The GE GeoSpring GEH50DEEDSR, 50 Gallon is a top pick for those who want to maximize energy savings. With digital controls and four modes of operation (in addition to vacation mode), owners have full control over their energy use. There is a value trade-off, however, as some note this water heater costs a lot more upfront -- and the constantly running fan contributes to energy consumption.
Variety of settings for maximum control. The GE GeoSpring GEH50DEEDSR is easy to install -- about three hours or less, according to most owners. With a 50-gallon capacity and a 65-gallon First Hour rating and recovery rate, the GeoSpring has no problem producing ample hot water for the average family's needs.
Its four digitally controlled modes (Hybrid, Heat Pump, High Demand/Boost and Electric) plus Vacation mode lets owners adjust the settings as desired to maximize energy savings. High Demand mode is used when larger amounts of hot water are needed, such as when guests are visiting, and Vacation mode drops the temperature setting to 50 degrees to conserve energy when you won't be using as much hot water.
Sixty-two percent less energy use. The GE GeoSpring GEH50DEEDSR, 50 Gallon claims to reduce energy usage by 62 percent, thanks to its hybrid operation that uses heat-pump technology to turn energy from ambient air into heat. One contributor posting information on WaterHeaterRescue.com points out that the GE GeoSpring automatically switches to standard electric mode when the surrounding air temperature reaches 45 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, while comparable Rheem hybrid water heaters are able to maintain hybrid operation down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
With an Energy Factor rating of 2.4, the GE GeoSpring is well above the required EF rating for Energy Star qualification, meaning owners are eligible for tax credits after purchasing this water heater.
Higher upfront costs are a value trade-off. At more than $1,100, the GE GeoSpring costs about twice as much as the average natural gas water heater; tax credits somewhat reduce the sticker shock. Thanks to the excellent efficiency, the energy savings does pay off the hefty initial investment in the long run.
We read a few complaints from owners who say the fan constantly runs in Heat Pump mode -- resulting in colder temperatures in the surrounding air, which could mean more in general heating costs. A few owners say they simply use a different mode if this is the case, but the others don't offer the same efficiency as Heat Pump mode. The GE GeoSpring is backed by a 10-year limited warranty for parts; labor is covered for just one year.
This forum thread compares the GE brand to Rheem, with input from several contributors who are either plumbers or who have had personal experience with one of the brands. A few point out that GE is a sub-brand of Rheem, while overall, Rheem receives better feedback for quality.
Review: Heat Pump Water Heaters - GE vs. Rheem, Contributors to WaterHeaterRescue.com, As of October 2013
This survey of more than 3,000 building contractors evaluates brand awareness and quality perceptions among a variety of building products and brands. The GE brand earns an average rating of 3.79 out of 5. Unfortunately, the review doesn't mention specific models.
Review: 2008 Builder Brand Study, Editors of BuilderOnline.org, March 31, 2008
With an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from more than 70 owner-written reviews, the GE GeoSpring Hybrid Electric Heat Pump Water Heater is one of the top-rated water heaters at Sears.com. There are some complaints the fan constantly runs, but overall, owners are satisfied.
Review: GE GeoSpring 50 Gal. 10-Year Hybrid-Electric Heat Pump Water Heater ENERGY STAR(R), Contributors to Sears.com, As of October 2013
TopTenUSA.org ranks a number of home appliances based on energy efficiency, including water heaters. The GE GeoSpring is ranked second among electric storage water heaters, saving customers more than $4,700 over the lifetime of the appliance compared to the standard Energy Star baseline.
Review: GE GEH50DEEDSR, Editors of TopTenUSA.org , Aug. 20, 2013