If you’re like most homeowners, you tend not to shop for a new water heater until your existing one fails. Then once it fails, its imperative that you fix it as fast as possible to get your home back on track, so you spend little time evaluating your options. By doing it this way, you can miss out on which options are truly best for your situation, and finding the right choice to not only save money, but save energy down the road.
If your home uses an electric water heater, you can choose an electric heat pump water heater that uses pump technology to provide a more efficient way to heat water than the standard electric model probably in your home today.
A heat pump water heater has three basic components: an evaporator, a compressor and a condenser. To understand how it works, think about how your refrigerator works, then reverse the process. A refrigerator removes heat from inside its shell and expels it out into the air around it. A heat pump water heater takes the heat from surrounding air and transfers it into the enclosed tank of the water heater.
A heat pump water heater operates in several different modes, depending on the demand from the users in your home. Because they have the ability to switch between operating modes, these water heaters are often referred to as hybrid water heaters. With a heat pump water heater, you will have a control panel to change operating modes, which include:
- Efficiency mode – maximizes energy efficiency by only using the heat pump to heat water
- Hybrid mode – this is usually the default setting, and will provide energy efficient water heating with sustained heat
- Electric mode – this is your high demand mode, using only the electric element to heat the water
- Vacation mode – this gives you the ability to put your water heater into sleep mode while you are away or on vacation (not available on all models)
In general, a heat pump water heater requires more space than its electric counterpart. Hybrids should be installed in an indoor space of at least 1,000 cubic feet. Since the hybrid will extract heat energy from that space, this room will be cooler than the rest of your home. The larger the space, the less impact the unit will have on the room’s temperature. The warmer the space, the better performance the heat pump water heater will have. They are great at using up heat waste from washing machines and dryers, furnaces and boilers; which means they are great additions to basement utility rooms where you can keep all appliances in a similar location.
How much will you save? The standard answer is “results will vary”. But in my experience customers can typically save up to 50 percent on their water heating costs, which is significant considering a water heater is one of the highest energy using appliances in your home.
Have any additional questions? Give us a call; we’d be happy to share our knowledge and answer any questions you may have about heat pump water heaters.