Is a Hybrid Water Heater Right for You?

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New Year, New Water Heater

This year are you considering replacing that old water heater that seems to be more trouble than it’s worth? The best new technology in the water heater world seems to be in the area of hybrid models. Just like many areas of modern life, the technology is advancing quickly and solving old issues that used to limit the industry.

For a long time, the debate was between the traditional tanked water heaters and the instant (or tankless) water heaters. They each had some pros and cons. The traditional water heater is like an old reliable car; it gets the job done but may not be the most energy efficient. The tankless models on the other hand, are like an electric car; they are more energy efficient and modern, but the time to achieve a return on your investment may leave you running out of steam.

Tankless water heaters may produce “cold sandwiching” where some water was left unheated and trapped in-between your nice hot water. This could be remedied with a recirculation system, which can be pricey to install. In the car metaphor, the hybrid water heaters can be compared to a, well… a hybrid. It is the newest technology that seeks to bridge this gap and give you the best of both worlds by switching back and forth between a traditional tanked water heater and an incredibly efficient heat pump.

Hybrid water heaters run at the highest efficiency during hot months. During the summer, the heat pump pulls the hot humid air out of the atmosphere (which can also help with your air conditioning bills in the summer) and uses that to heat the water stored in the tank. During very cold winter months, the unit will work like a traditional water heater. An electric hybrid water heater costs on average $137/yr to operate. In comparison, a traditional tanked electric water heater costs on average $469/yr to operate. The return on investment with a hybrid water heater is faster while contributing to better use of resources. So, is it the best of both worlds then? It appears so. Ain’t modern life grand?!

Depending on your service area in 2016, energy and tax rebates are available for hybrid units. Tax rebates may also be available for tankless units.

These new hybrid water heaters have very impressive technology and are changing the water heater game. Maybe 2016 is the year you should look into investing in a new unit.