In this article we discuss in detail the various aspects of an electric heat pump water heater. Electric heat pump water heaters are inexpensive way to heating water and the source of energy is electricity. The heat is extracted from the atmosphere and moved around for higher energy efficiency and water production.

Heat Pump Water Heater, Rebirth Of An Old Concept?

Did you know that heat pump water heaters have been used for many years? While manufacturers stopped production of this type of water heaters due to lack of parts, and demand from consumers, there has been a significant shift in perspective and demand. Why the sudden shift? It’s because of the escalating price of energy. Moreover, government bodies like EnergyStar have also set specifications for evaluating the performance and efficient of heat pump hot water heaters leading to some of the leading water heater manufacturers to start their production using advanced technology and techniques.

Heat Pump Water Heater Functioning

A heat pump water heater works on the simple principle of sucking in the surrounding air and transferring it to the storage tank for heating. When the thermostat senses that the temperature inside the water tank has fallen below the ‘set point’ the process of grabbing in the atmospheric air is imitated and the fan and compressor of the water heater are energized to do the needful. As the air is taken in, it is passed over a coil that is like a radiator in a car. This coil has a cooling agent, known as refrigerant, which has a temperature lower than that of the air that passes over it. Because of the difference in temperatures, the heat gets transferred from the air to the cooling agent followed by the compressor pumping the cooling agent from the coil to raise the temperature as well as pressure. Now, since the water inside the tank is at a lower temperature than the cooling agent, the heat is quickly transferred from the agent to the water. All this happens in a matter of a couple of minutes or shorter.

Less Energy, More Money Saved With A Heat Pump Water Heater

What you as a consumer need to realize is that heat can be moved much more efficiently and quickly than it can be created. By using a heat pump water heater you can save energy by up to 50% or more. Heat pump water heating units come as standalone or retrofit models that can be appended to your current electric tank water heater.

The reason why heat pump water heater is making a comeback in the lives of Americans is because the spiraling energy costs have lead consumers to opt for cheaper and more energy efficient ways of heating water. An electric heat pump water heater is two times more energy efficient than a traditional electric water heater. Besides that, it is best to use this water heater in warm climates because it also cools and dehumidifies the air in your surroundings.

Types of Heat Pump Water Heaters

There are 3-main types of heat pump water heaters and they are:

1)    Add-on Heat Pump Water Heater – worried you might have to spend a lot of money on in changing your old electric storage water heater for a new heat pump water heater? Don’t be, because an add-on heat pump water heater can be installed together with your current water heating unit and this is known as retrofitting. Your traditional water heater will be converted into a heat pump unit simply by replacing the storage tank’s bottom element.
2)    Drop-In Heat Pump Water Heater – also known as an “integral” heat pump water heater, in this type of water heater, the heat pump is integral to the storage tank and resembles a traditional water heater.
3)   Desuperheaters – this type of heat pump water heating unit is designed to be a small auxiliary heat exchanger that grabs the hot gases released from the central air-conditioning system to heat water. This is a hybrid and highly energy efficient way of heating water.

Comparing & Buying A Heat Pump Water Heater

If you have given your heart to a heat pump water heater based on its stellar qualities and efficient performance, it’s time to buy one! Before you head out, remember these three parameters to compare different HPWH models.

1.    First Hour rating or the demand and supply of hot water at the peak hour for various types of homes.
2.    Energy Factor or EF = ratio of energy input to energy output. The EF for a heat pump water heater ranges from 2 to 2.5, while EF of an electric water heater is around 1. (The higher the EF the better)
3.    COP or heating co-efficient of performance should be checked as it tells you about the ratio of energy to the electrical unit or the consumption.

Top 2 Heat Pump Water Heater Models

GE 50 Gal. Heat Pump Electric Hot Water Heater (GEH50DNSRSA)

Price: $1599.99


1)    EnergyStar® qualified
2)    EF = 2.35
3)    Can reduce operating cost by almost 62%
4)    Saving of $320/year or more
5)    Capable of handing spike in hot water demands
6)    Environment friendly
7)    Easy to install and replace old water heater
8)    Can be fixed to use in-place water and electrical points

A.O. Smith VOLTEX Hybrid Electric Heat Pump Water Heater PHPT-80

Price: $2,499.00


1)    More than 2-times more efficient than a regular electric water heater
2)    Dehumidifies and cools ambient air
3)    Large tank capacity of 80 gal, results in higher savings
4)    Easy to use LCD display screen
5)    EF rating 2.3
6)    Eligible for tax credit up to $1,500
7)    EnergyStar® qualified

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