Want to hear the story of the time I replaced my old leaky water heater with a hybrid electric water heater?
This post is in story format, but you can use the table of contents to jump to other sections. I cover all the possibilities of plumbing, as well as how to overcome obstacles that you are not sure you can conquer. This is basically a practice guide that I turned into a more fun format.
I will update this post with new photos of my actual water heater replacement and everything that went wrong in the process of doing it.
Congrats on finding a handy guide that won’t bore you to death.
I originally meant to call this a hybrid electric water heater installation guide and it doesn’t get mad! But, I thought it would be a little more for people. Enjoy!
I just switched to an AO Smith Signature Premier 50 gallon hybrid water heater
- 10-year limited warranty
- About 1/5 the running cost of a normal electric water heater
- Dual 4500 watt element
- Electric water heater with hybrid heat pump
So why did I make the switch to a hybrid electric water heater? I recently replaced the heating elements in my 11 year old water heater. After the replacement, my water heater started leaking very slowly and eventually rusting around the water heater element ports. I didn’t notice because I used a water heater blanket over the winter, which is when I replaced the heating element.
Congratulations on even thinking about replacing your old and probably leaking electric water heater. I recently discovered that most water heaters only last about 7 years before they leak. I found a leak in my 10 year old water heater during the installation of my new system.
Comparing the annual running costs of a standard electric water heater versus a hybrid electric water heater
My old standard GE water heater had one estimated annual operating cost of $508 or $42 per month according to this EnergyGuide sticker. Has The new water heater is an AO Smith Model # HP10-50H45DV 50 Gallon Water Heater which I bought at Lowes. It’s the EnergyGuide sticker an estimated annual operating cost of $114 or $9.50 per month! That difference alone is enough to take this update seriously.
When should you buy your water heater?
I bought the water heater during the winter when these models usually go on sale. Look for discounts at Lowes and Home Depot when you browse them on their website. I bought mine Lowes and didn’t get around to installing it until 1 year later!
I’ll tell you why I put up with this guide for so long. And if you also have the same situation that prevented me from installing this unit quickly, you will be glad you found my post.
PEX pipes vs. Copper pipes, which is the best?
When you do the water heater change, you may need to rearrange the plumbing like I did. Some of you would get away with a flexible hose connection threaded into your old water pipes while people like me had to improvise and decide what kind of water pipes we should use. For my particular case I went with PEX plastic pipes. I already have the crime tool from when I upgraded my bathroom plumbing from 1/2″ to 3/4″.
By the way: I recommend PEX piping for do-it-yourselfers.
The huge benefit of installing a hybrid water heater is a dry basement
Imagine if your basement didn’t smell like a dank dungeon. Sure you can install a dehumidifier, but that just wastes energy, while a hybrid heat pump water heater is essentially an air conditioner for your basement. Within 5 minutes of turning on my AO Smith water heater, the laundry room was cool and dry.
Now, as I write this, it has been 1 1/2 weeks since the installation in mid-June. My foundation has never smelled better. In fact, we have now started plans to finish the basement; something that wasn’t on our short list before.
Live in a Flip House like us?
Our house is essentially a flip where we choose to live for a while. We will see how this pandemic evolves for the real estate market. We have already invested over $40,000 in our renovations. Like many others who have bought a house that they were going to remodel and flip, we fell in love with the house and our neighborhood.
How much will a hybrid electric water heater cool your basement?
If you are on the fence about whether or not you should invest in a hybrid water heater over a standard electric water heater, ask yourself if you want your basement to have central air conditioning?
Check out this photo, I used my trusty Black & Decker thermal leak detector to show you the temperature difference on a hot summer day where my outside thermometer reads 90 Fahrenheit.
The small utility room shown on the chief architect’s plan above is where my water heater is installed. This small room is between 69 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The large area labeled as storage is the remainder of our basement that was once finished but is now essentially a storage area. This room is at 70.5 degrees Fahrenheit after the hybrid electric water heater installation does its job on a 90 degree summer day in Connecticut.
The 2 car garage is on the other side of the laundry room wall. It’s about 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 10 degrees cooler than the outside temperature.
I only recommend a few products here and on my YouTube channel that have impressed me so much, I had to tell people.
This hybrid electric water heater is one of them. My foundation had the typical musty smell you find in areas where the humidity reaches uncomfortable levels. I can’t believe how long I waited to install the unit. My whole house smells better after installing the water heater because we live on a raised ranch where the staircase splits between the basement entrance and the upper level right next to the landing.
Since we didn’t control the temperature in the basement, it was always on the smelly side once Connecticut gets to that ripe sweaty condition we call spring and summer. This addition to our home made a noticeable difference from day one!