Does it save everybody energy? Maybe not. But to come to the conclusion that your situation is the "typical" situation is stretching it. Each time I read about how you'd have to heat all the cold air coming out of your water heater, I have to laugh. I'm sitting here right now delighting in the cold air coming from my heat pump. We've been over 100 for 2.5 weeks now. It is 82 degrees inside my house. And when it stops being hot, I'll stop venting the thing into my home. It turns out that NOT everybody installs the water heater in a conditioned space. Around here, the garage is a somewhat standard location for the water heater. Mine is in a utility closet that vents to the outside (I mean except for the vent that I put inside.
I can't fathom how you can take the company to task for only rating the energy used of the device. How else could this possibly be done since everybody's situation is different? Should I be upset that this thing is saving me far MORE energy than is claimed? It is currently air-conditioning my home, so I do not have my 4 kW AC turned out. And this heat pump is only drawing 0.5 kW. And while it's cooling me, it is heating the water that my daughter is using in the shower. Those lying buggers! This thing is saving me too much energy! So seriously... since everybody's situation is different, there's no way for the company to be "honest" about all the ancillary energy benefits and deficiencies, is there? The unit does what it does. Where you live, where you install it, and how you use it is going to determine what impact it has on your overall energy consumption and comfort. I have a hard time taking them to task for not accounting for YOUR specific usage of their product. I'm not sure you've taken into account how much more efficient it is in heating your water when you DO feed it heated air. Yes, you have to reheat the air in your home, but the unit also doesn't have to work as hard... and doesn't cool off your living space as much.