What’s a Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater? And How Can It Save You Money?

Heat pump water heater diagram

The water heater accounts for 20-25% of the total energy use in an average Orange County home. This percentage may be even higher in an age of spiking energy prices; natural gas is no longer a “cheap” alternative.

We may never return to the good old days of (relatively) inexpensive energy. More than ever, homeowners are scrambling to lower their energy bills. Their choice of water heating system is a great place to start, and since the average water heater lasts anywhere from 10-15 years, the time to upgrade may not be far off.

Tankless water heaters are all the rage, but they’re costly to install and may not be suitable for larger, older homes.

Hot water recirculation systems provide instant hot water but do little to save energy. They offer convenience and comfort but not a lighter energy bill.

Enter the hybrid heat pump water heater (HPWH). This technology offers a balance of energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

What’s a Hybrid Water Heater?

A heat pump water heater transfers heat from the ambient air into your water tank instead of burning natural gas or electricity. An HPWH can be up to three times more energy efficient than traditional electric water heaters. It’s much quieter than conventional models; if you’ve ever been disturbed by the sound of your old unit at work, this can be a godsend.

So how much money can you save with an HPWH unit? According to the US Department of Energy, you might expect up to 60% energy savings. You’ll also benefit from knowing you’re helping reduce your carbon footprint.

And if all that weren’t enough, a hybrid heat pump water heater is eligible for a federal tax credit! This makes it even more attractive as an investment in energy efficiency.

So where does the “hybrid” come in? A heat pump water heater doesn’t completely replace your electric water heater but supplements your existing system. It runs on electricity to heat a small tank of water; when there’s not enough energy from the pump, the electric element kicks in. This allows you to get hot water when needed while keeping your energy bills low.

Why Choose a Hybrid Water Heater?

An HPWH for your home or business offers several benefits, including:

  • Lower energy bills: HPWHs can save you hundreds of dollars per year on your electricity bill, especially if you live in a hot and humid climate, where the HPWH can use the ambient air as a heat source.
  • Longer lifespan: HPWHs typically last longer than traditional water heaters, up to 15 years or more, thanks to their durable components and advanced controls.
  • Eco-friendliness: HPWHs produce less greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution than fossil fuel-powered water heaters, and they can help you qualify for tax credits, rebates, or other incentives from local or federal government programs.
  • Versatility: HPWHs can be installed indoors or outdoors, in tight spaces or basements, and can be integrated with solar panels, timers, or smart thermostats to optimize their performance and convenience.

Selecting the Right Hybrid Water Heater

Choosing the right HPWH for your needs and budget can be tricky. It pays to consult with a professional installer like Orange Coast Plumbing.

  • Size: Depending on your hot water demand and space availability, HPWHs come in different sizes, from 40 to 120 gallons or more.
  • Efficiency: HPWHs have different Energy Factor (EF) ratings, which indicate how much hot water they can produce per unit of electricity consumed. The higher the EF, the more efficient the HPWH.
  • Climate: HPWHs work best in moderate to hot climates, where the ambient air temperature is between 40 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a cold or dry climate, you may need a backup heater or a dual-fuel system.
  • Cost: HPWHs can cost more upfront than traditional water heaters due to their advanced technology and components. However, they can pay for themselves over the years, thanks to their energy savings and durability.

How Much Maintaintenance Does a Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater Need?

An HPWH requires less frequent flushing and cleaning than a traditional water heater, and it has fewer components that can wear out or malfunction. However, you should still follow some basic tips to prolong the life and efficiency of your HPWH, such as:

  • Checking the air filters and cleaning or replacing them if they are dirty or clogged
  • Inspecting the condensate drain and clearing it if it is blocked or leaking
  • Testing the pressure relief valve and ensuring that it works properly
  • Flushing the tank periodically to remove sediment and mineral buildup
  • Checking the water temperature


A hybrid heat pump water heater is an excellent investment for any homeowner looking to save money and reduce their carbon footprint. Its energy efficiency, cost savings, eco-friendliness, long lifespan, and versatility make it a superior choice to traditional water heaters. With the numerous benefits of a hybrid heat pump water heater, you can enjoy hot water without the high energy costs and environmental impact.

The professionals at Orange Coast Plumbing can install and maintain your HPWH, so call us today to learn more about how this amazing energy-saving technology can work for you! All consultations are free.

Frequently Asked Qustions about Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heaters

Q: How does a hybrid heat pump water heater work?

A: A hybrid heat pump water heater uses electricity and heat pump technology to heat water. The heat pump extracts heat from the surrounding air or ground and transfers it to the water to heat it.

Q: How much can I save on my energy bill with a hybrid heat pump water heater?

A: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a hybrid heat pump water heater can save up to 60% on water heating costs compared to a traditional electric water heater.

Q: Are hybrid heat pump water heaters expensive to install?

A: Although the initial cost of purchasing and installing a hybrid heat pump water heater may be higher than a conventional one, the long-term cost savings make it a worthwhile investment.

Q: How long do hybrid heat pump water heaters last?

A: With proper maintenance, hybrid heat pump water heaters can last up to 15 years, which is double the lifespan of a conventional water heater.

Q: Are hybrid heat pump water heaters eligible for tax credits?

A: Yes, hybrid heat pump water heaters are eligible for a federal tax credit. Check with your local and state governments for additional incentives.

Q: Is a hybrid heat pump water heater right for my home?

A: The best way to determine if a hybrid heat pump water heater is the right choice for your home is to consult an experienced plumber. They can assess your needs and help you decide which type of water heater would be best for you.

Q: Do hybrid heat pump water heaters require special installation?

A: Yes, hybrid heat pump water heaters require professional installation by a licensed plumber. The installation process is more complicated than installing traditional water heaters.



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