You might be hearing a lot about heat pump water heaters right now. They’re in the news as a home improvement upgrade that can save you some cash — and a heat pump water heater can even save you money on your taxes. They are the only hot water heater covered by the Inflation Reduction Act — where it could earn you an upfront discount and a tax credit, as well as cut down on your energy use and electric bills over the long haul.
They’re also, honestly, kind of like magic – at least as magical as an appliance whose job it is to heat water can be. Here’s why:
Heat Pump Water Heaters are Extremely Energy Efficient
Known for their energy efficiency, heat pump water heaters use the warm air in the surrounding room (or from wherever you duct the air from such as outside or an attic) to heat water somewhat passively. Instead of creating heat from nothing — using lots of gas or electricity — heat pump water heaters absorb heat from the surrounding air and then concentrate it using a compressor into one place: your water. The heat pump water heater acts like a heat funnel, moving heat into the unit and then condensing it and transferring the heat into the water inside the storage tank. A bonus: heat pump water heaters can even dehumidify surrounding air, which is a big bonus for most basement spaces.
According to Energy.gov, heat pump water heaters — also called hybrid water heaters, or abbreviated as HPWH — are 2-3 times more efficient than a conventional electric water heater. This means your household will be using 2-3x less electricity to heat the same amount of water — and that can transfer into some serious energy savings. This can appeal to people who want to save money (umm… everyone?) and people who want to cut down on their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions from an environmental standpoint. Look for ENERGY STAR rated models which will help you determine what an average operating cost might be for the model you are considering.
Making the switch to a heat pump water heater could save you significant money on water heating costs, especially if you are switching from an older, less efficient model that runs on natural gas or pure electricity. The energy cost savings alone can make the cost of upgrading to a new model pay for itself in a short amount of time, especially if you are a high-volume hot water household.
Heat Pump Water Heaters are Long-Lasting
The heat pump water heaters being built today incorporate some of the latest and greatest technology with time-tested water heating capabilities. The heat pump technology that powers a HPWH has been in use for decades in refrigerators and air conditioners — just in reverse!
Professional grade hybrid heat pump water heaters, like the ones Water Heaters Now installs, can last 15 years or longer, meaning the initial cost of installation is going to pay for itself over the lifespan of the unit, especially if you work to maintain your water heating system from installation onward.
Keep in mind that not all water heaters are created equal: professional grade water heaters are only available from licensed installers — you won’t find the pro model at the big box stores, even if the brand names sound the same. And they certainly won’t come with the professional-grade warranty either.
Heat Pump Water Heaters are Easy to Install
A new heat pump water heater can likely be installed where your current electric or gas water heater is today if it’s in a basement or other large room — the unit will need at least 1,000 cubic feet of air space around it to work efficiently. This won’t be the choice for you if you need to install your water heater in a small closet. Since they pull air from their surroundings, a heat pump water heater needs to have enough air to pull from. If you’re looking to install in a small space, an on demand or tankless water heater might be the route to go.
It used to be that heat pump water heaters could only be installed where it was above 40 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, since that’s the temperature the surrounding air needs to be at or above in order for the water heater to be able to heat water. Newer models are even rated for cold climates, and if the air temperature dips below that 40 degree mark, the hybrid part of the water heater kicks in and uses electricity as a backup to deliver the hot water you need straight to your faucet.
If you’re converting from a traditional electric water heater to a high efficiency HPWH, there shouldn’t be too much HVAC work that must be done. With that said, there are great options and possibilities for ducting in order to draw summer heat from the attic, garage, or outside as well as ducting from the unit (using the cool exhaust air) to chill down a room in the summer. Versatile and Smart! As always, check with your plumber or installation specialist to be sure of the upfront costs before committing to the project.
Ready to use less energy and upgrade your current tank water heater?
Then, choose a water heater installation company that can answer your questions and install a professional-grade heat pump water heater where and when you need it. If you’re in the Twin Cities Metro area or Rochester, MN – that installation expert is us. Check out our service area and see if we can help you get a new heat pump water heater in your home today.