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Why a heat pump water heater works for your home

Many homes rely on traditional gas or electric powered water heaters for bathing, laundry, and dishwashing. Hot water is something that we can often take for granted until one morning we wake up to a tepid shower and realize that our trusty old water heater has finally let us down. What you may not know however is that the traditional water heater in your home has been letting you down for a lot longer than that by being consistently inefficient and costly. In fact, nearly 20% of the average single family home’s energy costs are spent on water heating.

If you’ve been considering making the switch to a heat pump water heater, read on to see how one can benefit your home, wallet, and the environment.

What makes a heat pump water heater different?

Traditional water heaters use gas or electric energy to generate heat. However, heat pump water heaters operate similarly to your refrigerator and heat pump home heating and cooling systems. Heat is delivered to the water heater’s storage tank by moving it from the air. This process allows you to get $3.00 worth of heat in your tank for every $1.00 spent on electricity.

What are the benefits of a heat pump water heater?

Efficiency is the biggest benefit of installing a heat pump water heater in your home. ENERGY STAR, hybrid heat pump water heaters are three times more efficient than traditional electric water heaters and up to five times more efficient than a natural gas water heaters. On top of that, you can expect a heat pump water heater to last longer than a traditional water heater: up to 10 to 15 years versus 8 to 12 years – with some of the longest warranties in the business.

Safety is also a consideration when thinking of the benefits of heat pump water heaters. Unlike traditional natural gas water heaters, you don’t have to worry about protecting your family from potential hazardous gas leaks. Heat pump water heaters are much easier on the environment by saving on greenhouse gas emissions compared to gas or less efficient products.

Lastly, the all-important cost savings are a large benefit. While there are upfront costs with the purchase and installation of a heat pump water heater, the ultimate savings on your energy bills will be a solid return on your investment over time.

What are some factors to consider?

If your water heater is currently in your basement or garage, your home is ideally suited to switching to a heat pump water heater.  Other locations in the home can work too, but keep the following in mind:

  • Heat pump water heaters require airflow, as they take the heat out of the air to heat the water.
  • Small utility closets with insufficient ventilation will require some careful planning, such as ducting the water heater to the outside or adding high and low louvered vents to the closet.

Heat pump water heaters are best used in homes that have moderate to high usage. This means that the more hot water you use, the greater the savings you will see, making these a great investment for families.

A final factor to consider is to use this opportunity to make other efficiency investments when you’re installing a heat pump water heater. Efficient systems build on one another, allowing you get the biggest bang for your buck. For example, consider upgrading your showerheads to WaterSense fixtures and your washing machine and dishwasher to ENERGY STAR models. Having efficient models working in unison will optimize the value of your home’s new upgrades. 

How to get started

As with any home improvement project, getting multiple bids and working with an experienced, reputable contractor is always advised. Make sure to ask your contractor about a City Light discount on your heat pump water heater. An installer who purchases a tier 3 or 4 qualified model from a participating distributor can get you a $500 rebate.

If you’re handy and feel comfortable with a small plumbing project, you might join the thousands of customers who have installed their own heat pump water heater.  Now through the end of the year, if you purchase a heat pump water heater at Lowe’s or Home Depot you can download a coupon to take $750 off right at the cash register. If you choose to purchase a qualifying water heater from another source, you can apply for a $500 after-purchase rebate directly from City Light.

We hope this has started you down the path of considering your water heater options. Read more online about City Light’s home energy solutions and see what programs and opportunities you can take advantage of to save energy, money, and the environment.