What is a Hybrid Water Heater and How it Works?

A hybrid water heater combines the features of a traditional water heater and a tankless heater. It is also known as a heat pump water heater. If you live in an area where gas is not readily available, this contractor recommends a hybrid water heater as an excellent choice.

When it comes to water heaters, energy efficiency is often a key concern with homeowners. The downside to traditional water heaters is that they are typically less efficient. Tankless heaters are comparatively better and save energy but they are a preferable option only if you have a gas supply. If you don’t, a hybrid heater makes the most sense for you. It is also the most energy-efficient option. This is primarily because of the way a hybrid heater operates.

How Does a Hybrid Water Heater Work?

In contrast to other types of water heaters, a hybrid water heater does not generate its own energy. Instead, it uses a fan to pull air from the outside. The heat from this air is then absorbed by the evaporator coil of the heater which contains a refrigerant. As this heat is absorbed, it transfers to a heat exchanger coil wrapped around the water tank of the heater. The coil then heats up the water to the desired temperature.

Like a tankless heater, a hybrid water heater runs on demand. It is also designed to run on electric power alone so when the load is high, the heater can switch to electric power.

Most hybrid water heaters are designed with multiple operation modes. You can typically choose between Heat Pump Only, Electric Only, and Energy Saver. In Heat Pump Only mode, the heater relies only on the heat absorbed from the air to warm the water.

In Electric Only, the heat pump does not work – instead, heat is generated by utilizing electricity. In Energy Saver Mode, an optimal combination of the heat pump and electricity is used to deliver the required amount of water at the desired temperature while maintaining maximum efficiency.

Benefits of Hybrid Water Heaters

A hybrid water heater offers a whole host of benefits when compared to other water heating systems. These include:

  • Energy efficiency. Hybrid water heaters are the most energy-efficient when compared to traditional or tankless models. This means that you stand to save a significant amount of money in terms of energy savings. According to one estimate, these savings clock in at around $3,750 for a household of four.
  • Dual Function. A hybrid water heater pulls heat from the air around it, so the area around it becomes cooler. You can use this principle to situate the heater in an area, like a basement, where you can reduce the cooling costs by utilizing the heat exchange.
  • Doesn’t Require Gas. Gas availability can be a problem in some areas which effectively rules out the traditional heaters that run on gas. A heat pump water heater is the perfect choice if you happen to live in such an area.
  • Easy Installation. When replacing an old water heater, much of the existing lines can be used when installing a hybrid water heater. This translates into lower installation costs. In contrast, a tankless water heater installation costs more and involves a lot more disruption.

Downsides of Hybrid Water Heaters

Hybrid water heaters come with a few downsides. Many of these are balanced by the benefits these heaters offer. The downsides include:

  • High upfront costs. Hybrid water heaters cost more. This can put off many homeowners although the higher costs are paid back by the energy savings within a matter of years.
  • Air filter replacement. When a hybrid heater pulls air from outside, the air is passed through a filter. This filter needs to be replaced regularly to ensure suitable heat exchange.
  • Larger space needs. Hybrid heaters need more space. They are larger than tankless heaters and they need some open space around them so that they can easily pull air for heat exchange.


Hiring Greenville Heating and Air Experts

If you want to have a new water heater installed or an existing unit repaired or replaced, we have got you covered. Here at General Air, we work with all types of water heaters. Our experts can help you decide whether a tankless heater or a hybrid pump heater is best for your household needs. We also work with you to choose a model that is just right for you and then to install it on your property. Get free estimates today or book an appointment with our experts.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit