LESLIE: Ron in North Carolina is calling in with a water-heating question. What can we do for you?
RON: Hi. Quick question for you about hot water heaters. I’m considering replacing my traditional hot water heater and I had anticipated and kind of built up for the years the excitement of going to this instant hot water. I know I had it in a home when I was in Europe. You simply turn the tap; you’ve got hot water for as long as you want and you can kind of do away with the traditional hot water heater.
But recently, when I was in one of the home improvement stores, they had a new type where they’re using Freon for the hot – the high-pressure and the low-pressure side of the Freon – as a way to keep the water warm; not to get it up to the heat that you need it but to keep it and sustain the warmth of it. And I didn’t know if you had had any experience with those types.
TOM: Are you talking about a heat pump water heater.
RON: That’s exactly what it is. Yes.
RON: The heat pump hot water heater is what they called it. It was rather new to the industry.
TOM: (overlapping voices) Right. OK. Yeah. I never heard it quite explained that way, Ron. (chuckles) But I knew what you meant.
Yeah, a heat pump water heater, it uses the same technology that a heat pump air conditioner uses. And it works in conjunction with an electric resistance water heater. It’s sort of like two systems in one. And so if the water is stone cold, your electric resistance heater comes on and brings it up but once it gets warm, the heat pump water heater takes over and maintains its temperature within a range. And bottom line is this is far, far, far more efficient than the electric water heater would be by itself.
So if you have only – if you have to use an electric water heater, I think it’s a good option. I also think it qualifies for tax credits.
If you have access to gas, to natural gas, then I would certainly go with that type of unit.
ED: OK, so that is much more efficient still?
TOM: I certainly would use natural gas. If I had natural gas, I would use a tankless, natural gas water heater.