Hot Showers Without Huge Bills
Heat pump water heaters use electricity to move heat from the air to the water. While it sounds straightforward, the cost efficiencies you can achieve over normal water heaters are nearly threefold, so you can heat your water and stay within your budget. Incentives for heat pump water heaters are $750 per unit.
For more information regarding residential high efficiency heat pump water heaters & available rebates, please contact Haley Kuplin email@example.com or 603.536.8866.
For more information regarding commercial heat pumps, heat pump water heaters and available commercial incentives, please contact Joe Lajewski at or call 603.536.8663.
Do Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heaters Save Money
Hybrid heat pump hot water heaters save money over standard gas or electric models thanks to something called their Energy Factor . EF measures the percentage of energy the heater is able to turn into hot water: the higher the number, the more efficient the hot water heater. Electric tank heaters have an EF of around 0.95, while gas and oil tank heaters EF is around 0.6. A hybrid hot water heat, by contrast, has an EF of 3.5 using much less energy and saving you money.
What Is A Heat Pump Water Heater
Unlike a traditional hot water heater, a heat pump water heater uses electricity to move existing heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. Heat pumps are often used by homeowners to heat and cool homes, but they can also be used either as a stand-alone water heating system or in a combination system for both hot water and space conditioning.
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Describing How A Heat Pump Water Heater Operates
To begin heating the water, the fan draws in air from the room and blows it over the condenser coils. The refrigerant inside the coils absorbs the heat from the air and becomes a hot gas. The hot gas is then compressed by the compressor, which increases the temperature even further. The hot gas is then sent to the heat exchanger, where it transfers its heat to the water in the tank. Once the water has been heated, the refrigerant is cooled and turned back into a liquid before being circulated back through the system.
Runner Up: Ao Smith Signature Premier
In our opinion the second best heat pump water heater is AO Smiths Signature Premier.
When we first published this review in 2020, AO Smiths heat pump water heaters tied Rheem for the cheapest model. But since then AO Smith got more expensive than the Rheem.
AO Smiths 50 gallon model starts at $1,799, which is $127 more than the Rheem. But AO Smiths heat pump water heater is $256 cheaper than Bradford Whites heat pump water heater reviewed below.
Looking at the energy efficiency, an AO Smith hybrid water heater comes in second with an energy factor of 3.45 .
Now its worth mentioning that the difference between an energy factor of 3.75 and 3.45 isnt huge. If your plumber loves AO Smith, its probably not worth harassing them to install a Rheem. But it will result in a bit higher energy bill .
Second quietest background noise
Background noise is another important consideration for heat pump water heaters. And here the AO Smith also comes in second at 51 dB.
Again, the difference between 51 and 49 dB isnt very big. So its probably not worth picking the Rheem over the AO Smith just because its 2 dB quieter. But compared to the Bradford White, the AO Smith is 4 dB quieter. That difference isnt massive either. But considering the Bradford White is more expensive, its worth going with the quieter option.
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Is A Heat Pump The Same As A Water Heater
Contrary to popular belief, heat pump water heaters are not the same as conventional models. While both of these devices heat water, they do it in different ways.
These water heater pumps draw air from the environment to heat water. The heated air then circulates through the chambers and into the pipes, where it warms the water. Furthermore, the process generates cooler air that is then distributed through the home’s ventilation system. These heat pumps are like a refrigerator in reverse, providing heat instead of cooling.
Pump water heaters have greater efficiency than conventional models because of this method. Conversely, water is heated as it flows through the metal tubes of a standard electric water heater .
How Does A Heat Pump Hot Water Heater Work
A heat pump water heater intakes ambient warm air and uses pressure to heat up and evaporate refrigerant. This hot refrigerant gas runs through coils that surround or pass within a tank of water, causing the water to heat up. The now cooler refrigerant condenses back to liquid and cycles back through the system to start over again.
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And Why Is It Safer And Better For The Planet Than Traditional Water Heaters
- Wesleyan University, University of California, Berkeley
David Kuchta, Ph.D. has 10 years of experience in gardening and has read widely in environmental history and the energy transition. An environmental activist since the 1970s, he is also a historian, author, gardener, and educator.
- Ohio University
Olivia Young is a writer, fact checker, and green living expert passionate about tiny living, climate advocacy, and all things nature. She holds a degree in Journalism from Ohio University.
A heat pump water heater uses a heat pump to heat water for home use. It can replace traditional water tanks fueled by electricity, gas, propane, or oil, as well as tankless water heaters.
Along with solar water heaters, heat pump water heaters are among the most sustainable and efficient ways to provide your home with hot water. This, along with the creation of government incentives and growing concerns about the climate crisis, has raised interest in heat pump water heaters demand is expected to double by 2032.
Heating water uses about 20% of home energy use, so its worth understanding your options if youre in the market for a new water heater. Here, we detail how heat pump water heaters work, pros and cons, and more.
Heat Pumps For Appliances
Heat pumps are energy-efficient in powering appliances such as water heaters, swimming pools, and clothes dryers. A desuperheater for geothermal heat pumps cost $250 to $800 to add, which can provide hot water for a swimming pool, shower, or other home appliances.
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What To Know Before Switching To A Heat Pump Water Heater
Before switching to a heat pump water heater, knowing youll save more money by getting the correct size is essential. If your water heater is too small, itll have to work extra hard, which uses more energy.
On the other hand, a large heat pump unit will cost hundreds or thousands of dollars more upfront.
Fortunately, its easy to size a heat pump water heater. Choosing the right size should be based on the amount of hot water you need, how many plumbing fixtures are attached to the water heater, and how much storage you prefer. You should also consider how much space you have to spare since substantial heat pump water heaters require more room.
You can also get water heater insurance. If you dont want to spend too much on repairs caused by various accidents, youll have many replacement costs covered. Heat pump water heaters cost a lot, so its more than worth protecting your investment. This insurance often protects against damage caused by faulty water heaters, too.
Additional Costs For Water Heater Installations
There can be additional costs for a water heater installation. Typical cost estimates include the unit and a normal plumbing cost that requires no extra work. When additional work is required, this must be factored into your cost estimate. Here are some of the common additional costs for water heater installations.
Plumbing or Electrical Work â These professionals typically charge by the hour and can range from $45 to $150 per hour, plus the needed materials.
- This can be necessary when converting from one fuel source to another, as from electric to gas. It can be necessary to add new or replace old wiring, replace or add water lines or add gas lines.
- There may also be a cost to add an expansion tank.
Carpentry Work â Depending on your installation, you may need a professional carpenter to create a new space for the water heater and components, add a new wall to make an enclosure, add or move existing framing or support components or add drywall.
- Framing a small wall can cost $200 to $500, depending on materials and size.
- Installing and finishing drywall can be costly, from $1,000 t0 $3,000 or more.
- Any work that involves structural components can be expensive, and may involve an hourly rate between $50 – $80.
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Heat Pump Installation Cost
While heat pumps are less expensive to operate than furnacesespecially in areas that do not get very cold in the winterthe initial price of installation can be costly. The cost of installing a heat pump ranges from $4,000 to $7,500 with the national average around $5,500. At the low end, your installation costs could run around $2,500, while on the higher end your costs could range up to $10,000.
Your individual cost for heat pump installation may vary and is based on a number of factors. Read on to see what affects the cost of heat pump installation.
Tips For Saving Energy
While heat pump water heaters may be the most sustainable option for heating water in your home, you can implement additional measures to save energy and lower costs.
- As with any water heater, you can save energy by using a low-flow shower head, running the dishwasher only when it is full, avoiding pre-rinsing dishes, using cold water to wash clothes, and using a high-efficiency washing machine.
- Heat pump water heaters work best in a set it and forget it state, but many also include a vacation mode for extended periods when hot water isnt needed.
- Pace your hot water use. Requiring a hybrid heat pump water heater to run in resistant heating mode is less energy efficient .
- Look for a high-efficiency water heater with a coefficient of performance of 3.0 or higher.
- Make sure your water heater and other water-using appliances are Energy Star certified.
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Other Heat Pump Water Heaters We Reviewed
In addition to the heat pump water heaters we reviewed above, we also looked at the following models.
- Energy factor: 3.75
- Annual cost: $125
- Warranty length: 10 years
Stiebel Eltron is a German hot water heater manufacturer known for their high quality. But when we reviewed their heat pump model we found little reason to justify the $2,499 cost.
At an energy factor of 3.05 it is less efficient than Rheem, AO Smith and Bradford Whites models.
The only reason we could come up with is its pretty cool looking. I mean look at that beauty.
Tax Credit For Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater
The federal government knows that hybrid water heaters are good for people and good for the environment, so it offers a tax credit to homeowners who install a high-efficiency water heater. Qualifying homeowners can get a $300 federal tax credit by filing the appropriate paperwork with their tax returns. You can learn more here: Equipment Tax Credits for Primary Residences
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Calculating Annual Operating Cost
Before you can choose and compare the costs of various models, you need to determine the correct size water heater for your home. If you haven’t done this already, see sizing a new water heater. To estimate the annual operating cost of a storage, demand , or heat pump water heater, you need to know the following about the model:
- Fuel type and cost
Then, use the following calculations:
For gas and oil water heaters
You need to know the unit cost of fuel by Btu or therm.
365 days a year X 0.4105 therms/day ÷ EF X Fuel Cost = estimated annual cost of operation
Example: A natural gas water heater with an EF of .58 and a fuel cost of $0.00000109/therm
365 X .4105/.58 X $1.09 = $282
For electric water heaters, including heat pump units
You need to know or convert the unit cost of electricity by kilowatt-hour .
365 days/year x 12.03 kWh/day ÷ EF x Fuel Cost = annual cost of operation
Example: A heat pump water heater with an EF of .0 and an electricity cost of $0.1301/kWh
365 X 12.03 ÷ 4.0 X $0.1301 = $143
The energy usage per day in the above equations is based on the DOE test procedure for hot water heaters, which assumes an incoming water temperature of 58°F, hot water temperature of 135°F, and total hot water production of 64.3 gallons per day, which is the average usage for a household size of three people.
Comparing Costs and Determining Payback
|$600/$45 per year = 13.3 years|
Overpriced: Bradford White Aerotherm
Coming in last place is the Bradford White AeroTherm. If you read any of the sections above, youll already know why we think the Bradford White heat pump is the worst option on the market.
At $2,055 for a 50 gallon heat pump water heater, the Bradford White is $383 more expensive than the Rheem and $256 more expensive than the AO Smith.
Youd expect that for another couple hundred bucks the Bradford White would come with a longer warranty. But thats not the case. In fact, its 4 years shorter than the Rheem and the AO Smiths 10 year warranties.
If you want a 10 year warranty youll have to shell out another $299 bringing the total cost $2,384 .
Harder to find in stores
Bradford White hot water heaters are notoriously hard to buy as a homeowner. Thats because unlike Rheem and AO Smith that sell their hot water heaters at Home Depot and Lowes, Bradford White only sells their water heaters through supply houses and plumbers.
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Buying Your Hybrid Electric Water Heater
Hybrid electric water heaters are available from every major manufacturer, including well-known brands like Rheem, A.O. Smith, Reliance, and Bradford White. Visit our retailer and installer locators to find options near you.
In addition to any promotions you might find at the store, you can save even more through utility rebates check here to see offers near you.
Todays Heat Pump Water Heaters Are More Advanced Than Ever
Recent advances in heat pump technology have paved the way for todays ENERGY STAR certified electric hybrid water heaters. They generate lots of hot water at a fraction of the cost of standard electric water heaters. In fact, ENERGY STAR certified heat pump water heaters can save a household of four an estimated $425 per year and over $3,700 over the life of the equipment. Many available models come with 10-year manufacturer warranties for added peace of mind.
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Getting Heat Pump Installation Quotes
Before hiring a heat pump installer and signing a contract, be sure to:
- Get at least three in-person estimates to compare.
- Ask for recommendations from family, friends, and neighbors.
- Read reviews and check out their previous work on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau .
- Make sure they are licensed, insured, and bonded.
- Choose a company that’s been in business for at least 5 years.
- Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.
- Ask for a full itemized contract in writing in case of a dispute.
- Compare warranties on labor and equipment.
- Ask for an estimate of annual operating costs.
- Are they experienced and certified to determine the best system size for your home?
- Are they willing to answer any questions you have?
- Avoid making large payments upfront. Never pay in full or in cash, and come up with a payment schedule for work completed.
Get free estimates on HomeGuide from trusted heat pump installers:
How Much Does It Cost To Run A Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater
Hybrid heat pump water heaters use less power than conventional hot water heaters far less, in most cases. Since hybrid hot water heaters are about three times more efficient than conventional electric models, if your conventional hot water heater costs $35 a month to run, a hybrid model will only cost about $9.50 a month.
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Our First Netzero Home Renovation Moving The Heat Pump Water Heater Into The Garage
This was an 80s wood frame house where the two-car garage had a small entryway into the house itself. In that entryway were both the washer and dryer and the original conventional water heater next to them.
So basically, the water heater was inside the house.
Knowing that heat pump water heaters make noise, I really didnt want the new one inside the house, plus it would be a lot cleaner looking if it was out of the room.
The best place for it to go was in the corner of the garage. This way the noise wouldnt bother anyone, and it also took the very hot air out of the garage itself to put into the water.
Heat pump water heaters emit cool air, just like an air conditioner, so it was perfect to help cool down the garage. They take the heat of the air, heat the water with it, and then vent the cold air back out. Its pretty awesome technology.
So for the installation, I got some bids, which included moving it from the laundry room to the garage, about 30 feet away.
I was frankly being cheap on the project because I had so much work to do . I got bids anywhere from $650 to $1,500 for the labor and of course, went for the $650 one. With materials, it probably was another $200 for that, plus the water heater itself .
They are installing it in the corner of the garage, having to run new plumbing and electrical wire.
Its been almost two years since that installation, and Im happy to say I havent had a single problem.