Which Heat Pump Water Heater to Use?
In many applications, Energy Star qualified heat pump water heaters offer a huge advantage over other options for heating hot water. Heat pumps allow you to shut off your oil boiler for 6 months a year, and reduce the need to run your dehumidifier. Most people switching from oil to a heat pump water heater save over $750 per year. If you are replacing a standard electric water heater, plan on saving $280 or more per year.
To make a decision, it’s important to understand how a heat pump works. All heat pump water heaters on the market are hybrids, which means they have resistive electric back up in case the heat pump alone can’t keep up with the hot water demand. The reason for this is that the heat pump, by itself, is slow to make hot water. However, the heat pump is between 2 to 5 times more efficient than resistive electricity, depending on the temperature and humidity of the room (they run more efficiently in warm moist conditions).
The resistive element is located about 1/3rd down from the top of the tank. That means that when cold water has reached the top third of the tank, the electric element will kick on, and the efficiency of the heat pump will drop significantly.
Air Generate is a company we recommend. They are dedicated to heat pump water heater technology. What we love about the Air Generate is that they have the quietest heat pump water heat pump water heater on the market, the only stainless steel tank and the second highest Energy Factor. Coming in at 2.4, the Air Generate is just behind the Stiebel Eltron HPWH at 2.5. The stainless steel tank comes with a limited lifetime warranty. They have two sizes, a 66 gallon and a 80 gallon tank, as well as an add-on. Unless you need more than 80 gallons of stored hot water, we recommend the Air Generate due to the combination of quietness, efficiency, and the Stainless Steel Tank. A typical installation runs between $3,400 for the 65 gallon up to $4,000 for the 80 gallon.
Be advised that there are less expensive heat pumps on the market. We even offer a couple alternatives that are slightly less expensive, however, our first choice is the AirGenerate AirTap.