When you turn on your shower or run your washing machine, you're using water that is heated by your home's water heater. There are three main types of hot water heaters:
- Storage tank water heaters
- Tankless water heaters
- Heat pump water heaters (also referred to as hybrid water heaters)
Storage tank water heaters
An insulated tank holds anywhere from 20-80 gallons of water that is kept warm by burning natural gas, fuel oil, propane – which are all fossil fuels – or by an electric resistance heating element.
These water heaters are usually in the basement or garage, and are typically the least efficient option because they use so much energy to keep the tank of water hot. They can be expensive to operate and, if powered by fossil fuels, they also pollute by generating greenhouse gasses, which are bad for the environment.
Tankless water heaters
Water is heated on demand by burning natural gas, fuel oil, propane – which are all fossil fuels – or by an electric resistance heating element.
These water heaters are typically more efficient than their storage tank counterparts because they only use energy to heat water when that water is needed. If powered by fossil fuels, they still generate greenhouse gasses.
Tankless water heaters can be useful if you don't have a lot of space for a water heater and need to place it in a small closet or the like. However, because they're heating water on demand, they require a lot of amperage to operate, meaning you might need a lot of space on your electrical panel to power one.
Heat pump water heater
Heat pump water heaters are also commonly referred to as "hybrid water heaters."
Similar to a storage tank water heater, an insulated tank holds anywhere from 20-80 gallons of water. Instead of creating heat using fossil fuels or electricity, the water is kept warm by extracting heat from the surrounding air and transferring it to the water.
Since it’s moving heat – not creating it – it’s 300-500% times more efficient than even the most efficient storage or tankless water heater.
Heat pump water heaters are cheaper to operate than all the other options, saving you money on your monthly energy bills. Because they are highly efficient and always powered by electricity and never by fossil fuels, they produce way less pollution than other options.
Because they have a tank, they do require more space than tankless water heaters. However, there are models that have an indoor and outdoor component where the indoor element requires less space, making them more versatile.
Some common brands we recommend are:
Heat pump water heaters are eligible for the $2,000 federal tax rebate as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, and are also eligible for many state and local incentives. Reach out to email@example.com to learn more.
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