Why Are Heat Pump Water Heaters So Energy Efficient?

Posted by on Mar 3, 2021 in Alternative Water Heating, Water Heater Replacement

One of the biggest challenges with water heating a home is finding a solution that is both good for the environment and saves money to operate. The first of these two challenges has been the most serious to solve.

Both of more typical and long-time standard water heater types, electric and gas, are big energy users. For example, electric water heaters can use the same amount of electricity to run an electric car 16,000 miles or more a year. As for gas hot water heaters, only around 50-60% of the gas used is actually used. The rest can be wasted through venting.

According to Patrick Rogers of the Natural Resources Defense Council:

Currently, water heaters of all types account for 19 percent of U.S. households’ energy consumption—more than cooking and refrigeration combined. Roughly 40 percent of America’s homes are equipped with electric resistance heaters that needlessly draw excessive amounts of energy from the national power grid and contribute to high utility bills. The impact of gas and propane water heaters, now operating in half of all U.S. homes, is even worse: They burn fossil fuels, releasing greenhouse gases and dangerous toxins like nitrogen oxides, which has been linked to numerous respiratory diseases (read more here).

Heat Pump Water Heater Albuquerque

Though more energy efficient ways of producing electricity are being used in different regions of the United States, alternate water heating methods have been tested over the last 15 years. This has lead to the creation of instant water heaters, or tankless water heaters, as well as solar water heaters. Tankless water heaters thankfully, do not need to use gas to constantly keep a 50 gallon storage tank warm, but they still rely on using gas, and use a lot of it. The use of gas is still a leading polluter. Solar water heating, though very good for the environment, as expensive in terms of the equipment. They can need a backup source of hot water for winter seasons in colder locations, and some have needed expensive repairs.

However, the best current solution to these two issues in the past 5 to 10 years has been the use of heat pumps. Why is this? Heat pump water heaters are very efficient! They are 3.5 times more energy efficient than using electric water heaters, and 7 times more efficient than gas water heaters. The difference with heat pump technology is that they do not make heat; rather, they move heat from one place to another. They do rely on electricity, but use far less than a traditional electric water heater. And the technology for making cleaner electricity is advancing better than that for using gas. Equipment cost is far less than solar water heaters. They do cost a little more than traditional electric and gas heaters, but there are rebates for them. A yearly rough estimate cost is around $100 for an average family home.

If you are looking to make your Albuquerque home more energy efficient, we would love to share some information on using a heat pump in your home!