Like heat pumps, hybrid hot water heaters are having a moment. They’re being billed as smart investments that can be used to reduce energy costs and help homeowners become more energy efficient in the process.
But are they really worth it? They’re not exactly cheap, so for most homeowners they represent a significant investment, which means they need to know if the payoff on the back end is real.
At 128 Plumbing, though, we’re well aware of the pros and cons of these extraordinary units, so we can help you navigate the shopping and buying process and make the best decision for your water heating needs.
How Water Heaters Work
Usually, hot water heaters use either an electric heating element or a gas burner that’s located at the bottom of your tank to heat water.
They normally run for about three hours a day and provide a ready supply of hot water, and the amount of electricity or fuel they use is determined by the setting of your thermostat.
The water they use enters your home via your main water line. After that the fuel or electric heating element does its work, and as it heats water, the hot water rises to the top of the tank. When you turn your hot water tap, that water is available to you at the temperature you’ve already set.
How a Hybrid Water Heater Works
Hybrid hot water heaters basically work the same way, but they integrate smart technology to use one of two fuel sources—electricity or gas.
This makes them far more energy efficient, and in some of these units the smart technology provides multiple operating modes that allows users to determine whether they want lower, more efficient operating costs, or have a ready supply of hot water that’s instantly heated on demand.
In some instances, this smart technology actually provides information to service personnel, be they HVAC techs, plumbers or electricians. This makes them far easier to service, and it also makes it easier to optimize their energy efficiency and evaluate their performance more accurately.
Electric Costs for a Hybrid Hot Water Heater
This depends on the size of your family, your water needs and your ongoing usage, but studies have shown that a hybrid hot water heater can save about $4700 in energy costs over a period of ten years.
To get a foundation number for those savings, most people spend $400-600 a year to operate their electric hot water heater if it’s a standard model with a tank.
Not only that, but most people spend 25 percent of their electric bill heating the water they use on a daily basis.
Can Hybrid Hot Water Heaters Run Using Gas?
Yes! One of the primary benefits of a hybrid hot water heater is their ability to use two fuel sources. One of them is natural gas, and they can also use propane as one of their fuel sources.
Hybrid Hot Water Heater and Your Heat Pump
In most hybrid hot water heaters, a heat pump is at the heart of the system. The heat pump moves heat from the air outdoors into the pump, where it’s absorbed by a refrigerant.
That air is then moved through a compressor to heat it, and after that it goes through a heat exchanger before it heats the water in the tank.
Pros and Cons of a Hybrid Hot Water Heater
The primary advantage of using a hybrid hot water heater is the aforementioned energy savings. In addition, these heaters are built to last twice as long as a traditional tank water heater. They also have better, longer warranties, and no work on the electrical system is required for installation.
The smart technology is another advantage. It gives consumers and homeowners more choices about how much they want their energy costs to be, and it allows them to realize huge savings if they so desire.
The cons of using a hybrid hot water heater are the upfront cost, which can be substantial. This means it can take years for homeowners to recoup that large initial investment.
In addition, hybrid hot water heaters tend to be larger than their conventional counterparts, which means you need to have sufficient space for them in your basement or utility closet.
Finally, if these heaters aren’t used in a hybrid mode, the savings tend to be non-existent. They can be set to operate in automatic mode, however, which means the savings will be there without any operational decisions.
Hybrid Hot Water Heater as a Residential Investment
A hybrid hot water heater is an excellent residential investment. So much so, in fact, that federal and state governments are both offering numerous financial incentives, including substantial rebates, to buy and install one.
So, Are Hybrid Hot Water Heaters Worth It?
To some extent, this is a subjective question, but generally speaking, the answer is yes. Cost is a primary factor—if you can afford the initial outlay for a hybrid hot water heater, then the savings over time makes them more than worth it.
If that up front cost is an issue, however, you might be better served by waiting, as these units should get cheaper over time.
How to Get a Great Hybrid Hot Water Heater from 128 Plumbing
There are many reasons to switch over to a hybrid hot water heater, but there’s a lot involved in the process.
Fortunately, we have the expertise to get you there, not to mention the teams to evaluate your needs, install it correctly, then maintain it effectively and repair the system periodically.
To start the process, call us at The numbers are (888) 419-4233 or (781) 670-3261. We’ll answer your questions and guide you through the process, and we can also tell you about the benefits that come with a hybrid hot water heater.
To get even more information, you can also go to 128Plumbing.com and start a live chat, and we have some great blogs and articles there to help educate you about hybrid hot water heaters and why they may be a great option for you.