Seattle Hot Water Blog. Info on water heater, boiler and radiant heating issues
65 & 80 gallon Electric Water Heaters are Obsolete
As of April 2015 the Federal Government mandated higher fuel efficiency for residential tank type water heaters.
Hybrid Electric Water Heaters in Seattle
The change with the biggest impact was on residential electric water heater larger than 50 gallons capacity. We can no longer get 65 or 80 gallon electric water heaters that use cheap replaceable heating elements. If you want a tank bigger than 50 gallons you are going to fork out a lot more money for the hybrid heat pump versions in those sizes.
An electric hybrid heat pump has the lowest operating cost of any electric water heater on the market, especially when installed in warm climates. (Seattle isn't that warm). They may also qualify for rebates and tax incentives. Go to dsireusa.org for WA to see what’s available in Washington State.
- Hybrids cost much more than a conventional electric heater.
- The heat pump is taller (and wider in some cases) than your existing electric heater. Make sure the unit will fit.
- Some heaters are “side-piped” to eliminate the possibility of heat pump damage caused by leaking pipes. On those models, you'll have to reconfigure the water pipes.
- You'll have to clean the air filter regularly to maintain operating efficiency.
- The heater needs at least 1,000 cu. ft. of air surrounding it, so it can't be installed in a closet.
- If it needs repair - finding a qualified service tech can be difficult.
- They are capable of cooling the room they are in - this can be useful if you have an overheated room with waste heat from your boiler but can be a problem if you are paying to heat the room with your furnace.
That being said, our suggestion is to have your hot water load needs carefully evaluated to make sure you need a water heater larger than 50 gallons. If you do, these hybrids are your only option (can you upgrade to gas?).
Give us a call if you would like to discuss your hot water needs. We like the Bradford White Aero-Therm...
Rheem Bradford-White AO Smith
These are heat pump water heaters that heat the water with a reverse refrigeration type compressor. They take heat from the room they are in and put it in the tank. This is similar to what makes your refrigerator work. Consequently, you don't want to purchase the cheapest unit at the big box store. You want a good quality machine that does not require a lot of repair costs. Do your homework