In May 2021, most residential electricity customers in Alameda County were placed on Time of Use rates as part of a statewide transition to support more renewable energy. The transition included a year of bill protection, which has now concluded.Learn more
The importance of having a good water heater
When it’s time to replace your water heater, one option to consider is an energy-efficient heat pump water heater, and there are several good reasons to do so:
Heat pump water heaters last longer. A heat pump water heater can last anywhere from 13 to 15 years. The longer life expectancy, combined with the energy savings make a heat pump water heater a great investment.
Heat pump water heaters are versatile. Multiple settings and programmable options, such as vacation mode, that help you save energy, even when you’re away.
Heat pump water heaters are energy efficient and save energy. Heat pump water heaters consume as much as 63% less energy than their traditional electric water heaters.
This is why many homeowners are switching to electric heat pump water heaters.
Additional benefits of switching to a heat pump water heater technology
Never light the pilot on your water heater again!
No gas leaks or other toxic emissions
Clean, safe, all-electric technology
Got Solar? Heat your water using the power of the sun!
Heat pump water heaters offer the potential for zero greenhouse gas impacts when paired with solar photovoltaics (PV) or 100% renewable electricity.
Act now and take advantage of up to $3,100 in rebates and incentives towards the purchase and installation of a new heat pump water heater.
How a heat pump water heater works
Heat pump water heaters (HPWH) pull heat from the surrounding air to heat the water, rather than relying on electricity or gas. In other words, they move energy instead of generating it.
A fan mounted on the top of the unit pushes room air across a radiator-like grid of condenser coils filled with liquid refrigerant in a closed system of tubing. The refrigerant has a low boiling point, and the air’s heat raises the liquid’s temperature enough to turn it to a gas. A compressor then increases the pressure of the gas, further raising its temperature.
A pump circulates the tubes filled with hot compressed gas down and around the cool water in the heater’s tank. The heat from the hot compressed gas moves toward the cool water, raising its temperature and cooling the gas back to a liquid where it is then pumped back to the radiator, and the process begins again.
Most heat pump water heaters are actually hybrid water heaters
Under most conditions, heat pump water heaters don’t actually generate heat. So, when you’re using a lot of hot water, a hybrid water heater switches to electric-resistance heating to ensure supply. Heat pump water heaters are more energy efficient because they use less energy to heat water compared to natural gas water heaters and conventional electric-resistance water heaters.
View and manage energy usage, adjust the water temperature, and change operation mode—remotely!
Features and settings
Energy-saving programming allows you to heat water during off-peak hours at lower energy costs and will store enough hot water for your peak-hour needs.
Some models include automated leak detection to alert you when a leak has occurred and will even shut off the water valve to prevent damage.
Four operating modes
Heat Pump Only—Maximizes energy efficiency and savings by only using the heat pump to heat water.
Hybrid—This setting uses a combination of heat pump and backup electric heating elements. This setting is ideal for households that use a lot of hot water, providing energy-efficient water heating with sustained heat.
Electric Only—This high-demand setting is the least energy-efficient, using only the electric element to heat water. Generally used as a temporary mode.
Vacation Mode (not available on all models)—Save energy when away from home by placing the unit in “sleep” mode until you return.
If you have solar, a heat pump water heater can save you money by using your solar-generated electricity to heat water during peak solar times, then store it for later use.
If you’re on a time-of-use (TOU) rate, time your water heater to heat up during off-peak times so the heat pump water heater uses the lowest-cost electricity available to heat your water.
All-electric customers: If you’re currently using electric resistance water heaters to heat your water, a heat pump water heater is a great option for reducing your bills.
The latest technology
There is a wide range of heat pump water heater models with energy requirements ranging from hardwired service (240V) to easy-to-install plug-in replacement units (120V).
Newer models are designed to run on either a dedicated 120-volt circuit or a shared circuit that also powers other devices. You would not be forced to upgrade your panel. There are some tradeoffs to consider: reduced voltage means it could take longer to heat water.
Home Energy Advisors—a FREE service available to EBCE customers
Home Energy Advisors are certified energy-efficiency professionals who will work with you to determine if a heat pump water heater is right for you. They can help you:
Find a certified contractor—and also review their bids for you.
Inform you of available financing options for your project.
Assist you to procure up to $3,100 in rebates and incentives for your project.
The home energy advisors are offered through BayREN do not work for installation contractors and are able to provide unbiased advice.
Benefits of a heat pump water heater
MAXIMUM ENERGY EFFICIENCYElectric heat pumps consume 3X less energy than a natural gas heat pump to produce the same quantity of heat.
HOME RESALE VALUEInstalling a heat pump water heater can increase the value of the average home by $10,400 to $17,000. (1)
CAN BE POWERED WITH RENEWABLE ENERGYIf you have solar, you can use solar-generated electricity to heat water during peak solar times then store it for later use.
LONGEVITYHeat pump water heaters have a longer lifespan (13 to 15 years) than conventional natural gas water heaters (8 to 12 years), making them a great investment.
ENERGY SAVINGS OPTIONSMany heat pump water heaters have a control panel that lets you select temperature and control operational modes, providing additional energy savings.
REDUCE GREENHOUSE EMISSIONSHeat pump water heaters result in lower greenhouse gas emissions than using a traditional electric resistance or fossil fuel water heater.
(1) Shen, X., Liu, P., Qiu, Y. et al. Estimation of change in house sales prices in the United States after heat pump adoption. Nat Energy 6, 30–37 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-020-00706-4. Download citation
EBCE can help you save money when upgrading to a heat pump water heater
Up to $3,100 in incentives are available now to assist with installation of your new heat pump water heater
Your Home Energy Advisor will walk you through the available rebates for your project and assist you with preparing and submitting the required forms—all at no cost and no commitment.
Is a heat pump water heater right for you?
Heat pump water heaters offer a lot of benefits, but here are some things to consider before installing a new system:
• Electrical system requirements
• Space requirements
This can be a lot to navigate!
Apply today to get matched with a local Home Energy Advisor to help you get the most on your investment. Our energy advisors can help you determine if a heat pump water heater is right for you, and to guide you through the process. At no cost to you! Our home energy advisors do not work for installation contractors and are able to provide unbiased advice.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is it expensive to install a heat pump water heater?
Heat pump water heaters are more expensive to install than a gas water heater—at least 20% more expensive. However, HPWHs recover their cost during its life, due to low operating costs—especially when combined with solar panels. If you can afford it, a heat pump model might be a wise investment, but it won’t be in everybody’s budget.
- How do I know if a heat pump water heater is a good match for me?
Heat pump water heaters offer a lot of benefits, but here are some things to consider before installing a new system, including electrical system requirements, space requirements, ventilation and more.
A Home Energy Advisor can help guide you through the process. If you are a good match for a heat pump water heater, they can also help you find a contractor, apply for rebates and notify you of financing options.