For the past seven years, my go-to heat pump water heater has been the State Premier Hybrid Electric. It comes in three sizes, 50, 66, and 80 gallons, and has performed solidly for my company. With it, we’ve helped hundreds of customers electrify their water heating and reduce their carbon footprint.
State Water Heaters are part of the A.O. Smith family of companies. A.O. Smith sells similar models under its label and other brands, including American, Lochinvar, Reliance, and U.S. Craftmaster.
I was excited to learn that, in fall 2022, A.O. Smith introduced an updated model, labeled variously the A.O. Smith Voltex AL Smart Hybrid Electric and the State Premier AL Hybrid Electric. The “AL” stands for its built-in “anti-leak” sensor. The new version features higher efficiency, lower noise ratings, wireless connectivity, and a “smart anode” for corrosion protection. It also incorporates changes to its layout that make it easier to install.
We’ve installed several of the new models and have been quite happy so far. Here I’ll look at how it differs from its predecessor and touch on newly published space requirements for heat pump water heaters.
Physical dimensions, layout, and clearances
The older 50-gal model is 22 in. wide by 63 in. tall; the 66- and 80-gal models are 27 in. wide and 61 in. and 69 in. tall, respectively. The new units are all within ½ in. of these dimensions. Despite these similarities in overall size, the new models incorporate design changes that allow for tidier installations and more flexibility in location:
Potable water connections. In the older model, the cold water inlet and hot water outlet are both on the side of the unit. Since most tank-style electric, natural gas, and propane water heaters have connections on the top, installing the older model means extending piping downward. The…
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