Have you heard of this yet? It’s a fairly new concept – works like an AC but instead of dumping heat outdoors, it puts it into the water. In addition, it blows cool air out and cools the space in the surrounding area of the tank.
The amount of electrical energy needed to create hot water is greatly reduced – it extracts up to 80% of energy from the ambient air around the unit. So, place it in the warmest spot you can to get the greatest efficiency:
- In warmer climates, it’s good to place the unit in the garage, so it will take heat from the outside air.
- In colder climates, you can place the unit in the basement, where it will act as a dehumidifier as well – you’ll have hot water at a discount + a dry basement!
This is considered a ‘hybrid’ heater because it uses 2 different sources to heat the water – the Heat Pump as the primary source, and an Electric Heating Element as a secondary source (kicks in if additional hot water is needed). An 80 gallon tank, for example, is designed so 50 gallons of hot water can be drawn before the backup element is needed. This is perfect for a family of 5-6.
This is as easy to install as a regular water heater – but less than half the cost to operate. You get instant energy savings – it can use as little as 2-3 kWh/day to heat water. That’s 60-80% more efficient than a regular water heater! Even better- the unit can be powered by a small PV array to be completely renewable! (Otherwise the water heater requires a 240 VAC electrical service).
State and federal rebates make this concept even more attractive- payback can be as little as 2 years! Check your local utility or state energy office to see if a rebate is available where you live.