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Heat-Pump Water Heaters – Pros and Cons


Heat-pump water heaters

Over the years more and more types of water heaters have been brought into use for residential and commercial facilities (tankless and solar water heater models, for example). Heat-pump water heaters are not an exception. They provide a very efficient method of heating water.

Instead of producing heat directly, heat pump water heaters employ electricity to move heat from one place to another. Because of that they are 2-3 times more energy-efficient than conventional water heaters, since they use electricity only with a purpose of moving heat and not creating it. In order to transfer the heat, heat pumps work like a refrigerator but backward. We know that a refrigerator draws heat from inside a box and releases it into the nearby room, an air-source heat pump water heater vice versa draws heat from outdoor air and releases it (heating it previously) into a tank to heat up water. It is also possible to update a heat pump to operate together with your current storage water heater or a solar water heater.

However, low outdoor temperatures reduce heat pump water heaters’ efficiency, especially in case with air-to-water heat pumps. That’s why the air-to-water heat pump water heating system is a great option for warmer climates like the one at South Orange County.

The heat source of ground-to-water heat pumps is less variable, but with their high installation costs and ground area needed, they are more appropriate for multi-residential developments or cold climates.

Before buying and installing a heat pump system, you might want to consider

Pros and Cons of Heat Pump Water Heaters


The main pros of heat pump water heaters are:

  • energy is efficiently converted to heat
  • constant availability of energy source
  • they provide energy-conserving heating for large amounts of water to use for underfloor space heating, hot tubs, Jacuzzi and swimming pools
  • successful cooperation with other water heating systems
  • lower operating costs

Some disadvantages of air-to-water heat pumps include:

  • with decrease of temperature below 6–7ºC, the energy efficiency is lost
  • high purchase and installation costs
  • extra space is required for the exterior unit
  • penetrations have to be made through the building layers
  • outdoor units produce noise
  • according to independent testing some heat pump systems work better than others

With all that has been said, heat pump water heaters are worth considering for your home or business. However, the professional advice of the HVAC specialist will prove useful. If you find yourself in need of consulting a professional concerning purchase, installation or maintenance of heat pump water heaters, contact Orange County Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning and we will gladly assist you in this matter.

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Orange County, Tustin, 92780 | (714) 400-2913