Ruud Heat Pump Water Heaters Review and Buying Tips

Ruud heat pump is the ultra-efficient electric water heater that comes with the integrated heat pump (HP) resulting in the high performing and reliable hot water production. It is also known as the hybrid type. With the advanced engineering and stylish look, Ruud HP is one of the popular alternatives for the long-term water heating.

Ruud heat pump is the owner of several awards, received in 2009 and 2010 and was selected as one of the best ten products, per Architectural Product Reports, Building Green Magazine and 2009 Green Build Expo.

The heat pump, among all electric water heaters from Ruud manufacturer, is the only Energy Star approved unit, and therefore, eligible for federal tax breaks and other local and state incentives and rebates.

Let’s see how does the Ruud heat pump water heater work, what are the benefits you will get with the purchase, and see the pros and cons.

Highlights

Features

Ruud heat pump is the ultra-efficient hybrid water heater that is designed with the high energy factor of 2.45, which is more than double of the most efficient electric units.

Increased energy efficiency is coming from the heat pump's ability to extract the heat from the warm surrounding air and delivering it to the water, and reduced standby heat loss due to the thicker 2.5” foam.

It has a higher price than the conventional electric type, but the lower operating cost is what makes it recommended for owners looking to save and conserve energy.

Power source

The heat pump is the air source unit that uses the powerful 8700 Btu/h compressor to increase the hot water temperature, create more heat while providing great energy savings. Two 2 kW high-quality stainless steel resistor heating elements are also part of the heat pump for the backup heating and to increase the recovery rate.

By using the hybrid technology and its advanced features, Ruud HP can operate in the wider ambient temperature range than its competitors (the temp. range is from 37 to 120 F).

Model selection

Ruud manufactures only one model, HB50RU, and this model is equipped with the 50-gallon tank. The first-hour rating is 57 GPH while the recovery rate at 90 F rise is 21 GPH.

Electronics

The heat pump is equipped with the user-friendly control panel with the LCD display and touch-pad, so you can check, select or change the hot water temperature, diagnose the system during failure, and check out the history of the errors. And since the control panel comes with the backlit and full-color LCD display, you can easily check and adjust all the parameters even if the unit is installed in dark rooms.

The EcoNet Communication Port allows you to connect the water heating system with the home automation and distant management providing even more convenience to the user.

Two safety features are important to mention; one is to protect the unit from freezing and the other from overheating.

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Corrosion protection

The water heater utilizes the anode rod, designed to extend the life of the storage tank. The anode rod is the premium quality, non-removable and together with the exclusive Ruudglas tank lining protects the metal tank from the aggressive water action and corrosion.

As the anode rod is consumed over the years, and to avoid the rotten egg smell, water chlorination is recommended, to remove or reduce the smell.

Heating modes

As said above, the unit is equipped with the control panel that allows you to choose one of the five operating modes which give different temperatures of hot water, energy efficiency, and water supply:

  • The Energy Saver mode is used in most homes with typical demand for hot water. This is one of the most energy-efficient modes as the heat pump’s work will be maximized while the electric elements operation reduced to the minimum. This is mode #1 and is the factory set mode, for shipping.
  • If your home is with the low demand for hot water it is recommended to use the HP mode, a mode with the highest energy efficiency and minimized power consumption. In this mode, the electric heating elements are turned OFF.
  • High demand mode is ideal for families with a high hot water demand when you can use the heater for simultaneous operation of multiple hot water fixtures. Both heat pump and backup electric heater are engaged as needed.
  • Electric heat only mode is a temporarily mode utilized on a short-term basis when the heat pump is disabled. In this mode, electric heating elements are the only one operating, so the hybrid water heater actually works as the electric unit resulting in the maximum power consumption.
  • Vacation mode allows you to set the unit work between 2 and 28 days and the tank water temperature will be maintained at 82 F.

Temperature adjustment

The hot water temperature on the Ruud heat pump can be regulated by pressing the arrows, left or right, located on the control display. The temperature scale has three sectors; warm, hot and very hot while the actual temperature of hot water is shown right above. Right after your purchase, you will notice that the outgoing water temperature is factory set to 120 F, which is used as the anti-scalding protection.

In normal or warm temperature settings, water in the tank will be maintained at 120-124 F; 130-135 F will be maintained for Hot setting and in Vacation mode, the tank temperature is maintained around 90 F.

Installing

With 21" in diameter, Ruud heat pumps are not complicated to install and is in the same manner as the electric type. The unit has an easy side access to 3/4" NPT inlet and outlet water connections and a condensate drain, 1/2" overflow connection and T&P valve, which is factory installed.

The unit must be installed per local or national and utility codes and following certain requirements from the manufacturer and utility company.

The rule of thumb when looking for the right location for your heat pump is to install it close to the application with the greatest hot water demand, but at the same time to allow an easy access for servicing and maintaining the unit.

Provide at least 8" clearance above your Ruud heat pump unit to allow an unobstructed air circulation.

For the best performance, install Ruud heat pump in the room where it is warm, including garage, basement or attic, and where the temperature is 40 degrees or above and the room size is approximately 10x10x10 ft.

Use the rating plate mounted on the water heater or Ruud heat pump owner's manuals to find the voltage requirements, wattage load... Here are some of the requirements for the Ruud heat pump: 240 V 1PH, 21.5 max. AMP draw, 10-gauge wire, and minimum 30 AMP circuit.

Maintaining

Ruud heat pumps are also simple to maintain where the air filter is top mounted and washable. The recommendation is to clean the filter once a month with mild detergent and water.

Summary

Ruud heat pumps, or hybrids, are similar to the conventional electric units, but are way more efficient and have lower operating costs. The footprint is almost the same, installation is as easy, so as the maintenance. Even with the higher initial price, it pays off after only a few years. It is recommended for larger homes located in hot and mild climates.

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