Man installing hybrid water heater in house

What Is a Hybrid Water Heater? How It Works, Benefits, Pros & Cons

If you’re looking to replace your damaged water heater, then you must have stumbled upon the words hybrid water heater. While there are several options available, most homeowners are these days opting for this particular water heater instead of the gas-powered traditional ones. However, if you are not sure about investing in this water heater variety, take a look at the following lines to come to a decision. 

What is a hybrid water heater?

This electrical appliance is alternatively called a heat pump water heater, and it comes with the features of a standard quality water heater. The only added advantage is that this heat pump is energy-efficient, which saves you a significant amount of money. It is the best option for you if you reside in a geographic location that has a warmer climate and the appliances in your home are not gas but electric. 

When you hear the word hybrid you might consider that this water heater has the efficiency to run on battery and gas, for instance, but you’ve got it wrong. This heater is a combination of a tankless heater and a standard water heater. Just as a hybrid vehicle combines the mechanical efficiency and components of an electric engine and a gas engine (traditional), this water heater comes with the blended mechanics of electrical and traditional water heaters. 

How a hybrid water heater works

The water heating technology of this heat pump features a reservoir for storing water, but the reservoir does not run continuously. It works through heat absorption from the air outside into the evaporator coil within the appliance. This evaporator coil includes a refrigerant that allows and helps with heat absorption from the air. Eventually, the tank’s heat exchanger causes the water to heat up prior to passing from the tank into the faucets, showers, or other appliances. 

It might help you to under this process better if you consider that the working of this heater is the reverse of how your refrigerator works. So, rather than expel hot air for cooling the contents within a refrigerator, this water heater variety pulls in hot air for heating up the water. Similar to the functioning of a tankless water heater this heat pump doesn’t run continuously, but the tank does fill up if there is an increased use, so that your house doesn’t run out of hot water when most needed. 

Hybrid water heater benefits

So, now that you have a fairly good idea about what is a hybrid water heater, let’s take a look at the advantages of using this water heater variety: 

Savings on electricity bills- The different sources that a hybrid water heater uses includes electricity and a heat pump. This heat pump pulls in hot air from the area surrounding the water heater, while exhausting cooler air. This heat is used for heating up the water, which efficiently lowers the electricity amount required for increasing the temperature of the tank. 

Lowering carbon footprint- A hybrid water heater can also effectively lower the carbon footprint. In fact, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) states that using a heat pump water heater can effectively reduce carbon emissions, thereby lowering the amount of GHG emissions, and moving towards a decarbonized grid. 

Tax credit and rebates- Upgrading to a heat pump water heater can not only save electricity bills but can also help you qualify for state rebates and a federal tax credit. Such financial incentives will prove beneficial, especially when purchasing this water heater comes with an upfront payment.

Pros of using a hybrid water heater

Eco-friendly- This type of water heater reduces carbon footprint of your home because they are greener compared to gas or electric powered water heaters. 

Energy-efficient– Approximately 20 percent of total household energy is consumed by water heating. With this water heater variety, you can easily reduce this expense, while enjoying at least 4 times higher efficiency compared to a regular quality water heater. 

Incentives included- Both governments and utility companies provide mail-in rebates, tax credits, and electricity rates at discounts to homeowners who incorporate this new technology at home. Find out all the options that you can avail by installing a hybrid water heater. 

Cons of using a hybrid water heater

Space-consuming- This water heater variety requires way more space in comparison to a tankless water heater. It comes with a tank, which may not be a viable option if your house has limited space. 

Functions effectively in regions with mild climate- Since this water heater works by pulling in hot air from outside, it will not function properly in a place whose climate is predominantly cold.

Pricing Matters- The expense involved in purchasing a hybrid water heater is comparatively more than most traditional water heaters. Also, you may have to make an extra payment for the installation process. 

Frequently asked questions

Apart from knowing what is a hybrid water heater, there are some other questions about this heater that you might want answered. Here are some common questions answered:

Is a hybrid water heater long-lasting?

When compared to a regular quality water heater that lasts from 8 to 12 years, this water heater type comes with a lifespan of 13 to 15 years. This life expectancy and energy-efficiency of a heat pump water heater makes it worth your investment. 

Does this water heater function properly in the cold season?

Yes, it does work efficiently in the winter season because the appliance comes with elements for electric heating. 

Is a hybrid water heater noisy?

This type of water heater does produce noise that ranges somewhere between 40dB and 80dB. But it is not that loud, especially if you consider that a hairdryer produces 80dB of sound when it runs. Most hybrid water heaters come with a noise level that ranges between 50-55dB, which means that they wouldn’t cause you any form of discomfort. 

In conclusion

The one thing that you must remember while installing this water heater variety in your house is that it must be installed at a spot that has a stable temperature ranging between 40 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because such water heaters heat up water by pulling in the heat from external surroundings. Generally, a heat pump water heater is installed in spaces that have extreme heat like a garage space or a furnace space. With a better understanding of what is a hybrid water heater, it should now be easier for you to decide whether or not to invest in this heater.

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