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What Exactly Makes a Hybrid Water Heater a “Hybrid”?

There is often some confusion about water heater models and their names. For example, a hybrid water heater is often used to mean the same thing as a heat pump water heater. In other cases, a hybrid water heater refers to a type of tankless water heater that uses a back-up supply of hot water in a small tank.

For purposes of clarity, when we speak of a hybrid water heater, we are referring to a heat pump water heater. We’ll explain in more detail how this works and where the “hybrid” part comes in.

The efficiency of a heat pump combined with a storage water heater

A heat pump water heater is a hybrid because it puts together two systems that usually have no connection to each other: a heat pump, which is commonly used to supply a home with heating and cooling around the year, and a storage tank water heater. In a standard storage water heater, the unit burns fuels to create heat inside the tank, either applying gas jets to the tank or heating up electrical elements inside the tank to generate heat through electric resistance (much the same way that an electric furnace runs). With a hybrid system, the heat energy comes from the heat pump, which uses electrical power not to create heat, but to remove it from the ambient air and them apply it to a different source… in this case, to the water inside a tank.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, these water heaters can be two to three times more energy efficient than electrical resistance water heaters. This makes them an excellent option for homes that do not have access to a gas line for a gas-powered water heater. However, to achieve this, a hybrid water heater must receive professional installation and be located in an area with sufficient space and warmth.

Call Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. to find out more about installation of a hybrid water heater for your home in Orlando, FL.

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