Heat Pump Water Heaters

Heat Pump Water Heaters

heat pump water heaterEach year, thousands of Mainers buy heat pump water heaters because with current incentives, they can be the cheapest to buy. They can also be the cheapest to own, saving a four-person household more than $3,000 over ten years when compared to electric water heaters. In addition to low cost, their long warranties and dehumidifier function also make them an attractive choice.

To understand the concept of heat pumps, imagine a refrigerator working in reverse. While a refrigerator removes heat from the food inside and releases it into the surrounding air, a heat pump water heater takes the heat from the surrounding air and transfers it to the water inside. They are called “hybrids” because in addition to a heat pump they also have traditional electric resistance heating elements for times when demand exceeds what the heat pump can produce.

Financial Example

$ 1,200 qualified heat pump water heater
$ 500 Efficiency Maine mail-in rebate
$ 300 federal tax credit
= $ 400 net price

$330/year projected savings for a four-person household*

15-month payback

Note: Your costs and savings may vary.


  • Initial cost may be the lowest (with available incentives).
  • Ownership is the cheapest (saves a four-person household $330/year*).
  • Warranty is typically 10+ years.
  • Need for dehumidification is reduced.

*Source: energystar.gov accessed 5/1/16

Take Action

  • Use our Compare Water Heating Options tool to estimate how much you could save with a heat pump water heater.
  • Find an installer or pick up a qualified heat pump water heater at a local retailer and install it yourself.
  • If your electric water heater is more than 10 years old, replace it now while incentives are available. Don’t wait for it to break.

Things to Consider

  • Because of their noise and cooling effect, heat pump water heaters are better suited to basements than living spaces, especially if there is extra heat available from a boiler.
  • Heat-pump water heaters complement but do not replace dehumidifiers, because they operate based on hot-water demand instead of humidity levels.
  • Remember that you’ll need a place to drain the condensate. This can be pumped outside or passively drained to a sink, washing machine drain, or floor drain lower than the heat pump condensate port.
  • For optimum efficiency, install a heat pump water heater where the temperature stays above 35°F and provide at least 750 cubic feet of air space around the unit. This would be a typical 10’ x 10’ room.
  • Be sure to give the unit the recommended clearances from walls and ceilings to ensure adequate circulation and access.
  • Insulate the first few feet on incoming and outgoing pipe to minimize heat loss through distribution.
  • Air filters must be rinsed regularly.

Here is a video on how to install a heat pump water heater from one ENERGY STAR® manufacturer:

Click here for a heat pump water heater brochure/rebate form.

Click here for a heat pump water heater user tips guide.

Click here to see what Maine plumbers are saying about heat pump water heaters.