Recommendation for 80-Gallon Heat-Pump Water Heater
Can anyone recommend a specific brand or model of 80 gallon heat pump water heater that should be expected to last with minimal repair issues for 10 or so years? Which heat pump water heaters are known or expected to be very durable and reliable, the kind of water heater you can install and then forget about for a decade – in other words, what is the Toyota Corolla of heat pump water heaters? This is anecdotal, but if you look through some of the online reviews from customers who have purchased heat pump water heaters from seemingly reliable brands – Rheem, AO Smith, etc – a general trend that I’m seeing is that those who purchased 1-2 months ago are excited and geeking out over the crazy efficiency gains, but those who purchased 1-2 years ago are extremely angry because their water heaters have had major repair problems and while the parts for these constantly breaking units are still under warranty, the expensive HVAC labor needed to troubleshoot/reinstall new parts is not, which then quickly wipes out most of the cost savings of switching to a HPHW in the first place.
A little bit about me and why I’m asking: my wife, son, and I just moved into a house in southern Connecticut and our 50 gallon A.O. Smith natural gas water heater is on the way out. I really don’t want to get another natural gas water heater – I want to get something electric. We’re about to put a 6.7 kW SunPower array on our roof which is expected to produce ~7400 kWh per year. If I go with a regular electric resistance water heater, yes it would be cheaper and less prone to repair issues, but my understanding is that this would consume 4,500-5,000 kWh a year, which would then leave very little kWh for other things (our lights and appliances are on track to consume 300 kWh/month or 3,600 kWh per year; we own a Nissan Leaf which consumes another 3,600 kWh per year; we’re also thinking about putting in heat pump mini-splits next year). So this lead me to consider, for example, the Rheem Prestige and Proterra HPHW’s which claim to consume only ~1,000 kWh per year. But if I buy a hot water heater that is going to break all the time, and/or I have to buy a new $1-2K HPHW every two years, A.) my family will kill me, and B.) it will negate a lot of the cost savings of getting a HPHW in the first place. I’m also not totally clear on whether a HPHW operating in southern Connecticut winters will simply make our gas boiler work harder to produce heat for the house, thereby negating the CO2 emissions reductions benefits of purchasing the HPHW. Anyway, any advice that people could offer would be much appreciated. Thanks.
GBA Detail Library
A collection of one thousand construction details organized by climate and house part