the maintenance since it is not sacrificial such as the magnesium or aluminum type. Also, there is no smelly, rotten egg odor as found in water heaters with the non-powered anodes.

A 50-gal heat pump from HPHE series uses one Coregard anode rod to protect the metal tank and other components from corrosion. This is a sacrificial anode and is long-lasting due to the stainless steel core.

Other two types; 66- and 80-gal models have better protection as they utilize two anodes.

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. They are indoor units, recommended for rooms with enough fresh air, and 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 a 12-year period and the payback period is three years or less.

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