Hybrid Water Systems – New Tech for Ensuring High-Efficiency Water Heating

Between 17% and 20% of the average home’s energy consumption can be attributed to heating water. This is the second highest component of energy consumption in the home. This inconvenient fact has, until now, been largely ignored by the authorities, but now there is a drive to improve the energy efficiency of home water heating units. If you have an older water heater in your home, it is almost certainly inefficient and you will reap significant financial rewards by replacing it.

Relatively New Technology

Hybrid water heaters feature relatively new technology and they are certainly very effective. Although they are considerably more expensive than regular water heaters, they can save hundreds of dollars in energy costs every year.

Hybrid water heaters boast a combination of tank and tankless water heating technologies. The hybrid water heater, unlike the tankless water heater, has a tank so that you never have to run out of hot water, overcoming the problem that households with traditional tank systems and small tankless systems sometimes have to deal with. These systems are highly efficient, using 60% less energy than standard tankless water heaters, and they have the lowest associated heating costs of any unit on the market today.

Two Heating Systems

Hybrid water heaters typically contain two heating systems: an electrical element system and a heat pump. Rather can creating heat, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from one area to another. A hybrid water heating system works in a similar fashion to a refrigerator but in reverse. A refrigerator extracts warm air from the unit and releases it via the condenser into the surrounding area outside of the refrigerator.

A heat pump extracts heat from the surrounding air and then uses that to heat the water in the tank. A fan blows air from the room across coils that are filled with refrigerant gas, and the refrigerant gas along with the compressor causes a rise in temperature, which is transferred to the water. When the demand for water is high, the system can switch to standard elemental heating. This is why these products are referred to as hybrid systems. You can use the control panel on your hybrid water heater to choose the mode that you want and to set temperatures. Many units have a number of settings and energy efficiency modes.

Considerations When Purchasing a Hybrid Heater

It is important when buying a tank heater to consider the first-hour rating. The gallons per minute (GPM) figure will tell you the amount of hot water a water heater can deliver. The first-hour rating tells you how much hot water the water heater can provide you in one hour.

The heat rate recovery is also an important consideration. These water heaters take a while to reheat when they are totally emptied, so take this into consideration when making your choice, and for this reason, consider buying a water heater with a large tank. A 50-gallon heater usually has a 23-gallon recovery rate so it will take just over two hours to provide you with a full tank of water again. These heaters are often larger than a standard tank unit so you should ensure that the one you plan to purchase will fit into the available area before ordering it. The unit will also need at least 1,000 cubit meters of air surrounding it.

Your Location Does Affect Performance

The performance of these heaters varies but even in colder areas where the backup elements are used more frequently, they offer significant energy savings compared to standard water heaters. The bigger the water heater the more energy efficient it will be. The installation location is also important. In colder areas, these water heaters are more efficient when installed in a basement, and in warmer areas a garage or well-ventilated area is the ideal position for the heater. The air filters on heating pumps must be cleaned regularly, but this is easily achieved by simply removing it and wiping it down with a damp cloth.

Review of the Top Hybrid Water Heaters

In reviewing the top hybrid water systems, we have thoroughly investigated three of the regular heat pump electrical hybrids and also a less conventional hybrid crossover unit that combines a tank and gas heated heat exchanger.

  • 3.5 Customer Rating
  • Westinghouse 316L
  • Dimensions: 69 x 23.2 x 69 inches
  • Size: 80 Gallon
  • Power Source: Electric-Powered
  • Weight: 151 pounds
  • Made In: USA
  • Warranty: Manufacturers
  • 3 Customer Rating
  • Rheem HP40RH
  • Dimensions: 21 x 21 x 65.5 inches
  • Size: 40-Gallon
  • Power Source: Electric-Powered
  • Weight: 246 pounds
  • Made In: USA
  • Warranty: Manufacturers
  • 2.5 Customer Rating
  • A.O. Smith SHPT-50
  • Dimensions: 22 x 22 x 63 inches
  • Size: 50 Gallons
  • Power Source: Electric-Powered
  • Weight: 211 pounds
  • Made In: USA
  • Warranty: 10-year limited warranty
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  • HTP RGH-199
  • Dimensions: 19.7 x 19.7 x 36.3 inches
  • Size: N/A
  • Power Source: Electric-Powered
  • Weight: 100 pounds
  • Made In: USA
  • Warranty: Manufacturers

Westinghouse 80-gallon hybrid

The Westinghouse 80-gallon hybrid has a durable 316-liter stainless-steel, laser-welded tank. This unit is highly efficient, offering you the benefit of both tankless and tank systems. With this unit, your household will have a plentiful water supply that can service a large number of outlets without a reduction in water pressure. The Westinghouse water heating system has an adjustable thermostat, so you can set it to the ideal temperature for your household and balance your heat requirements with your energy budget. The product features high-grade stainless steel elements that will not corrode. These elements are the longest lasting that you will find in the industry. The low watt density of the elements prevents overheating, which can cause early replacement.  The product does not require anode rods of other standard products.

The tank is made from durable stainless steel that will not build up scale or corrode. The outer skin is made from a good-looking faux stainless steel. The tank is 98% thermally efficient. Make sure that you find a suitable space for the unit as it almost six foot tall. It has a number of safety features, not least of all the high-temperature limit, to prevent the tank from overheating.  This unit features a first hour delivery of a whopping 84 gallons. Register this unit for a limited lifetime warranty. This is an industry best.

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Rheem HP40RH HP-40-Super-Efficient

Rheem boasts a heat pump design that makes it more efficient than any other hybrid water heater. This high-efficiency water heater will save hundreds of dollars each year. The product is Energy-Star rated so you could claim back on tax rebates and incentives of up to $300. The unit boasts an energy factor of 3.55.

Wi-fi technology can be purchased separately to warn the homeowner via smartphone technology of problems such as water leaks. It will also alert you when the time has come to service it, and will give you maintenance reminders. It provides you with customizable settings. The unit even has a vacation mode so you don’t have to run up your water heating bills while you’re not at home. It is NEST compatible so if you have this home energy saving device you can connect to it. This smart unit has a built-in leak detection unit, so you never have to worry about water damage to your home. It also boasts other smart features such as a high demand mode and energy saver features to ensure that the entire family can have a hot shower at the lowest possible cost.

The water heater is capable of providing more hot water than any standard water heater and can service multiple outlets at once. It is easy to install and will be a drop-in replacement for any old tank heater. It has a 45-gallon capacity and can cope with four back to back eight-minute showers. The stainless-steel elements will resist sediment buildup so there is little maintenance required. It has a brass drain valve. This is a quiet and environmentally friendly solution for water heating in your home and it comes to you from the major global water heating manufacturer Rheem. It comes with a ten-year warranty and a one-year labor repair warranty.

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AO Smith SHPT-50 Voltex Hybrid Electric Heat Pump Water Heater

The AO Smith Hybrid is one of the quietest hybrid heat pump heaters available, operating at just 51 decibels. This Voltex product boasts a heat pump system that transfers the heat from the air to the water in the tank. At the same time, it dehumidifies and cools the surrounding area. This product is Energy-Star accredited so federal tax rebates of up to $300 apply when you install it.

The AO Smith has a 50-gallon tank. It boasts an energy factor of 2.78. The unit is operated via a LED interface that clearly indicates to the user what the current status of the heating system is. It is very easy to operate and will display error messages to help you troubleshoot problems with the system. The heating system has four modes so you can adjust them to the ambient conditions and the operating requirements.

The available modes are high efficiency, hybrid, electric, and vacation mode. When the unit is in high-efficiency mode it operates on the heat pump and can revert to the electrical heaters when the water is not hot enough. Hybrid mode uses the water pump and automatically switches over to elements in high demand environments. The electric mode is there for the coldest days and uses just the electric elements. The vacation mode uses just enough energy to keep the water in the tank from freezing. The core of the anode rods is stainless steel, which resists corrosion and will, therefore, last for years. The tank is protected by a safety system that prevents the elements from turning on unless the tank contains water. This environmentally friendly product is covered by a ten-year limited warranty.

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HTP RGH-199 High-Efficiency Crossover Hybrid Water Heater

Available in both natural and propane gas, the HTP is a high-efficiency hybrid water system, which offers you the best of both tank and tankless water systems. It has a crossover design that ensures that you enjoy the efficiency of a tankless system while maintaining water pressures at high levels. The heater can service multiple outlets. It is also capable of recirculating the water so you never receive the cold-water sandwich that is common with tankless systems.

This is a wall-mounted unit so you’ll save space. Its elegant good looks will enhance any bathroom. If you’d prefer to install the unit outside, this is possible but you will have to purchase the enclosure kit that has been designed for this purpose.

The unit has a 316-liter stainless-steel tank and a fire tube heat exchanger that can manage volumes of up to 3.5 GPM. It features anti-scale technology and a low-NOx combustion system. The heat exchanger runs at 96% thermal efficiency and .94UEF. It has zero flow activation, so it starts up immediately. You also don’t waste gas when you run small amounts of water as this water will come from the tank.

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The hybrid System Will Save on your Energy Costs

Without a doubt, hybrid water heating systems are more expensive than other water heating systems, but they will quickly pay for themselves in massive energy savings, and their convenience cannot be overlooked. A hybrid unit will truly give you hot water on demand.