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Sep 13, 2023 11:00:27 AM by Logan Donahue

Should I Buy a Heat Pump Water Heater?

Heat pumps have revolutionized the heating and cooling industry and emerged as a powerful ally in sustainable energy. One form of heat pump systems is the heat pump water heater, which combines the benefits of heat pump technology with the essential function of water heating. In this blog, we will discuss the workings of heat pumps, water heaters, and explore the pros and cons of combining the two.

Heat Pumps

A heat pump is a device that transfers heat from one place to another using a small amount of energy. A heat pump can extract heat from the surrounding environment (air, water, or ground) and transfer it to another location such as a building or a water heater. Unlike traditional heating methods that generate heat by burning fuel, a heat pump works by moving heat, making it highly efficient and environmentally friendly.Learn More About Heat Pumps

Key features and value of heat pumps

Energy Efficiency
Heat pumps can achieve remarkable energy efficiencies, with some models delivering more than four times the energy they consume. By extracting heat from the environment instead of generating it, heat pumps can significantly reduce energy consumption, resulting in lower utility bills and reduced carbon emissions.
Heat pumps can provide both heating and cooling functions, making them suitable for various applications, including space heating, air conditioning, and water heating. This versatility allows homeowners and businesses to meet their heating and cooling needs with a single system.

Water Heaters

Water heaters play a crucial role in our daily lives by providing hot water for domestic activities such as bathing, cooking, and cleaning. Traditional water heaters typically rely on the combustion of fossil fuels (natural gas or oil) or electrical resistance to heat water stored in a tank. While effective, these methods often consume significant amounts of energy and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Water heating accounts for 13 percent of residential energy use in the United States and is the second-biggest consumer of household energy. 

Heat Pump Water Heaters

A heat pump water heater, also known as a hybrid water heater, employs heat pump technology to heat water efficiently. Instead of relying solely on electricity or fossil fuels, these innovative devices extract heat from the surrounding air or ground and transfer it to the water. The process involves compressing and expanding a refrigerant, which absorbs and releases heat, ultimately raising the water temperature. This process alone renders heat pump water heaters about three times more energy-efficient than a conventional electric water heater, depending upon the kind of heater. 
How does a heat pump hot water heater work?

Benefits of Heat Pump Water Heaters

Energy Efficiency
Heat pump water heaters are significantly more energy-efficient than traditional water heaters, allowing users to save on utility bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, they can be up to three times more efficient than conventional electric water heaters.

Reduced Environmental Impact
By relying on renewable energy sources and consuming less electricity, heat pump water heaters contribute to reducing carbon emissions and mitigating environmental impact. This makes them an eco-friendly alternative for those seeking sustainable solutions.

Cost Savings
While the initial cost of purchasing and installing a heat pump water heater may be higher than that of conventional models, the long-term savings in energy bills can offset this investment. Over time, the reduced energy consumption can lead to substantial cost savings, making heat pump water heaters a financially sound choice.

Durability and Longevity
Heat pump water heaters are designed to be durable and have a longer lifespan compared to traditional models. With proper maintenance, they can offer reliable hot water for many years, providing peace of mind and a solid return on investment.

Are there drawbacks of a heat pump water heater? 

Temperature limitation
Heat pump water heaters are less efficient when placed in a cold space, since they tend to cool the space they are in. This means that in order to work effectively, heat pump water heaters work best in places with a year-round temperature range of 40º to 90ºF. Installing them in a space with excess heat, such as a furnace room, will increase their efficiency.
Space consideration
A heat pump water heater also requires at least 1,000 cubic feet (28.3 cubic meters) of air space around it. They cannot be placed in a closed off, unventilated space like a closet.
Less efficient in colder temperatures
During the colder months, heat pump water heaters do not function at their optimum performance, or may be inadequate to meet a larger household’s hot water needs. They may need to be complemented by a storage or demand water heater, or utilize traditional electric elements in the tank rather than the heat pump.
Higher upfront costs
Heat pump waters have a much higher price tag than conventional hot water heaters. However, tax rebates and incentives can lower some of the upfront cost, and the long-term savings more than make up for the initial cost.

Should I buy a heat pump water heater?

An ideal person for a heat pump hot water heater would be someone who prioritizes energy efficiency and sustainability in their home. Here are some characteristics that make a person well-suited for a heat pump hot water heater:


Environmentally Consciousness

The person values reducing their carbon footprint and is committed to using energy-efficient appliances that contribute to a greener lifestyle.


Energy Efficiency Seeker

They are interested in maximizing energy efficiency and reducing utility bills by adopting advanced technologies and appliances that use less energy.


Long-term Investment Mindset

They understand the long-term cost savings and benefits of investing in a heat pump hot water heater, as it can result in substantial energy savings over time.


Homeowner or Long-term Resident

Heat pump hot water heaters are most suitable for homeowners or individuals who plan to stay in their current residence for an extended period. This allows them to fully reap the benefits and return on investment associated with the system.


How Much Money Can I Save on a Heat Pump Water Heater?

On average a family of four can save around $4,500 over the lifetime of the unit. Don’t wait for your old water heater to break! Replace it now with an energy-efficient hybrid water heater and take advantage of Pepco’s $700 rebate. Energy Star Systems are available to claim 30% of their project cost up to $2,000.


Heat pump water heaters offer a sustainable and efficient solution for meeting our hot water needs. By harnessing the power of heat pumps, these devices minimize energy consumption, reduce environmental impact, and provide significant cost savings. 
To learn more about what type of water heater is best for your home, fill out the form below! ECI will provide you with a free in-home estimate to see what system best suits your family's needs.
Contact ECI Comfort

If you live in the Delaware Valley/Greater Philadelphia area and would like to find comfort within your home, visit our website or give us a call at 215 - 245 - 3200  to learn more.

This entry was posted in Heat Pump, Tankless Water Heater, Water Heater

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