Rheem vs AO Smith Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater HPWH

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bchaney

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Hey guys, I'm looking to get a HPWH to put in my garage here in Seattle. I have read most of the threads on these units here on this forum and done a lot of reading on other sites, but haven't come across a good comparison between these 2 models. I'm looking at the 50gal units specifically.

I see some negative reviews on the Rheem on the Home Depot site, Rheem site, and one of the members here had his catch fire. Yikes. I haven't found negative reviews on the AO Smith but there seem to be much fewer reviews in general so they must not have sold as many yet.

The Rheem seems to be a little more efficient (3.50 vs 3.24 energy factor) and the compressor runs down to 37 degrees which is attractive for my garage installation. I'm pretty sure that the Smith compressor cutoff is 42 degrees.

The Rheem is 100-200 bucks more expensive.

Seems like the Smith is more reliable and less expensive upfront but won't be as efficient, especially in my application. Sound right?

Anyone have experience with both/either of these units and could make a recommendation? Any advice for my application? Thanks for any help.
 

Master Plumber Mark

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If you are wise you would stay away from both of them ....they are nothing but trouble
and I doubt the pay back or break even point will ever happen.... too many things can go
wrong with them.....

If you just install a common Rheem electric water heater
and simply throw a 25 dollar water heater blanket on the unit your
savings will probably be comparable and the whole thing will be a wash.......

without all the headaches if the hybrid breaks down
 

Dj2

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I agree with Mark, except that some WH blankets are $29. But if you really want to save money on heating water, keep your thermostat a little lower, and don't install a hot water recirculator.

And as for the WH, get the cheapest one, because buying a new WH has turned into Las Vegas style gamble. Every brand out there has good or excellent units for sale, OR bad and terrible units for sale, something you don't know by looking at them.
 

ruthrj18

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Late to the party, but I'm the dude who had the Rheem HPWH with the compressor that went kaboom.

I haven't had a noticeable difference in my electric bill since I went from the defective Rheem HPWH to a standard Rheem electric 50 gallon heater. And that's with the new conventional model set to 140 degrees with a thermostatic mixing valve installed to deliver hot water at a safe temperature. I don't miss the noise of the HPWH compressor running in the garage. I never run out of hot water with my new conventional electric heater. And the conventional heater is over $700 cheaper. And it hasn't nearly burnt my house down yet :rolleyes:
 

Joe V

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If you are wise you would stay away from both of them ....they are nothing but trouble
and I doubt the pay back or break even point will ever happen.... too many things can go
wrong with them.....

If you just install a common Rheem electric water heater
and simply throw a 25 dollar water heater blanket on the unit your
savings will probably be comparable and the whole thing will be a wash.......

without all the headaches if the hybrid breaks down
Mark
It is 2022 and do you still believe hybrids are not worth the extra cost?
I was looking at the following YouTube reviews. They seem to indicate that heat pump water heaters cost 1/3rd the cost of gas water cost and 1/4th that of electric water heaters yearly in heating costs.

1) Matt Risinger heat pump water heater review
(
)
2)

Thanks for chiming in.
 

WorthFlorida

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I'm having been debating myself to change out my 15 year old electric WH with a Rheem Hybrid. $1700 plus tax vs $529 standard tank. Each month from my electric company, OUC, I get an energy usage report. Using smart meters and algorithms, they can estimate the usage by the appliance. This is my report from 4/4-5/4. last month. It is just the wife and I, retired and weather wise it is during a more pleasant whether time of the year. So from that billing period, the water heater was only $12. Only about 10% of the bill. Since a hybrid cost $1200 more it be a long time for payback, but to cool the garage down and recover all the engine heat from the car, is a green thing. I understand that the Rheem's are really quite as compared when they first came out.


Screen Shot 2022-05-26 at 1.48.43 PM.jpg
 
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MikeekiM

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Mark
It is 2022 and do you still believe hybrids are not worth the extra cost?
I was looking at the following Youtube reviews. They seem to indicate that heat pump water heaters cost 1/3rd the cost of gas water cost and 1/4th that of electric water heaters yearly in heating costs.
1) Matt Risinger heat pump water heater review (
)
2)

Thanks for chiming in.

I was going to start a thread on this myself, but seems this is the appropriate thread to have this discussion...

My current water heater is a 50-Gallon GE 9-year natural gas water heater... Installed in 2003, it is now nearly 20 years old... Doesn't seem to be having any problems at all, but I know my days are likely numbered with a water heater of this age.

I have rooftop solar with about a megawatt of excess production... So installing a hybrid and running it in heat-pump mode would basically be "free hot water" for me... I live in the SF Bay Area, so the temps behave pretty well for a heat pump solution. Doesn't get much colder than the mid-30s outside on the coldest of days, and even those temperatures are pretty rare...people start wrapping their outdoor pipes and their trees and plants when it starts to approach freezing.

I have heard nothing but positive comments on these hybrid water heaters... I'll have to run a 220v from the main panel, which will obviously add to the overall cost of switching "horses" from natural gas to electricity... But my electric company is also offering a $2,000 rebate towards the total cost of switching from NG to electricity, so that should take the "edge" off of the budget... Plus, I also get the $300 federal tax credit on top of that...

Without solar, I would probably just stick with NG... Recovery times are much better than heat pump or resistance heating, and NG costs are relatively low...

Any feedback, comments, guidance would be helpful here... I am also making the AO Smith v. Rheem decision... I also wonder if it is 100% true that plumbers believe that Bradford White is truly the best manufacturer of water heaters... Do they have a hybrid, and should I be considering them?
 

John Gayewski

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I was going to start a thread on this myself, but seems this is the appropriate thread to have this discussion...

My current water heater is a 50-Gallon GE 9-year natural gas water heater... Installed in 2003, it is now nearly 20 years old... Doesn't seem to be having any problems at all, but I know my days are likely numbered with a water heater of this age.

I have rooftop solar with about a megawatt of excess production... So installing a hybrid and running it in heat-pump mode would basically be "free hot water" for me... I live in the SF Bay Area, so the temps behave pretty well for a heat pump solution. Doesn't get much colder than the mid-30s outside on the coldest of days, and even those temperatures are pretty rare...people start wrapping their outdoor pipes and their trees and plants when it starts to approach freezing.

I have heard nothing but positive comments on these hybrid water heaters... I'll have to run a 220v from the main panel, which will obviously add to the overall cost of switching "horses" from natural gas to electricity... But my electric company is also offering a $2,000 rebate towards the total cost of switching from NG to electricity, so that should take the "edge" off of the budget... Plus, I also get the $300 federal tax credit on top of that...

Without solar, I would probably just stick with NG... Recovery times are much better than heat pump or resistance heating, and NG costs are relatively low...

Any feedback, comments, guidance would be helpful here... I am also making the AO Smith v. Rheem decision... I also wonder if it is 100% true that plumbers believe that Bradford White is truly the best manufacturer of water heaters... Do they have a hybrid, and should I be considering them?
Sounds like there's no reason not to. No opinion on manufacturers.
 

indispenzable

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Hello,
I'm a home owner and have an older 80 gallon electric water heater. As electricity rates are rising I'm looking into the 50 gallon heatpump water heaters. I already have 30 amp breaker and outlet for condensate drain. The water lines have to go from up near ceiling down lower. Seems like AO Smith and Rheem are the most common brands. Seems like savings is 3-3.5 x on Electricity consumption. My plumber says he has installed 2 and they both failed. What are you all seeing out in the wild?

It seems like the pricing at the box stores are about $1700. One HVAC estimate I got wanted $4000 installed after the $700 rebate. I thoroughly respect the skills and professional expertise of plumbing /HVAC folks and don't balk at a generous hourly rate. From what I've read, it isn't a huge or overly complex job. Should they really be $1500 -$2500 for just installation costs? - Thanks
 

Master Plumber Mark

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Mark
It is 2022 and do you still believe hybrids are not worth the extra cost?
I was looking at the following Youtube reviews. They seem to indicate that heat pump water heaters cost 1/3rd the cost of gas water cost and 1/4th that of electric water heaters yearly in heating costs.
1) Matt Risinger heat pump water heater review (
)
2)

Thanks for chiming in.
You can do whatever your little heart desires....
those dickheads on u-tube just barely know enough
to make a video and give you all the show-biz
smoke and glitter that you want to hear.... then you find
out the hard way


You realize that a all common electric water heaters
can leak at any time after install.... The heat pump can break down at any time after the install...
When one of these two things happen the whole unit has to be shit-canned and replaced...

Now, If this heater starts to leak past the warranty at 6 years and 30 days out then you are totally screwed

and you start over.... $1700++ the same with a 9 year tank warranty......
If the heat pump fails at any time I really dont know anyone who would be willing to work on that too....at any time and even under warranty---- not me anyway, I am not fooling with a heat pump on a water heater

I dont know if you will ever re-coup the payback on one.....for the risk you are taking....

If you just get a common electric heater and put a blanket on the unit and install a thermal expansion tank on the unit , I feel that you are way ahead of the game....
 
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John Gayewski

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You can do whatever your little heart desires....
those dickheads on u-tube just barely know enough
to make a video and give you all the show-biz
smoke and glitter that you want to hear.... then you find
out the hard way


You realize that a common rheem electric water heater
can leak at any time after install.... The heat pump can break down at any time after the install...
When one of these two things happen the whole unit has to be shit-canned and replaced...

Now, If this heater starts to leak past the warranty at 6 years and 30 days out then you are totally screwed

and you start over.... $1700++ the same with a 9 year tank warranty......
If the heat pump fails at any time I really dont know anyone who would be willing to work on that too....at any time and even under warranty---- not me anyway, I am not fooling with a heat pump on a water heater

I dont know if you will ever re-coup the payback on one.....for the risk you are taking....

If you just get a common electric heater and put a blanket on the unit and install a thermal expansion tank on the unit , I feel that you are way ahead of the game....
Government mandate, car batteries are ten year full replacement warranty. Meaning your battery goes bad within ten years you get a new one. Buying a used electric car is probably more of an issue as I've never owned a car for ten years.
 

wwhitney

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NOW While you are at it, why not go get yourself an electric car and try to charge it in California when their woke governor says they are having a brown out and not to charge your car today and you might understand where I am coming from....
Umm, the request was to reschedule load from 4-9 p.m. to outside that time frame (actually 6-9 was more important). That applies to anything schedulable, including EVs. Not many EVs would be scheduled to charge then anyway, as that's when electricity is most expensive. So a modest imposition that caused zero transportation difficulties for anyone.

As to the heat pump water heater, if their lifetime will be comparable to a resistance electric tank, then you can do the math on the energy savings to see what the lower lifetime $ cost of ownership will be. If you can't get as long a warranty on a HPWH as on a resistance electric tank, then you could make the pessimistic comparison assuming the HPWH will need replacing the day the warranty expires.

Cheers, Wayne
 
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The heat pump water heaters I use have a passive tank, and a separate condenser. If the tank leaks, no problem, just replace it. Just replace the anode rod every 5 years if you're concerned.
 

wwhitney

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The heat pump water heaters I use have a passive tank, and a separate condenser. If the tank leaks, no problem, just replace it. Just replace the anode rod every 5 years if you're concerned.
Yeah, that's the add-on type that was available maybe 10 years ago? Possibly not quite as efficient, but very nice modularity. Does anyone still make them?

Cheers, Wayne
 
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Yeah, that's the add-on type that was available maybe 10 years ago? Possibly not quite as efficient, but very nice modularity. Does anyone still make them?

Cheers, Wayne
SANCO₂ Water Heater, Generation 4, imported from Japan.
The taller the tank, the better the COP.
The refrigerant is sealed, so no greenhouse gas leaks, ever.

Expensive, but just due to low volume of sales in the USA. Very common in Japan,
where there are a dozen models, all called Eco Cute or Mini Cute or something like that.

The SANCO₂ product is the North American version of the Eco Cute Water Heater that was first introduced into the Japanese market in the summer of 2001.


The name of the EcoCute comes from the Japanese phrase Shizen Reibai Hīto Ponpu Kyūtō-ki (自然冷媒ヒートポンプ給湯機), which literally means "natural refrigerant heat pump water heater".[1] Eco is a contraction of either ecology or economical and Cute is a near homonym to kyūtō (給湯); literally "supply hot water".[2]

 

Fitter30

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Wouldn't let a couple of tenths of efficiency make decision to buy one over another. There is a fed tax credit for energy star water heaters $300. Electric water heater Rheem Marathon.
 

WorthFlorida

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When selecting a HP water heater, to me the most important item is availability of parts and any warranty work if ever needed. Rheem and AO Smith have been around forever in the USA. New manufactures into the business do not have a support system to match well established companies. I'm not saying they are bad or better, anything that moves, eventually wears out and breaks down. All these "smart" water heaters have microprocessor controls that can be damaged by electrical surges, etc., therefore, do install a good surge protector.

 

Master Plumber Mark

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When selecting a HP water heater, to me the most important item is availability of parts and any warranty work if ever needed. Rheem and AO Smith have been around forever in the USA. New manufactures into the business do not have a support system to match well established companies. I'm not saying they are bad or better, anything that moves, eventually wears out and breaks down. All these "smart" water heaters have microprocessor controls that can be damaged by electrical surges, etc., therefore, do install a good surge protector.



I see a lot of Rheem hybred heaters at our local supply house sitting back by their dumpster....
they just throw them away when they leak or something goes wrong with them,

I suppose if some do-it-yourselfer were wise he would
be on the lookout for one in the trash just like they have...
Strip the parts off the bad unit in case you ever need them....

I really dont know of anyone willing to work on the condensers...

good luck and may god have mercy on your soul
 

Master Plumber Mark

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Wouldn't let a couple of tenths of efficiency make decision to buy one over another. There is a fed tax credit for energy star water heaters $300. Electric water heater Rheem Marathon.


that is 100% by far the best way to go
get Marathon Rheem lifetime warranty water heater
very simplistic, easy to repair.....
Wrap a blanket around it if you must squeeze that
last ounce of energy off your bill
 
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