The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Pros and cons of heat pump water heaters

Heat pump water heater location

Research suggests that heat-pump water heaters are by far the most energy-efficient option for most households. They're approximately three times as efficient as ordinary electric water heaters since they don't create warmth...they merely move heat out of the air and into the water.

Installed water heater(A gas, point-of-use device at each hot-water faucet approaches the same efficiency. But we're not on a natural gas line and didn't have to make that choice. Electric point-of-use hot-water heaters can't come close to heat-pump technology.)

Downsides of a heat-pump water heater include the high initial price tag (but look for rebates!) and the hum of a fan. Heat-pump water heaters also cool the air around them (great in summer, not so great in the winter). And they need a large, open area with a temperature that doesn't drop below 45 Fahrenheit for optimal performance.

I decided to give up a bit of square footage in my writing space for optimal, energy-efficient hot water. More on what we think of our high-class heater in a later post!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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You could rig up a solar collector water heater. A neighbor of mine did that. The downside was that the water was soooo HOT! in the summer that it was difficult to control the temperature.
Comment by Nayan Wed Nov 15 11:38:44 2017
I wonder if you considered the Rheem Marathon water heater. They have a lifetime warranty and were the most efficient 5 years ago when I bought mine.
Comment by Richard George Wed Nov 15 14:58:18 2017

Hi Anna, I have been running the Nyle stand alone heat pump attached to am 80 gal Marathon Hot water tank. I shut the heat pump off during the winter and run on the resistant elements, in the summer I switch back over to the heat pump. There is some maintenance involved like cleaning the air exchange filter, also the condensation drain needs flushed with bleach using a turkey baster but it has been working for eight years now with no problems.

I have been very busy installing a wood gasification boiler and just got it up and running, perhaps you and Mark can drop in sometime when your in my area. Welcome to Ohio.

Comment by zimmy Wed Nov 15 16:52:06 2017
Depending on the premium you pay for the HP water heater plus the additional installation cost (and perhaps maintenance costs) and the cost per Kwh of electricity in your area, you might find that the Discounted Cash Flow analysis shows that the payoff may be never or an extremely long time (10 - 15 years) Given that is true, I tend to go for the simpler system (resistance heat) over the more complex vapor compression machine. <bb
Comment by bb in GA Fri Dec 1 11:17:30 2017

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