Delivery to Gorman-Sarasota Makes Rheem First to Plumbing Market With Heat Pump Water Heater
Rheem wins race to deliver integrated technology with an ENERGY STAR-certified, heat pump water heater. Eligible for federal tax credits, the new unit offers twice the efficiency of a standard electric model and a payback of four years or less.
SARASOTA, FLORIDA (SEPTEMBER 17, 2009) Gorman Company today welcomed its first shipment of new Rheem HP-50 Heat Pump Water Heaters to its Sarasota branch facility. The arrival of this much-anticipated, inaugural delivery made Rheem the first manufacturer to supply the plumbing wholesale market with a shipment of fully integrated, high-efficiency heat pump water heaters.
Gorman is a division of Hajoca Corporation, the nation’s largest privately held wholesale distributor of plumbing, heating and industrial supplies, with locations in 32 states. A longtime full-line Rheem distributor, Gorman operates 39 warehouse units, all in Florida
The new HP-50, which combines a heat pump and two backup electric elements into a single storage-tank package, offers an industry-leading Energy Factor of 2.0 — more than twice the efficiency of a standard electric storage model. The product qualifies for ENERGY STAR certification and a federal tax credit amounting to 30% of the installed cost ($1,500 maximum) if done before December 31, 2010, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Local rebates and incentives also apply.
“Having seen some of the advance publicity for this new product, we are very excited to receive this first shipment,” comments Mark Boyer, who serves as profit center manager for Gorman in Sarasota. The company arranged the initial shipment of the HP-50 units through Spirit Group Inc. of Orlando, Rheem’s sales agent in the state of Florida.
The primary attractions of the new HP-50 for Gorman’s trading area, notes Boyer, are its high efficiency and its complete integration of a heat pump with the apparatus of an electric water heater, as opposed to keeping them as separate components.
“Heat pump technology is already a known and proven quantity in our warmer climate,” Boyer adds, “so the HP-50 should work very well here — especially if the homeowner has the product installed in an attic, a garage or any other interior space whose ambient temperature is higher than the outdoor temperature. The HP-50 may cost more than a conventional electric water heater, but when the public sees the relatively rapid payback, they’ll be open to investing a bit more up front.”
True breakthrough: Rising home energy costs and growing demand for high-efficiency and high-performance water heaters to blunt the impact of those rising costs are two of the primary factors driving the debut of the new Rheem HP-50 Heat Pump Water Heater. “This product marks the first time that consumer will have access to an electric storage water heater whose operating costs are comparable to those of a tankless gas water heater, but with significantly lower installation expense on retrofit projects” notes David M. Hanning, Director of Product Development for Rheem Water Heating.
Carrying a warranty of 10 years on the tank and all components and parts, the new product also offers two other critical benefits:
- Fast payback: Instead of directly heating stored water with a conventional electric element — or with a burner, as in the case of a gas unit — a heat pump water heater transfers available heat from the surrounding air into the water, a far more cost- and energy-efficient process. “The average annual operating cost for this technology will be between $225 and $280, or 55% to 60% lower than that of even the most efficient standard electric water heaters on the market today,” says Rheem product manager Tommy Olsen. As a result, the buyer can expect a full return on his installed-cost investment within three to four years, or well before the 10-year warranty expires.
- Replacement-friendly design: Intended for residential applications, both new construction and the replacement of an already installed water heater, the unit has a storage capacity of 50 gallons, but measures only 21 inches in diameter as well as 75.5 inches tall. This slimmer, more portable profile makes installation in spaces with restricted access — including attics and basement mechanical rooms — much easier.
“Our research indicates there will be a strong demand for an integrated heat pump water heater if it offers an attractive payback story and a replacement-friendly design,” says Hanning. “This unit meets both of those criteria with a cost of operation on a par with a tankless gas water heater and superior to both gas and electric storage models.”
“Very few companies have the engineering and manufacturing know-how to integrate a heat pump with an electric water heater,” says Boyer. “When a manufacturer as well-known and accepted as Rheem does it, that really counts with the plumbing trade and the general public.”
About Rheem Manufacturing Company
Rheem Manufacturing Company (www.rheem.com) is privately held with headquarters in Atlanta. In its 82nd year of operation, the company manufactures a full-line of high-quality residential and commercial heating and cooling systems; tank, tankless, solar, and heat pump water heaters; swimming pool heaters and commercial boilers throughout North America and world markets. The company’s premium brands including Raypak, Ruud and Rheem have been recognized with countless industry and consumer awards for reliability, innovative design, and high quality. Rheem is the official heating, cooling, and water heating supplier to Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Kevin Harvick, Inc. (KHI) and sponsors the KHI No. 33 car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, KHI’s No. 33 truck in the Camping World Truck Series and RHR’s No. 29 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
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