Hybrid Water Heaters combine a traditional electric tanked water heater with a heat pump to reduce energy costs. As long at the surrounding temperature is at or above freezing, the heat pump on the heater will draw heat from the surrounding air and transfer it to the water in the tank, thereby greatly reducing fuel consumption.
Capacity: Like traditional tanked water heaters, hybrids heat and store water regardless of whether you plan to use it or not. The typical 50 gallon hybrid water heater has a First Hour Rating (FHR) of 63 gallons, or enough to serve the needs of a 4 bedroom/3 bathroom house.
Efficiency: The operating efficiency of a hybrid water heater is typically 62% higher than a traditional tanked electric water heater. It has an EF rating of 2.35 when operating in hybrid mode, because the heat pump pulls heat out of the air and transfers it to the water in the tank.
Cost at Installation: These high-efficiency water heaters cost significantly more than a traditional water heater, and more than most tankless water heaters. You may be able to reduce the initial cost by taking advantage of manufacturer’s rebates, utility company rebates and Government Tax Credits Programs.
Utility Costs: According to the manufacturers, hybrid water heaters are much cheaper to operate than a traditional water heater and should save the average homeowner over $3,000 on their utility bills during the lifetime of the water heater. These water heaters are so new on the market that there is virtually no data available on repair and maintenance costs. One thing to consider, however, is the fact that while a plumber typically works on water heaters, a HVAC technician usually works on a heat pump. Since this equipment is a hybrid of the two, you may need two different specialists to work on your one water heater.
Safety:To avoid scalding, the water temperature must be reduced at the faucet by adding cold water to the heated water. Features such as thermal expansion tanks must be added to the installed water heater to meet Georgia Plumbing Code for safe operation of the water heater. And, the tank on this water heater will have the same risk of developing a leak as the tank on traditional water heater.
Life Span/Warranty: Hybrid water heaters have not been available long enough for historical data to have been gathered on their expected life span; but, the manufacturers offer a 10 year warranty.
Environmental Benefits: Since hybrid water heaters use a heat pump to draw heat from the air to heat the water, these water heaters use a lot less fuel than a regular tanked water heater. According to the manufacturer, this results in a 62% reduction in CO2 emissions hybrid water heater installed. They are, however, large pieces of equipment that consume large amounts of raw materials and energy during production.