This is an in-depth guide on Rheem Hybrid Water Heater Modes Explained. Throughout this article, I will walk you through:
- The explanation of every Rheem Hybrid Water Heater operating mode
- Rheem Energy Saver Vs Heat Pump Mode
- How does a Rheem Hybrid Water Heater Work
- And more
So, let’s dive in.
Rheem Hybrid Water Heater Modes Explained: The Explanation
Rheem Hybrid Water Heater has five operating modes, including:
- Heat Pump
- Energy Saver
01. Heat Pump Mode
The Heat Pump mode will heat the water exclusively by the heat pump operation. No electric heat will be used during normal heating and demand cycles if you use the Heat Pump mode. The recovery rate of this operating mode is low but it reduces power consumption.
02. Energy Saver Mode
In Energy Saver mode, the heat pump and electric heat operation is used to optimize efficiency based on hot water use. The Energy Saver Mode is a default operating mode on the Rheem Hybrid Water Heater. As this control mode uses the compressor fully, you will gain outstanding energy efficiency and low power consumption. The recovery rate is also high.
03. High-Demand Mode
In High Demand Mode, your water heater will use both heat pump and electric heat simultaneously to heat the water. It delivers the highest recovery when offering great energy savings as well.
However, Jeremiah, one of our readers, found the unit uses the top element and the compressor simultaneously and only switches on the bottom element when flow is sensed in High Demand Mode.
Here what he or she experienced while running his/her water heater in the High-Demand Mode:
For part of the time while it is High Demand mode, it will use both the elements and heat pump. However — at least this is how it works on my Rheem 50 gallon ca. 2020 — it only uses the electric element part of the time before turning off the electric elements.
This is according to the EcoNet app as well as Home Assistant. It clearly shows “heating element and compressor running” and then switches to “compressor running” when it is in High Demand mode.
Unfortunately, Rheem’s documentation is vague at best as to the actual operation of High Demand mode. US patent US8385729B2 for Rheem only discusses a “normal mode” and an “eco mode”, but not the High Demand mode.
Based on the water heater’s energy use in High Demand mode, as well as its recovery time, I believe when the EcoNet app reports “compressor running” in High Demand mode that it is actually using the top element and the compressor simultaneously and only switches on the bottom element when flow is sensed.
04. Electric Mode
This mode will heat with the electric resistance elements. You should use this mode during the filter and condensate drain maintenance period. It will result in maximum power consumption.
05. Vacation Mode
The vacation mode comes into play when you are away from your home. You can up the amount of days by hitting the left arrow or the right arrow. This mode will allow duration to be set between 1 and 28 days or set indefinitely with the hold setting. The tank temperature will be maintained at about 65 degrees F.
Rheem Energy Saver Vs Heat Pump Mode
The main difference between the Energy Saver and the Heat Pump mode is the use of electric heat and heat pump. The Energy Saver Mode uses both electric heat and heat pump operation to gain superior energy efficiency and low power consumption. On the other hand, the heat pump mode, as the name suggests, only heats the water by the heat pump operation.
There are also other differences between the Energy Saver and the Heat Pump modes. For example, the Energy Saver is a default operating mode. But the Heat Pump mode is not default, you need to set it. Energy Save mode has a high recovery rate but the recovery rate of Heat Pump mode is low.
Though both Energy Saver and Heat Pump modes are efficient, the Energy Saver mode is more energy efficient than the heat pump mode.
However, the real life experience can be a bit different. For example, Charlie Heaps, one of my readers found the Heat Pump mode is the same as Energy Saver mode. You can find his thoughts below the comment box.
How Does A Rheem Hybrid Water Heater Work?
A fan pulls air through the upper enclosure of the heat pump. Then, the air passes through a filter to remove any dirt or debris. Heat in the air is absorbed by the eco-friendly refrigerant inside the evaporator coil and cool dehumidified air is exhausted.
Next, the compressor pumps the refrigerant through the refrigerant system. The compressor increases the temperature of the refrigerant, delivering to the condenser. And guess what, the condenser tubing wraps around the water heater tank, where heat is transferred from the refrigerant to the water.
Rheem Hybrid Water Heater has five different operating modes (I already discussed them above) that control all the functions of the unit.
What is the Recovery On Rheem Hybrid Water Heater?
Recovery is how long it takes to heat up the hot water tank.
What should a Rheem water heater be set at?
Professionals suggest setting the Rheem water heater temperature between 130 to 140 degrees F. Anything above or lower than the recommended temperature setting could be dangerous for you and your family.
What temperature is vacation mode on water heater?
50-degree F. is vacation mode on a water heater. If you set your Rheem Hybrid Water Heater to the vacation mode, the temperature will never go up to 65-degree F.
Rheem Hybrid water heater comes with five different operating modes to operate or control the function of it. Each mode has specific uses, benefits, and disadvantages.
Among them, Energy Saver mode is the most energy efficient way to heat water. On the other hand, the High-Demand mode will meet your requirements in high demand situations.
I recommend you fine-tune with each operating mode and stick with the one that delivers you the best heating and energy efficient outputs.
- Rheem Econet Water Heater Troubleshooting
- Rheem Gladiator Water Heater Troubleshooting
- Rheem Tankless Water Heater Troubleshooting Manual
Eric Alvarez is an HVAC guy based in El Paso, Texas, United States. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from the University Of Texas at El Paso. Years of experience in the HVAC field have taught him many lessons, not the least of which is that the value of quality and knowledge far exceeds any promised initial savings. He has a good standing reputation for superior skills in heating, air conditioning, hot water tanks, and indoor air quality systems.
7 thoughts on “Rheem Hybrid Water Heater Modes Explained”
The description that Rheem’s High Demand mode “will use both heat pump and electric heat simultaneously to heat the water” is a bit misleading. Yes, for part of the time while it is High Demand mode it will use both the elements and heat pump. However — at least this is how it works on my Rheem 50 gallon ca. 2020 — it only uses the electric element part of the time before turning off the electric elements. This is according to the EcoNet app as well as Home Assistant. It clearly shows “heating element and compressor running” and then switches to “compressor running” when it is in High Demand mode. Unfortunately, Rheem’s documentation is vague at best as to the actual operation of High Demand mode. US patent US8385729B2 for Rheem only discusses a “normal mode” and an “eco mode”, but not the High Demand mode. Based on the water heater’s energy use in High Demand mode, as well as its recovery time, I believe when the EcoNet app reports “compressor running” in High Demand mode that it is actually using the top element and the compressor simultaneously and only switches on the bottom element when flow is sensed.
Thanks Jeremiah for sharing your real experience with me. I updated the article according to your opinion. Can you please share your social links so that I can give a proper citation?
Thank you again.
What is disable mode used for? I’ve been using that and just turning on water heater to energy mode as needed. Is that ok too?
It depends on your own experience. For example, if it brings no problem like not rising up the electricity bill, it will be ok. But the best bait is to turn off the unit completely instead of using the Disable mode when you are not using the water heater.
Hi Eric. I am struggling to understand how the heat pump only mode can be less efficient than the “energy saver” mode. The former works only at an efficiency of about (say) 300%, while the latter works sometimes at 300% and sometime at about 95%. So as a matter of basic physics, surely it must end up less efficient. Sure – the energy saver mode might be preferable as it recovers temp quicker, but I can’t see how it can use less energy overall. Any thoughts? What am I missing?
Yes this is exactly what I would like to know! Seems Heat pump only would be the most energy efficient meaning uses the least amount of electricity.
The 300% is a normal scenario, when the air is not too cold in the area around the heater. When it’s extremely cold the heat pump becomes inefficient and it’s possible in the extreme that it drops below the 95% if the purely resistive heating. But that should be rare, and only occur in extreme conditions. (But, depending where you live, your definition of “extreme” could vary!)