Heat Pump Water Heaters

Heat Pump Water Heaters

heat pump water heaterHybrid heat pump water heaters are a new, highly efficient way to heat water. They typically cost half as much to operate as traditional electric resistance water heaters, and can save a four-person household more than $3,000 over the lifetime of the unit. While they heat water, heat pump water heaters also air condition and dehumidify the space around them.

To understand the concept of heat pumps, imagine a refrigerator working in reverse. While a refrigerator removes heat from a box and releases it into the surrounding air, a heat pump water heater takes the heat from the air and transfers it to water. 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

$ 1,000 qualified heat pump water heater
$ 500 Efficiency Maine mail-in rebate
= $ 500 net price
$ 400 typical electric water heater price
= $ 100 incremental cost

$330/yr projected savings for a four-person household*
4-month payback
* Source: energystar.gov accessed 11/1/15

More than $3,000 lifetime savings
Note: Your actual savings may vary.


  • Save more than $3,000 over the life of the unit compared to electric water heating.
  • Reduce need for dehumidification. (Note: because they operate based on hot water demand instead of humidity levels, heat pump water heaters complement, but do not replace, dehumidifiers.)

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.
  • 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 45°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:

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.