• Electricity
  • Home Improvement

Heat Pump Water Heaters.  Are they right for us?

By The Proulx-Coll Household

One of the recommendations on our Energuide report was to install an electric heat pump water heater.  After doing some research, we found a few models for sale at Home Depot.  When contacting their installation services however, we were told they do not install heat pump water heaters!  Why?

First off, the models available are ‘hybrid’ water heaters.  They use both an electric element and a heat pump to heat the water.  When using the heat pump, it transfers heat from the air around the tank into the water, similar to a normal heat pump transferring hot air from outside into the house.  One of the main concerns we heard was that in northern climates, the efficiency of the system is reduced because you are essentially heating your house, and then taking that heat and transferring it into the water.  The system is much more efficient in southern climates where the air around the tank is already very hot (let’s say a garage in Texas).  

We decided to consult our friend Jack from LightSpark and he was (as always) very insightful!  Based on this advice, the system would still lead to more efficiency than a conventional electric hot water tank.  Onward!

We called a second, third and then fourth contractor…no-one would install the unit…Finally we reached Roland Bourbonnais and he was immensely helpful.  He helped us with the research by calling Rheem (manufacturer of the water heater) and gave us the complete installation information, cost and space needed!

That’s when the final blocker appeared.  It turns out that the heat pump unit it on top of the water tanks, making it 79″ high…our basement is quite small…with a maximum of 76″ (and that is between floor beams…).

Looks like we will need other ideas to get down to net zero.  Stay tuned! 

Written by The Proulx-Coll Household

Read more of their stories as they vie with the other seven households to reduce their carbon footprint.

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