Conservation Corner – April 2022

Is your water heater more than 10 years old? Do you experience rusty water, cold water, rumbling noises, or leaks? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you might be on the road to getting a new one.

In an all-electric home, your water heater can be the second-largest consumer of electricity, up to 20% of your bill, so spending some time researching what solutions are best for you may make sense.

A newer energy-efficient option exists. Heat pump water heaters, also known as hybrid water heaters, use heat pump technology to transfer heat from the surrounding air to water in the tank. This uses as little as one-third of the energy consumed by standard electric water heaters, which generate heat to produce hot water.

Efficiency isn’t the only thing heat pump water heaters have going for them. They are also capable of providing more hot water per hour than similarly sized standard electric water heaters, and they come with long warranties. Based on average home use, the increased efficiency can save you considerable amounts on your utility bills over the heat pump water heater’s lifetime, compared to a conventional electric tank unit.

Because they remove heat from the area where they are installed, they are best for garage or basement installations. Integrated, stand-alone units that work well in these unconditioned spaces can be fitted with intake and/or exhaust ducts for installation in conditioned living spaces as well. There are also “Split” systems with a heat pump compressor that is separate from the tank to provide flexibility in installation locations.

These do cost more compared to a standard electric tank water heater, but they use less power. The simple payback period for heat pump water heaters is typically 2–6 years. Columbia REA does have rebates available to help close the gap on our Rebates page

Benefits of a Heat Pump Water Heater

  • Reduces water-heating energy consumption and operating costs by up to 66% compared to standard electric water heaters.
  • When properly sized, delivers more hot water than a standard electric resistance tank.
  • Can be installed with little or no plumbing work needed.
  • Offers a minimum 10-year manufacturer’s warranty on tank and parts.
  • Many models offer leak detection and Wi-Fi connectivity.

If you have a question about energy efficiency, please email Charlie DeSalvo or call (509) 526-4041