May 17, 2019
Rheem Proterra Hybrid Hot Water Heater

By Brian Gray

With ever-increasing energy costs it's important for Vermonters to be informed about new technologies and energy saving appliances. Before you just replace your aging or broken hot water heater with a new one of the same variety, consider a Heat Pump Water Heater.

You may be familiar with heat pumps that heat and cool your home, but a little-known fact is that the same technology can be used to heat hot water – using two to three times less energy than traditional electric resistance water heaters.

Think of a heat pump hot water heater as a refrigerator in reverse. A refrigerator takes cool air from the surrounding air and pushes it into the fridge to keep your food cold or frozen.  A stand-alone air-source heat pump water heater pulls heat from the surrounding air and pushes it -- at a higher temperature -- into a tank to heat water.

There are some conditions that are ideal for heat pump hot water heaters.

  • They need to be installed in an area that remains in the 40º–90ºF range year-round with at least 1,000 cubic feet of air space around the water heater.
  • If you install them in a basement space such as a furnace or utility room and exhaust indoors in an area that has a tendency to be damp, you may also notice that it also acts as a dehumidifier for your basement.

Heat pump water heaters on average cost half as much to operate as a traditional electric resistance water heater. For those heating their hot water with a boiler and storing it in a indirect tank, your savings can be even higher.  Not only do they heat the water, but heat pump water heaters also air condition and dehumidify the space around them. Plus, in 2019, they come with up to a $600 rebate from Efficiency Vermont.

Selecting a Heat Pump Water Heater

Heat pump water heater systems typically have higher initial costs than conventional storage water heaters. However, they have lower operating costs, which can quickly offset their higher purchase and installation prices.

Before buying a heat pump water heating system, here are some questions to ask your prospective installer:

  • What size hot water heater is ideal for your household use?
  • What fuel type is best for your location and budget?
  • What is the heater’s energy efficiency rating?
  • What are my overall installation costs?

At the Energy Co-op, we’ve been installing heat pump hot water heaters for over 5 years. Our experienced technicians can guide you through the selection and installation process, be sure that any available rebates, warranties or discounts are applied to your purchase and be there for follow up when you need service or advice in the future.

It’s an easy solution that pays off big in savings, comfort and plenty of guilt-free hot showers for the whole family.