Rogelio Alvarez

By: Rogelio Alvarez on September 5th, 2022

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What Is a Hybrid Water Heater: Pros and Cons

Hybrid Water Heaters

Imagine the efficiency of a tankless water heater with the convenience of a tank-style water heater. That’s what a hybrid water heater is: a tankless and tank-style water heater combined into one water-heating system. As forward-thinking as these water heaters are, they have a few pros and cons that curious homeowners should be aware of. 

At Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Air, our technicians are trained and certified by some of the top brands in the water heater industry, leading the way in hybrid water heaters. We’ve installed hybrid water heaters in homes across Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. Our growing knowledge has provided us with insightful information on the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid water heaters that can help homeowners search for a suitable water heater. 

By the end of this article, you will better understand what hybrid heaters are, how they operate, and their pros and cons. This information will help you determine whether hybrid water heaters are right for you.

Let’s kick things off by explaining what hybrid water heaters are and how they operate before highlighting their pros and cons.


How Does a Hybrid Water Heater Work?

Tankless and tank-style water heaters function differently but serve the same purpose: to provide a home with hot water. Hybrid water heaters are designed to cover some of the flaws associated with individual tankless and conventional water heaters while still providing hot water. 

The design combination of hybrid water heaters ensures that a home will still have hot water stored and ready for use if there’s an issue with the tankless portion. By working in tandem with each other, a hybrid water heater’s tankless and storage tanks reduce any strain they experience when operating independently. 

To help break down how hybrid water heaters work, we’ll explain how they operate using the technological designs of tankless and tank-style water heaters.

  • Tankless: A hybrid water heater has a tankless water heater portion that is essentially the same as a standalone tankless water heater. This part of a hybrid water heater provides on-demand hot water as needed. This component helps provide consistent hot water in periods of high hot water demand. 
  • Tank-Style: Like a traditional water heater, the storage tank attached to the tankless portion of the hybrid water heater keeps heated water ready for use. The heated water is on standby. The stored water is used when there’s a demand for hot water, helping reduce the load on the tankless part of the hybrid water heater.  

Hybrid water heaters have a tankless water heater with a tank-style water heater attached right behind it. The size of the storage tank ranges from 40 to over 100 gallons, although some of the smaller gallon hybrid water heaters have been discontinued. 

The size of the hybrid water heater required depends on the hot water needs and the size of the home. Overall, these units are better suited in commercial settings or for high-capacity homes. 

By combining a tankless with a conventional water heater, hybrid water heaters can provide plenty of benefits. We’ll focus on each benefit in the following section. 

Pros of Hybrid Water Heaters

Hybrid water heaters can provide homeowners with beneficial advantages. Here are three main pros associated with hybrid water heaters. 


A Limitless Supply of Hot Water

The tankless and conventional water heater portions of a hybrid water heater work together to ensure that a house always has constant hot water. These water heaters provide fast water recovery, so if the storage tank runs out of hot water, the tankless portion can still supply a home with hot water. The combined system eliminates concerns about running out of hot water during peak usage times. 


Consistent Flow Rate

The combined design of a hybrid water heater provides a consistent flow of hot water without impacting the water pressure. During high hot water usage, tankless and conventional water heaters can potentially experience a decrease in flow rate due to the high demand for hot water in multiple fixtures. Hybrid water heaters offer fast hot water recovery so homes can use hot water without a decreased flow rate.


Energy Efficient 

Thanks to their combined water heating technology, hybrid water heaters have a high energy efficiency rating. A hybrid water heater uses its tankless component to reduce energy consumption when heating water. 

All water heating manufacturers are required to follow energy efficiency ratings for all water heating products so homeowners can see which products are environmentally friendly with potential money savings. Companies that make hybrid water heaters must use the standards the Department of Energy sets so homeowners can compare water heating products more easily.


Money Savings 

Hybrid water heaters combined with tankless and conventional water heater technology are designed to consume less energy than other water heating systems. Each hybrid water heater has an energy guide label with an estimated yearly energy cost so homeowners can see how much they can save.

Although energy money savings are something all homeowners should be on the lookout for, there are a few cons on hybrid water heaters worth knowing about, too. 


Cons of Hybrid Water Heaters

Despite being reliable when it comes to providing hot water, hybrid water heaters have a few disadvantages homeowners should review. By understanding these downsides, homeowners can compare them with the benefits as they decide whether or not a hybrid water heater is right for them. 

Here are the cons associated with hybrid water heaters. 


Require Ample Space

Hybrid water heaters are some of the larger water heaters and require an appropriate amount of space for installation and operation. Some hybrid water heater models need to be installed indoors to avoid being damaged by weather conditions. Although most hybrid water heaters are as tall as some conventional water heaters, hybrid water heaters have much larger depths due to the added tankless component.

Even if you have the right amount of space for a hybrid water heater, there isn’t a large selection of products to choose from. 

Limited Selection

To date, there are a few options available for hybrid water heaters. There are various choices for tankless or conventional water heaters, but there are only less than five hybrid water heater models. 

Here’s a list of some of the hybrid water heaters available. 

These three hybrid water heaters are made by some of the top brands in the water heating industry. Despite coming from reputable manufacturers, hybrid water heaters aren’t as energy efficient as other water heating systems. 


Not the Most Energy-Efficient Option

Hybrid water heaters have a high energy efficiency rating, but other products, such as electric-powered tankless and heat pump water heaters, have even higher ratings. These alternative water heaters can have three to five times the energy efficiency of hybrid water heaters. 

Besides having higher energy ratings, these water heaters may qualify for federal tax credits and local rebates through Los Angeles County and the state of California. 


Is a Hybrid Water Heater Right For Me?

Hybrid water heaters are just one of many water heating systems available. By understanding how these systems work and comparing their pros and cons, you can get a better idea of whether or not this system is suitable for your home. 

At Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Air, we’ve helped hundreds of homeowners find a suitable water heater for their homes. Hybrid water heaters may not be as common as other water heating systems, but since 2007, we’ve installed and serviced hybrid water heaters all over Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.

If you have questions regarding hybrid water heaters, contact us using one of the contact buttons below. You can also book an appointment using our water heater scheduler.

If you want a better understanding of how tankless and conventional water heaters operate, check out this article comparing them. By comparing these two water heaters, you can better understand how these systems work and can benefit your home.