Question regarding hybrid heat pumps and colder climates

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Vagrantx291

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I'm getting ready to replace my older 2010 rheem water heater as its showing signs of rust/issues at the bottom of the tank. I've been looking at hybrid heat pump water heaters specifically the AO smith Voltex HPTU-50N. I'm not partial to AO smith but I'd prefer to stay with them or Bradford White and avoid the big box store models. My concern is 1) that i'm in MD so I have colder winters and 2) the recommended installation references 10x10 or 12x12 rooms but does reference the following

"The unit cannot be placed into any type of closet or small enclosure, unless adequate provisions are made for air exchange (vented or louvered doors, etc.)." This space in my basement would be in my utility closet area where my HVAC and water filtration systems currently reside. this is probably a 12ft L x 4ft W room. The framing is up but it was my intent to use louvered bifold doors for both sections which hopefully would provide enough airflow once I drywall the basement to finish it and if necessary adding vents towards the top of the wall for additional airflow. Air flow aside most of where I see hybrid heat pumps are in the south so I'm curious if anyone has experience with them in more northern climates.
 

jadnashua

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The WH is essentially a heat pump with a backup electrical heating element. As a result, it will be pulling heat out of the air, and to have enough heat, putting it into a closet with poor air exchange means it will be working very hard...think of it as a reverse air conditioner...the room will get colder as it's putting heat into the tank so to be efficient, it needs a lot of air to move by, otherwise, the closet itself would get colder and colder which means less heat available, and lower efficiency.

I'm not sure a closet that size will have enough volume unless the louvers in the door are significant. A call to the manufacturer may help determine better whether it will work in your situation, or the amount of grill needed to make it efficient. If there's a furnace in the same area, there may be enough heat, so that's a consideration as well.

Note, you may need a condensate drain, so you'd need a place to either drain or pump that in the process. They aren't noisy, but make more noise than a plain gas or electric tank.
 

Vagrantx291

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Thanks for the reply, I get the general concept of them so that makes sense, my concern was really just the location I have to work with. it sounds like reaching out to them to get some further insights on the location is my next step. I have seen some photos of hybrid units where people are actually connecting duct work to them so that might be an option as well perhaps. The condensate line isn't a concern the plumbing is already there since its used for a backwash from the water filtration system I've got for my well water.

appreciate the feedback!
 

John Gayewski

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Just my opinion, but until the price drops quite a bit they aren't going to be worth it.
 

jadnashua

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Payback will depend on your local utility rates. If you're replacing an electric WH, a hybrid one will save on electricity, so you'll need to see how long that will take to break even or ahead based on the differences in cost. In the process, it can cool and dehumidify the area some, which MIGHT be an advantage and take the place of a dehumidifier or a/c unit you might otherwise need to run. So, it's not always a clear-cut answer.
 

Vagrantx291

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Just my opinion, but until the price drops quite a bit they aren't going to be worth it.
Not too concerned on the price, although looking at the energy star ratings in terms of electricity cost it seems like it essentially can pay for itself within a few years. I am replacing a rheem unit that is electric and unfortunately no gas to look at that as an option. My basement does currently have a dehumidifer although it doesn't need to run a ton I figured that would be an added bonus.
 

John Gayewski

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Not too concerned on the price, although looking at the energy star ratings in terms of electricity cost it seems like it essentially can pay for itself within a few years. I am replacing a rheem unit that is electric and unfortunately no gas to look at that as an option. My basement does currently have a dehumidifer although it doesn't need to run a ton I figured that would be an added bonus.
That's my point. It won't pay for itself for about 10 to 15 years and by that time any metal tank made nowadays will be a 50/50 shot at weather it'd still good. Then you buy another and hope it lasts 10 to 15 years.
 
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