Heat pumps are an efficient, environment-friendly alternative to traditional hot water systems. They operate in a manner similar to refrigerators, except in reverse. A refrigerator takes heat from the inside and expels it into the surrounding room. On the other hand, heat pumps take heat from the surrounding air and use it to heat water inside a tank.
Instead of using electricity to generate heat directly, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from one place to another. This distinction makes them more energy efficient than conventional electric water heaters, with some models being up to three times as efficient.
Temperature can affect the performance of heat pumps. Therefore, it is recommended that heat pumps be installed in locations that stay within the 40-90⁰F range. Some models can operate in conditions outside that range. Because heat pumps draw heat from the surrounding air, they work best in warm locations. They will not operate as efficiently in colder environments. However, they offer several advantages.
Heat pumps are an excellent choice for homeowners seeking an energy-efficient hot water system. When compared to conventional water heaters, heat pumps use less than half as much electricity. In terms of energy savings, heat pumps can even outperform other hot water systems in colder climates. Heat pumps are also more interactive than standard electric water heaters. Most heat pumps feature a control panel to adjust the water temperature and operation mode.
Upgrading to a heat pump hot water system is not a difficult task. Heat pumps use the same connections as electric hot water systems, making integration simple. There are other energy-saving hot water systems such as solar-powered water heaters. However, considering the cost and the necessary modifications for those systems, heat pumps are an attractive option. The ease of installation and the energy savings make heat pumps an exceptional value for homeowners.
There are many different heat pumps available on the market today. Homeowners should consult a professional to ensure that they get the best model for their needs. There are a few things to consider.
Heat pumps can be hybrid, meaning that a back-up heating element is used when the outside air temperature is too cold or when the hot water demand is too high. Regular heat pumps have a larger capacity, which eliminates the need for a back-up heating element. The best option depends on the situation. Hybrid models work best for smaller households with two to three occupants. Larger capacity heat pumps perform better for higher occupancy households.
An important figure to consider is the first hour rating or the number of gallons of hot water a heater can supply per hour. The first hour rating will depend on the heat source, tank capacity and the size of the burner/element. If the first hour rating is exceeded by the demand of hot water, the water will become less hot or even cool.
For more information on heat pumps or for the repair or replacement of a hot water system, contact a plumbing professional.
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