Mike Dunn: Hi! I am Mike Dunn with Stiebel Eltron. Today we are going to discuss heat pump hot water heaters and the incredible savings they can produce for consumers.
In April 2015, the Department of Energy mandated a new energy standard that effectively prohibited electric water heaters larger than 55 gallons, unless they are heat pump water heaters. Heat pump water heaters while more expensive, produce energy savings so great that payback is very quick regardless of the cost of the heat pump water heater.
In addition to energy savings, many tons of carbon pollution will be eliminated. For years, a hot water heater was considered to be high-efficiency if its energy factor was close to 1 which means that a 100% of the energy used by the water heater goes into the hot water. Tankless electric units for example have an energy factor of 0.
98 or 0.
99; the very best condensing gas tankless units are around 0.
95, pretty good, yes. Heat pump hot water heaters have energy factors greater than 2 to as high as around 3, that means a heat pump water heater turns each unit of energy it uses into 2-3 times that amount of hot water and in warm humid climates like the Southern US, efficiencies can go as high as 6, thats many times more efficient than a conventional water heater.
The various heat pump water heaters from different manufacturers do have differences. Here are few things to look for. First, what is the overall reliability and heat pump experience from each company? This technology may be new for some manufacturers and they may not have the experience with long-term reliability. Second, look for a heat pump water heater with good insulation; as with any water heater it doesnt pay to heat the water just to lose the energy and standby losses. And finally, look for a quiet heat pump water heater. The heat pump makes noise roughly equivalent to a refrigerator or a freezer.
Heat pump water heaters can easily replace a regular tank; plumbing connections are mostly the same except heat pump water heaters either condensate drain for the moisture removed from the air. Because the heat pump water heater uses the heat and moisture in the air around it to heat the water they must be installed in a space with enough air.
Installation in a basement works very well. And a side benefit is some dehumidification of the basement. In warmer climates, garage installations is an excellent choice and utility room installation works well as long as there is sufficient air and noise is considered.
Installing a heat pump water today is a smart choice. It can pay for itself in energy savings and as little as 3 years. Installing a new heat pump water heater before your old water heater springs a leak is even smarter, both because it will save you money and it will prevent trouble.