Most of us don’t think about water heaters until we have one fail and are left scrambling for a quick replacement.

And even though this behind-the-scenes appliance is easily forgotten, it still typically accounts for 18% of the average home’s energy use. But that’s changing with the growing popularity of heat pump water heaters, which use up to three times less energy than traditional element water heaters.

“Heat pump technology has been around for quite some time, but we’ve seen significant improvements over the last several years. People are becoming increasingly comfortable with it from a technology perspective,” says Art Christianson, Senior Manager of Utility and Government Rebates. Heat pump water heaters are not just an appliance upgrade; they’re a big jump into energy savings.

How They Work

Heat pump water heaters work like a refrigerator but in reverse. They pull heat from surrounding air and transfer it into the storage tank, thereby heating the water. And because the technology uses existing heat instead of generating heat from scratch, they can operate at a whopping 25% of the cost of traditional water heaters, helping you save big on energy bills.

Because heat pump water heaters tend to cool the space they are in while removing heat from surrounding air, a few key factors should be considered:

  • They require surrounding air that has at least a little warmth year-round.
  • They output cooled air, which can be an added benefit in warmer climates or in spaces with excess heat.
  • They require a little more room since they have a slightly larger footprint and need open space to operate at their peak. ENERGY STAR® recommends installing them in an area that is at least 100 square feet, such as a furnace or utility room, to allow for plenty of clearance around the water heater for ample air flow.

Simple, yearly maintenance efforts are recommended for peak performance.

More Affordable than Ever

Significant incentives like tax credits and local utility rebates, plus energy cost savings of up to $550 a year are making heat pump water heater technology more attainable than ever. And because they are more efficient, they are offered with longer warranties than traditional water heaters. And if you need help with installation, The Home Depot offers water heater installation services. To determine if a heat pump water heater is right for you, visit ENERGY STAR for more factors to consider.

Heat pump water heaters are a game-changing innovation in energy efficiency. They’re just one way The Home Depot is helping customers save energy and money while also reducing their carbon footprint.