Many people are familiar with the heat pump as an energy-efficient way to cool a home, but few people know this same system can be used to heat water in a similar way. A typical water heater is a tank with an electrically powered or fuel source heating element inside. The electricity or fuel heats the element and the water warms to the desired temperature. The heat pump water heater (HPWH) instead moves or exchanges heat with its surroundings. This makes a modern heat pump water heater more efficient than traditional tank water heater models.
“Heat pump water heaters use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. Therefore, they can be two to three times more energy efficient than conventional electric resistance water heaters,” states Energy.Gov, the federal government’s website on energy and appliances.
Think of how a refrigerator works. It takes heat from a confined space and transfers it to the outside. The heat pump water heater works in reverse. It takes heat from outside and moves it into a confined space. The heat is transferred to the water, and the cooler air is exhausted.
The drawback to this is a heat pump water heater is not as efficient in cold weather as it is in warm weather. Manufacturers say the units work best in areas where the temperature is 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit year round. This does not mean the heat pump water heater will not work in areas that have cold winters. They will. The unit just needs to be in a space with what the Energy.Gov website calls “excess heat” like a furnace room. Cool air can still be pumped outside. Additionally, some units come with backup heaters so that when demand is high, electrical coils heat the water.
Need more information about heat pump water heaters or ready to compliment your energy efficient system with a new heat pump water heater? Contact the water heater professionals at Waterheaters.com today and we will help you choose the right heat pump water heater to match your particular needs.