When it comes time to replace your home’s water heater, there are many choices, such as hybrid and heat pump water heaters. Trying to tell some of the water heaters apart can be confusing, especially when some brands use hybrid and heat pumps interchangeably. Hybrid water heaters and heat pump water heaters both heat water up but have more differences when compared.

Since 2007, our technicians at Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric have worked with the top brands in the water heating industry to stay up to date with the newest in water heating technology. We’ve helped homeowners across Los Angeles and the surrounding areas learn more about the different types of water heaters that can best meet their hot water demands.

This article will review the following categories to help compare hybrid water heaters with heat pump water heaters.

  • Technological Design
  • Efficiency
  • Cost
  • Warranty
  • Maintenance

After reading this article, you’ll be able to tell the differences between hybrid and heat pump water heaters. With the insider knowledge you gain, you can also determine if these water heaters are suitable for your home.

What Is The Difference Between Heat Pump Water Heaters and Hybrid Water Heaters?

Hybrid and heat pump water heaters are recent innovations in the water heating industry. Despite both being designed to heat water, these water heaters have a couple of differences that help them stand apart from each other.

One of their fundamental differences is how they’re designed to operate and perform their ultimate function: to heat and provide a home with usable hot water.

Technological Design

Heat pump and hybrid water heaters operate very differently when it comes to heating the water that enters a home. Here’s a breakdown of how these two water heaters function.

  • Hybrid water heater: A hybrid water heater combines a tankless water heater with a conventional water heater. A combination of gas and electricity powers this unit to heat water. It uses its tankless component to supply a home with on-demand hot water. The attached storage tank maintains a supply of heated water ready for use in case there’s an issue with the tankless component or a higher-than-usual demand for hot water.
  • Heat pump water heater: These water heaters are powered solely on electricity and rely on heat pump technology to provide a house with hot water. Heat pump water heaters are designed to absorb the surrounding hot air and separate the heat from the air to heat water. If the ambient temperature isn’t hot enough, then the unit uses electricity to heat coils inside the water heater that can heat the water.

Despite their difference in how they work, both water heaters are mostly cylindrical and look similar to conventional water heaters. Hybrid water heaters are mainly cylindrical but have a tankless style water heater component attached to them.

This gives hybrid water heaters greater width than heat pump water heaters, requiring the appropriate space for installation. Heat pump water heaters are smaller than hybrid water heaters, so they have a little more flexibility with the spacing requirements.

Aside from their shape similarities, both water heaters use different methods to heat up water. Their ability to draw on energy to heat water also differs.

Efficiency

When it comes to these two water heaters, their level of energy efficiency is different. Heat pump water heaters use hot air to heat water, significantly cutting down on energy use, and have a UEF rating of 4.07. Hybrid water heaters rely on natural gas and electricity to power the unit to heat water and, therefore, have an average UEF rating of .97.

To help break down the energy efficiency of water heaters, manufacturers follow standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy that rate water heater efficiency using the Uniform Energy Factor (UEF). Heat pump water heaters are three to five times more efficient than hybrid water heaters. These units also require less energy to heat up water than hybrid water heaters.

Besides being more energy efficient, heat pump water heaters have a higher price tag than hybrid water heaters.

Cost

Although various factors affect the final cost of a water heater, hybrid water heaters are usually higher in price than heat pump water heaters. The price range for a heat pump water heater is between $9,500 to $13,000. On the other hand, hybrid water heaters can cost $6,000 to $9,000 without installation and $26,000 to $30,000 with installation.

Regardless of which water heater you purchase, it will come with a good warranty.

Warranty

Hybrid and heat pump water heaters have similar warranties. Heat pump water heaters have a 10-year limited warranty for the tank and parts. The average warranty for a hybrid water heater is a 10-year warranty for the heat exchanger and storage tank, and a storage tank is covered for five years.

The warranty terms vary depending on the hybrid or heat pump water heater brand. Regardless of which water heating system you decide to move forward with, each water heater should come with a detailed warranty booklet with additional information on registering the water heater for any possible future warranty claims.

One thing that water heater owners should stay on top of is maintenance. Hybrid and heat pump water heaters require routine maintenance to continue operating efficiently. In most cases, failing to maintain a water heater may void the warranty.

Maintenance

Both hybrid and heat pump water heaters have similar maintenance requirements. Like a majority of water heaters, these two systems require a flush. A water heater flush helps remove any sediment buildup that may have accumulated.

A flush can be done once or twice a year. Although a homeowner is perfectly capable of performing a flush on their own, it’s recommended to hire a technician. The technician can further inspect the hybrid or heat pump water heater valves, flow rate, heating elements, and other components essential to a water heater’s operation.

Is a Hybrid or Heat Pump Water Heater Right For Me?

On paper, hybrid and heat pump water heaters sound like the same thing, mainly when some manufacturers use the terms interchangeably. A closer analysis reveals that these two water heaters have more differences than similarities. Now that you understand these, you can decide if these water heating systems are right for your home.

For over 15 years, we at Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric have followed and kept up with any new technologies in the water heating industry. We have helped hundreds of homeowners within Los Angeles and the surrounding areas find the right water heater for them and also helped with installation and service maintenance.

If you have any questions regarding hybrid or heat pump water heaters, contact us using one of the buttons below. You can also book an appointment directly through our online water heater scheduler.

Water heating systems come in different designs besides hybrid or heat pumps. Check out this article for more information regarding other types of water heaters and how they compare. The more knowledge you gain from water heaters, the more confident you will find the perfect one for you and your family.

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