Marc Semail, VEVC Forum Monitor
Using a heat pump to heat water for your home are an alternative to other methods like solar hot water systems. Both reduce the energy costs of heating hot water, but heat pumps may be slightly more efficient.
Solar Hot Water
Solar hot water systems were encouraged by the former Solar Colwood program. Heating water takes about 18-25% of a home’s average electrical residential electrical consumption. Using solar energy can reduce home electricity water heating costs by 40% or more.
Heat Pumps, How they Work
The Nyle Geyser Heat Pump Water Heater
In the video below, Tom Gocze installs Nyle’s Geyser heat pump water heater in his shop. Tom is the host of Hot and Cold, a program about building and renovating houses as well as updating with new types of insulation and alternative energy.
Video: Hot and Cold: the Geyser Heat Pump Water Heater
Video: Geyser-r Heat Pump Water Heater Install
The manufacturer of this particular unit, Nyle Geyser, claims a reduction of hot water heating costs of 50-60% (though a direct comparison would be nice) and is significantly less expensive to install. This is an alternative, solar hot water certainly does the job well too.
I installed this about a year and a half ago and have learned a few things. From one year to the next, I saw a reduction of 1,827 kWh over a one year period, which amounts to a reduction of $227.10 at BC Hydro’s Step 2 rate. That reduction is a bit of a grey area as my electrical consumption generally increases from year to year. Perhaps there are more electrical toys and one has a difficult time judging a slightly warmer year vs a cooler year. Anyways, that is probably a rough ball park estimate.
Marathon Hot Water tank
I also at the same time replaced our typical water heater as in the 3rd video above with a Marathon Hot Water tank. This cuts energy consumption itself as it is insulates and does not corrode due to the materials and technology it uses – the tank I have has a lifetime warranty. There are combination hot water tanks with heat pumps, but until recently they were the old style tanks. These have to be replaced every 10-15 years or so which leads to the heat pump portion being discarded as well.
Now however there is a Hybrid Electric Marathon version which isn’t warrantied for as long as their other products, but should eliminate the concerns of other manufacturer’s combo products.
Some comments though, for both the Nyle Geyser version and the Marathon version as the heat pump is noisy and they reduce the ambient temperature of the room. I have my tank on the bottom floor of a split level home with the heat pump on the other side of a wall in our crawl space. So it is pretty cold in the crawl space, 7-10 degrees Celsius depending on the time of the year.
The noise is significantly dampened though can still be heard through the forced air ducts throughout the house. One does not want to put the heat pump too far from the water tank as it reduces the efficiency of the system. An ideal situation would be to have the hot water tank already in the garage or crawl space as long as those areas don’t go below zero degrees Celsius as freezing can damage the unit.