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Heat Pump Water Heaters 101

Heat pump water heaters are more energy efficient than conventional water heaters because they use electricity to move heat around a home instead of directly generating it.

According to, these machines work like the opposite of a refrigerator.

“While a refrigerator pulls heat from inside a box and dumps it into the surrounding room, a stand-alone air-source heat pump water heater pulls heat from the surrounding air and dumps it — at a higher temperature — into a tank to heat water,” they explained.

With that in mind, it is useful to remember that heat pump water heaters need to be installed in rooms with excess heat reaching 40º–90ºF (4.4º–32.2ºC) all year round. Because they remove heat from their surroundings, this type of water heater tend to work better in warmer climates. These tend to lose their efficiency in cold rooms and they make these places all the more cooler.

Initial costs for heat pump water heater systems may be higher than conventional ones but their operational costs can easily offset this.

Before buying a heat pump water heating system, you also need to consider the following:

  • Size and first hour rating
  • Fuel type and availability
  • Energy efficiency (energy factor)
  • Overall costs