Review: AO Smith PHPT-80 Residential Electric Water Heater

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When you’re looking at residential water heaters, most models these days tend to be in the 40- to 50-gallon range. That’s good for most homes, but not if you have a high-capacity household. That’s why the AO Smith PHPT-80 Residential Electric Water Heater is a good find. The storage tank not only offers a higher capacity, but this capacity is used to operate the heat pump more frequently than the heating elements.

That means this larger electric water heater is often cheaper to operate than smaller-capacity units from other manufacturers.

You’re also given three different modes in which this water heater can operate.

  • The efficiency mode offers a lower level of hot water access and slower cycling times, but dramatically reduces operating costs for households that do not always need a high-capacity water heater.
  • The hybrid mode is a good compromise for most households. It boosts the productivity of the unit without requiring it to be fully on, which allows for hot water access in general situations.
  • The conventional mode is the setting which allows this electric water heater to operate at full capacity.

When it is operating in the efficiency mode, the AO Smith PHPT-80 offers an energy factor rating of 2.3. It meets all Energy Star qualifications.

What to Expect with the AO Smith PHPT-80

This water heater has been designed with a Permaglas glass coating on the interior of the tank. It does an excellent job of protecting the steel housing from premature corrosion, giving you a good lifespan with this water heater when its recommended maintenance schedule is followed.

Controls are handled through the large LCD temperature display. It offers degrees in Fahrenheit and Celsius, accommodating the needs of most households. It has a 3-line, 13-character backlit LCD display that can current operational data, the current set point, and the status of the water heater.

For homes with children, this model offers a child-resistant safety lock that reduces the chances of the temperature being accidentally changed or done so without authorization.

It comes equipped with an advanced diagnostics feature as well, conveying error messages in a way that is easily understood instead of needing to check on a flashing light code in an ownership manual. This AO Smith water heater will also store the last 4 error messages it has generated, making it easier to communicate to a repair professional what is happening with the unit.

Then there’s the powered anode on the PHPT-80. It is able to last for the life of the water heater and is maintenance-free. This helps the unit be able to resist bacteria build-up within the tank, eliminating problematic odors. It will also reduce the discolored water issues that can happen with a standard sacrificial node.

We’d recommend the AO Smith PHPT-80 Residential Electric Water Heater for a basement or garage installation. It offers a washable air filter and works best with cooler ambient air. Backed by a 10-year limited warranty, we found this water heater to be a consistent and innovative appliance.

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