Heat pump water heaters deliver energy efficiency and solar capability
Heat pump water heaters are among the few tank options that meet new water heater energy efficiency regulations.
In April 2015 regulatory changes to water heaters will have a big impact on the entire industry. After April 16, all water heaters will be required to have higher Energy Factor (EF) ratings.
The new regulation applies to virtually all residential water heating products including gas-fired, oil-fired, electric, tabletop, instantaneous gas-fired and instantaneous electric. Tankless systems already exceed these EF requirements, and all other water heating products manufactured before the DOE mandates take effect can still be bought and installed after the changeover date.
For tank water heaters (used in the majority of U.S. homes), this will mean added insulation and a larger overall size. Currently, the only technology that meets the standard for Large-capacity tanks is heat pump technology, which may require a separate mechanical room in conditioned living space or ductwork to an adjoining room to work properly.
At the 2015 AHR Expo, Mike Dunn, regional sales manager for Stiebel Eltron, reviewed the company's heat pump water heater products.
Dunn explained the Accelera models are engineered to satisfy 90 percent of hot water needs through the use of the heat pump alone. In cases of high demand, one specially designed electric “booster” element is located at the very top of the tank. Positioned near the hot water draw point, the element has been designed and engineered to run as little as possible so that comfort is maintained and savings maximized.
Dunn noted the super-insulated tank keeps water hot in an Accelera during a 2-week vacation for less than $4. Dunn said the “50-gallon” heat pump water heater is actually 58 gallons. The larger capacity combined with a higher maximum temperature setting means a greater volume of hot water is available. Extra tank insulation reduces stand-by losses in order to deliver all the energy savings a heat pump water heater can, in addition to all the hot water comfort a larger tank provides.
Read more about energy saving water heaters.
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