Tag Archives: Energy Efficiency

Hybrid Water Heaters and Point of Use Water Heaters

As promised, today we will be discussing hybrid water heaters and point of use (POU) water heaters.  In recent years, hybrid water heaters and POU water heaters have been seeing a rise in popularity. We all know the two most popular types of residential water heaters are either gas or electric tank storage heaters and tankless water heaters. Both do well to serve their purpose, but they are not the only options. POU and hybrid water heaters shouldn’t be ruled out when making a decision about the water heating system in your home. This is especially true if you have high demand water usage and energy efficiency is important to you. Both offer many options and offer more function than traditional water heaters.

Hybrid Water Heaters

Hybrid water heaters come in different configurations with heat pumps, tanks, tankless, electric, gas, and solar. With evolving technology, new designs with a focus on efficiency and high volume water supply are being introduced. Some of the more popular and reliable brands are Rheem, Rinnai, General Electric, and AO Smith.

Tank-Tankless Hybrids

 Hybrid Water Heaters - Tank-Tankless

Standard tankless water heaters can have issues keeping up with multiple fixture demand. A storage tank heater is  good with multiple fixture demand but not with long periods of usage. Tank-tankless hybrid water heaters provides the convenience of large volumes of hot water when you need it and makes the process much more efficient. The ability to have instant hot water is  coupled with the hybrid’s ingenuity. This design Integrates a storage tank with a tankless water heater. Instead of supplying hot water directly to the fixtures, the tankless unit supplies constant hot water to the storage tank. Constantly replenishing the tank allows for longer periods of use. Complete recovery of a 40 Gallon storage tank water heater is approximately 1 hr for gas and 2 hrs for electric models. Tank-tankless hybrid water heaters recover a full tank in only a few minutes.

Installation is an easy conversion from storage tank models. There is minimal pipe work required as they are about the same size, and the hot and cold water connections are the same as standard tank units. Initial cost is higher than a standard water heater but the efficiency and convenience of endless hot water is well worth the investment.

Heat Pump-Tank Hybrid Water Heaters

Hybrid Water Heater - Heat Pump-Tank

Heat pump-tank hybrid water heaters are very similar is design and style of a standard storage tank water heater. The innovation with this design is incorporating heat pump technology. Utilizing heat in the air  to assist in heating the stored water translates to efficiency, efficiency, efficiency. Heat pump-tank hybrid water heaters are more than 50% more energy efficient than conventional electric water heaters. They also heat water more quickly. Most heat pump-tank hybrid water heaters ship in full hybrid mode.  This setting will primarily use the heat pump and only engage the internal elements when required.  Most models have built in timers and a control panel where you can select different operating modes. This helps to balance your household hot water needs and efficiency desires.

The general size and water connections are the same as a conventional water heater. The installation is straightforward but does require the installation of a condensation drain line. They are ideal replacements for homes in a warmer climate with basements, garages, or utility rooms. They operate best in locations with warm ambient air temperatures. As with the tank-tankless hybrid, the initial costs are higher, but that cost can  be offset by the savings on your energy bill.

Point of Use Water Heaters

Point of Use Water Heater

Point of use (POU) water heaters are similar in design to tankless units but are smaller and designed for single fixtures. POU water heaters installation options include lavatory sinks, showers,  laundry rooms,  and kitchen sinks. They are installed very near the fixture. As water travels through your plumbing it drops in temperature. POU units are very helpful when your fixture is quite a distance away from your centralized heater.  Another option is to place a POU water heater at every, well, point of use. This is ideal if you use less than 30 gallons of water a day. You heat only what you use so there is less energy used keeping large amounts of water heated.

POU water heaters generally run from the $125.00 – $250.00 range and most of them can be plugged into a standard 120 V three prong plug. Installation costs for each unit are reasonable.  So, in certain situations the purchase and install for each fixture can be comparable to other whole house water heating appliances.

What Type of Water Heater Should You Buy?

In order to determine whether a hybrid water heater, POU water heater, tankless, or just a standard gas or electric tank water heater is best for you, it important to know how much water you use in one day. How many showers are being taken? How many loads of clothes are being washed? The maximum amount of hot water you may use at once is also an important figure to factor in. To properly size an new water heater, count how many fixtures you have and determine how many fixtures may be used at the same time and for what purpose.

The best course of action is always to contact a reliable plumber to consider all these factors. .They can help determine whether a hybrid water heater, POU water heater, tankless, or a standard tank water heater is best for you. Remember, although the initial cost of hybrid water heaters, tankless, and POU units may be higher, the costs can be recovered over time through savings on your energy bill. Also, many of the high efficiency units are eligible for local energy company rebates and tax credits that can significantly offset the cost of purchase and installation.

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