These are the steps you’ll want to follow before installing a heat pump water heater in your home:
- Learn how much this project will cost and find out what incentives are available.
- Prepare your home. Take preliminary measures to get your home ready for a new water heating system, such as upgrading your electrical service (if necessary). While a heat pump water heater will save you money on your water heating bill, it won’t fix any issues you currently have with your plumbing that result in slower delivery of hot water. Most heat pump water heaters require 15-30 amps of current from your electric panel. If you haven’t been using an electric water heater or your home has 100-amp electrical service, lacks space on the panel, or has no 240-volt connection for the water heater, talk to a heat pump water heater installer about whether you may need to upgrade your electrical service.
- Identify possible locations for a heat pump water heater. Considerations are:
- Air flow and temperature
The heat pump water heater will need at least 750 cubic feet of open space (e.g., a 10 ft x 10 ft room with a 7.5 ft ceiling height) to have sufficient air to absorb heat. Most systems are also designed to operate efficiently in ambient temperatures of between 50 – 90°F, so it is important to ensure they are situated in a place that is protected from the extreme cold. Heat pump water heaters can also take advantage of the waste heat given off by a fossil fuel boiler or furnace; consider placing your heat pump water heater next to these appliances. Additionally, the heat pump water heater will cool and dehumidify the space it is in. Venting cold air outdoors or into another part of the home can be an option with many models.
- Noise and vibrations
Heat pump water heaters are often noisier than conventional water heaters— roughly as loud as a modern dishwasher or refrigerator (approximately 50 decibels), so they may not be appropriate to place near bedrooms or office spaces.
- Size and location
Some heat pump water heaters (esp. 80 gallon models) are slightly taller than conventional storage water heaters, in order to accommodate the fan and heat pump unit. Depending on the tank size and model, heat pump water heaters are typically 60 – 70 inches tall (5 to 6 feet) so check if there is an extra foot or two between the top of your current water heater and the ceiling of the room the water heater is in.
- Condensation management
The heat pump water heater will be installed with a condensate pan that will need to be connected to a drain. If a nearby floor drain is not available, a condensate pump to an appropriate drain may be necessary.
- Install a heat pump water heater. Talk to your installer about how long installation will take. Heat pump water heater installations can typically be done in a day, depending on the need for electrical work.
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