In the past ten years, we experienced a craze over high-efficiency equipment in homes. This is largely due to skyrocketing and unpredictable energy costs. The most improvements have been in the gas equipment that can be installed and retro fitted into existing structures. But what about those folks that don’t have natural gas or the ability to install a propane tank? A heat pump water heater may be the answer.
Often, those without natural gas or propane heating are using an electric water heater. Although the tankless water heater itself is relatively inexpensive, the energy consumption when it is running is extremely high. Many times, the electrical panel is not conveniently located near the water heater. The cost of removing an old electrical service and running new wiring is not cost effective. So what options do you have?
A Heat Pump/Hybrid water heater is likely the best option for you to reduce your energy footprint. A heat pump water heater operates similarly to a heat pump heating system in these homes. It utilizes the heat in the air around it to be forced over a coil located on the top of the unit. It saps that heat from the air and into the contained refrigerant. The unit then uses it to heat the water in the tank. As an bonus, a heat pump will remove humidity from the surrounding air. If you use a dehumidifier to reduce dampness, it can be removed and save even more on electricity.
The unit will operate in heat pump mode most of the time. The exception is when you have a high demand situation. This can occur when you have many people using the showers in sequence. It will then utilize the internal heating elements to ensure you don’t run out of hot water. Many of the current heat pump water heaters on the market are rated to save at least half the cost of heating water on an annual basis over a conventional tank its size.
The average fifty-gallon electric water heater’s average annual operating cost per energy.gov is roughly $560. Compared to the national average of approximately $200 per year operating cost for a heat pump water heater.
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