Heat Pump Hot Water Heaters: Frequently Asked Questions
Water heating is one of the costliest sources of energy consumption for Vermont households, typically costing at least $400 annually.
Heat pump water heaters can cost half as much to operate as traditional electric resistance water heaters, and can save over $1,800 over the lifetime of the unit. Not only do they heat water, heat pump water heaters also air condition and dehumidify the space around them. They are called “hybrids” because in addition to a heat pump they also have traditional electric resistance heating elements for times when demand exceeds the heat pump’s ability to produce heat.
Heat pump water heaters use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. Therefore, they can be two to three times more energy efficient than conventional electric resistance water heaters.
Who should consider a heat pump hot water heater?
If you have an electric water heater that has passed its warranty or you have a traditional boiler with no external hot water storage tank, it’s worth considering a heat pump water heater.
Where should I install my heat pump hot water heater?
Heat pump water heaters require installation in locations that remain in the 40֯–90֯ F range year-round and provide at least 1,000 cubic feet of air space around the water heater. Install them in a space with excess heat, such as a furnace room. Heat pump water heaters will not operate efficiently in a cold space, as they tend to cool the spaces they are in. Heat pump water heaters are as loud as a dehumidifier, so they are best installed in an unoccupied room. You should also keep in mind that you’ll need a place to drain the condensate from the unit. This can be pumped outside or passively drained into a sink, washing machine drain, or floor drain lower than the heat pump condensate port.
How much do they cost?
Heat pump water heater systems typically have higher initial costs than conventional storage water heaters. However, they have lower operating costs, which can offset their higher purchase and installation prices.
Are there rebates available?
If you purchase a new heat pump hot water heater between now and March 31, 2017 you are eligible for a $600 rebate from Efficiency Vermont.