Ductless Heat Pump Hot Water Heaters

Did you know that a Ductless Heat Pump can also be used to heat water? I know, amazing, right??

In our last myth busing post about Ductless Heat Pumps, we learned that it is generally easier, and therefore more efficient, to move something than to make something. In that case we were talking about moving heat or cool versus creating it from scratch, the essential principal on which Ductless Heat Pumps operate. This idea translates well for hot water heating systems also. Ductless Heat Pump Water Heaters operate by using electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of using (and in the process wasting) that energy to generate heat directly like your more tradition hot water systems.

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A low-pressure liquid refrigerant is vaporized in the heat pump’s evaporator and passed into the compressor. As the pressure of the refrigerant increases, so does its temperature. The heated refrigerant runs through a condenser coil within the storage tank, transferring heat to the water stored there. As the refrigerant delivers its heat to the water, it cools and condenses, and then passes through an expansion valve where the pressure is reduced and the cycle starts over. This process creates a very efficient system of delivering hot water to your home.

A standard electric water heater has an Energy Factor rating of EF .91, meaning it is approximately 91 percent efficient at converting the heat energy of electricity into heated water. A standard gas water heater has an EF of around .60, with much of the heat from gas combustion and some of the heat from the stored heated water going up the flue. Tankless gas water heaters, which do not have standby heat loss from the tank, do a bit better and achieve EF 85 to EF 89.

*The energy factor is based on site energy use, which is the amount of energy your water heater uses. However, it takes about three times as much source energy (this includes the energy needed to generate and distribute a fuel) to deliver a unit of electricity to the site as gas, since only about 1/3 of the fuel energy that enters the power plant reaches the house. The rest is lost due to inefficiency at the power plant and the power lines. Therefore, a traditional electric water heater that appears to be 50% “better” than a gas one (0.9 Energy Factor versus 0.6 Energy Factor) actually uses more source energy than the average gas water heater.

Heat pump water heaters have energy factors in the range of 2 to 3, meaning that they are capable of getting up to 3 times as much heat out of a given amount of electricity as a standard electric water heater. This translates into at least a 50% (or potentially much more) savings on energy costs from heating water in your home.

So if you are in the market for a new hot water system, or just looking to make your home more energy efficient, it is definitely worth your while to consider a Ductless Heat Pump Hot Water Heater along with your new Ductless Heat Pump. Give us a call to find out more information and learn how you can also take advantage of local utility rebates.

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