GE Will Drop Heat-Pump Water Heaters

first_imgImproved energy efficiency, utility incentives, and a federal tax credit aren’t going to be enough to save GE’s GeoSpring heat-pump water heater.According to published reports, GE Appliances will stop manufacturing the water heaters at the end of the year because of low sales, just four years after the energy-efficient appliances were introduced.Editor’s note: Since this story was originally published, there has been an important development, reported here: Bradford White Buys GeoSpring Rights and Equipment. WDRB.com reported that the suspension of operations will affect about 300 hourly workers at the Louisville, Kentucky, Appliance Park. Kim Freeman, a spokeswoman, said the workers would go to other jobs in the factory.The hybrid appliances use the same technology as air-source heat pumps. A closed loop of refrigerant that is compressed into a liquid and returned to a gaseous state captures heat in the air and transfers the heat to water stored in an insulated tank. Heat-pump water heaters operate at an annual coefficient of performance (COP) twice that of a conventional electric-resistance water heater, according to a report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. But the water heaters cost two or three times as much as a conventional electric-resistance water heater, Freeman said. GeoSpring water heaters are made in two sizes, 50-gallon and 80-gallon. Lowe’s lists the 50-gallon model for $999 and the 80-gallon unit at $1,599, while a Whirlpool 50-gallon electric-resistance water heater sells for $399. Hundreds of dollars in annual savingsAt the GeoSpring website, the manufacturer said the units could save as much as $330 in water heating costs annually for a family of four and up to $490 annually for a family of five to six people.Despite those savings, as well as a variety of incentives offered by state efficiency programs and the federal government, heat-pump water heaters apparently aren’t selling in very high numbers. Freeman wouldn’t say how many GeoSpring heaters the company produced, but she said heat-pump water heaters account for about 2% of the market and add up to about 60,000 units per year.“We lose millions of dollars on GeoSpring every year,” Freeman told WDRB.Heat-pump water heaters are made by a number of companies, including Rheem, Stiebel Eltron, A.O. Smith and Reliance. AirGenerate, which manufactured the AirTap heat-pump water heaters, reportedly went out of business. Heat-Pump Water Heaters Come of AgeHeat-Pump Water HeatersAll About Water Heaters RELATED ARTICLES last_img

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