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Water Heaters

Water Heaters

What is a heat pump water heater?

Heat pump water heaters pull heat from the surrounding air and transfer it into water storage tanks. It takes substantially less energy to transfer heat than to generate heat. Electric resistance heating elements are used to generate heat in backup situations when hot water is in peak demand. Due to this hybrid system, heat pump water heaters are often 2-3 times more efficient than traditional electric resistance water heaters.

In addition to providing hot water, heat pump water heaters can help dehumidify your home. When heat pump water heaters pull heat from the surrounding atmosphere, they leave cool, dry air in its place. Locating a heat pump water heater in damp areas, such as basements, can improve the quality of air and the comfort of your home.

Heat pump water heaters produce a low humming sound. Although this humming typically does not exceed 40 decibels (dB), it can reach up to 60 dB on colder days. A boiler often has the same noise level as a heat pump, with a range of 40-60 dB. For perspective, 40 decibels is comparable to a quiet office area or light rain; 60 dB is akin to the noise created by an electric toothbrush.Heat pump water heaters are good for households that:

  • Want a more efficient water heater;
  • Want to reduce their carbon footprint;
  • Have a storage location that remains in the 40º to 90ºF range year-round (heat pump water heaters operate best in spaces with excess heat, such as a furnace room); and
  • Have storage capacity that provides 700 to 1,000 cubic feet of air space around the water heater.

What is an electric resistance water heater?

Electric resistance water heaters use electric resistance heating elements to generate heat. They do not have space requirements and are often less expensive than heat pump water heaters. However, they are less energy efficient than heat pump water heaters.Unlike gas water heaters, there is no combustible fuel required to operate an electric resistance water heater.

Electric resistance water heaters are good for households that:

  • Want to switch from gas to electric, and desire lower installation costs;
  • Have confined spaces in which to store the water tank;
  • Are located in extremely cold climates or want to store water heater outside.

In addition to Air Source Heat Pumps and electric resistance water heaters, the Department of Energy has additional information about other types of water heaters.

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