Electric Water Heater vs Heat Pump
Tankless water heaters have taken a lot of attention away from traditional water heaters over the decades. Tankless water heaters are better in terms of energy efficiency, take up less space, and provide an unlimited supply of hot water. While tankless heaters have caught the eye of many homeowners, there is another electric heater on the market that beats the competition: hybrid or heat pump water heaters. Read on as we compare tankless and hybrid water heaters.
Instantaneous water heater
Tankless water heaters run on gas or electricity. They are "on demand" heating options for water. Why is this happening? Because the unit does not have a tank that heats up to the desired temperature, it heats the water on demand.
Hybrid heat pump water heater
Hybrid water heaters draw heat from the air in the tank and use a pump and coil system to heat the water before supplying it to faucets, showers and other household appliances. Unlike tankless solutions, hybrids still use a tank to provide hot water to the home.
Pros and Cons of Tankless Hot Water Systems
The benefits of tankless hot water systems are related to energy and space savings, as follows:
1. The unit will not run out of hot water because it heats on demand instead of being supplied from the tank.
2. Tankless offers significant energy cost savings compared to conventional units, but is a good match for such hybrids.
3. Tankless water heaters require less space than conventional and hybrid water heaters.
The downsides of tankless are more focused on the time it takes to heat the water and the initial cost. The disadvantages of tankless water heaters are:
1. The lag time for burner activation is 3 to 8 seconds, resulting in a longer time for the water to heat than typical units.
2. Tankless water heaters cost more to install than hybrid and conventional water heaters and can be an extensive project when switching from one unit type to another.
3. Tankless heaters still require flushing to prevent built-up deposits from compromising the efficiency of the unit, and can be done as a DIY or by seeking a professional plumbing service.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Hybrid Heat Pump Systems
The hybrid system is unique in that it draws from the air surrounding the unit rather than generating its own heat. Not generating heat has the following benefits:
1. When used in warm climates, the operating cost of a hybrid water heater is lower than all other electric water heaters on the market.
2. Hybrid water heaters cost less to install than tankless water heaters.
3. Heat pump hybrids have tax incentives and rebates that can further improve the cost-effectiveness of installation.
4. Hybrid water heaters, similar to tankless units, save energy costs in the long run.
Not every aspect of a hybrid water heater is great. Homeowners in cooler climates don't like a hybrid because it requires too much energy to take in the cold air and heat it. Other disadvantages of electric hybrid heat pumps are:
1. The cost of a hybrid water heater is higher than that of a conventional water heater.
2. Maintenance and installation include regular cleaning of air filters to maintain efficiency and reconfiguration of water pipes to prevent pipe damage and leaks.
3. Heat pump water heaters require 1,000 cubic feet of space to operate, which may not be an option for residents with limited space for hot water installations.
Which water heater should you choose?
When considering space, tankless solutions trump hybrid solutions. In warm climates, hybrid units can extract and heat water from the air using very little energy. In addition, both systems are more energy efficient than conventional water heaters and last longer. The first choice for homeowners and plumbers, hybrid water heaters challenge tankless water heaters with similar energy efficiency and benefits.
Please take your situation into consideration and choose the best type of water heater for your home and household needs.