WHAT IS A HEAT PUMP WATER HEATER?
A Heat Pump Water Heater is a type of residential water heating appliance that operates on a combination of heat pump and electric resistance technology. That is why it is sometimes reffered to as Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater.
Unlike a traditional water heater, a heat pump water heater is significantly more energy efficient because it primarily uses ambient air from its surrounding to heat the water in the tank.
The heat pump water heater uses about 70% less engery than a regular electric water heater. According to ENERGY STAR, a heat pump water heater saves a family of 4 about $350 a year or $3,750 over the life of the unit.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
To easily understand the concept of the heat pump, imagine a refrigerator working in reverse. While a refrigerator removes heat from an enclosed box and expels that heat to the surrounding air, a HPWH takes the heat from surrounding air and transfers it to heat the water in an enclosed tank.
During periods of high hot water demand, HPWHs will engage the heating elements like a standard electric resistance. This is helpful especially during the winter months if the unit is in an unconditioned space and the temperature drops in the low 20s.
Heat Pump Water Heaters come with control panels where you can select different operating modes which include:
Efficiency/Economy – maximizes energy efficiency and savings by only using the heat pump to heat water.
Auto/Hybrid – default setting ideal for daily use, providing energy-efficient water heating with sustained heat, utilizing both heat pump and heating elements.
Electric/Heater – use this setting for high-demand. It is the least energy-efficient because it is using only the electric elements to heat water just like a regular electric water heater.
Vacation & Timer – this is a nice feature when you are away from home and also an energy saver. You can program the unit on "sleep" mode and set it to turn on before or on the day you return.
Things to consider when planning to switch to a Heat Pump Water Heater
Power source - it uses electricity and requires a 30 AMP circuit breaker connection.
Sound - it will generate a humming sound when the heat pump is operating (around 49 decibels). The sound is not loud, but because other standard water heaters do not make any noise, it is more noticeable in living spaces such as bedroom closets or living rooms.
Cool/dry air - it will release cool, dry air into the surrounding area, which acts as a dehumidifier. If cold air is a concern, ducting could be an option.
Space - it is ideal to install the unit in an area with adequate airflow for optimal operation such as in a garage, basement or utility room. Units can be installed in smaller areas with ducting options or strategies to create better airflow such as louvers.
Specifications - they are larger than standard water heaters. They measure approximately 62” tall and 24” in width. An additional 6” is required to remove a filter from the top of the unit for cleaning and maintenance.
Filter - the heat pump has a filter that needs to be clean at least once every 3 to 6 months to ensure your unit will function properly. Dirty filters could cause operational issues and unnecessary error codes.
Condensation - the unit will have condensation and needs to gravity feed into a drain nearby. This could be a floor drain, laundry sink, or an exterior wall within 5-10 feet, where it is not a trip hazard. Condensation pump can be used if a drain is not present nearby.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A HEAT PUMP WATER HEATER
Energy savings up to 70%
Back up heating elements
10-year manufacturer warranty
Built in Leak Protection