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Water Heating Systems

Heat Pump Water Heaters

What are heat pump water heaters?

An ENERGY STAR® certified heat pump water heater is the most efficient way to heat hot water with electricity and is the most climate-friendly form of water heating available in BC.

A heat pump water heater takes heat from one place and moves it to another by compressing and expanding refrigerant. To heat water, the heat pump pulls warmth form the ambient air by compressing the air to increase its temperature. The heat flows through a condenser coil inside the hot water system to transfer heat to the water. Some models have a backup electric heat element to help during periods of high use.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the benefits of heat pump water heaters?

  • Saves energy: Uses dramatically less energy than all other types of water heaters.
  • Climate friendly: Where hydroelectricity or other renewable resources are available, such as in BC, heat pump water heating systems provide a clean-energy alternative to natural gas that reduces your home water heating carbon footprint by over 95%.
  • Reliability: Provides the same reliable hot water you are accustomed to.
  • Smart controls: Adjust operating mode to find the setting that best meets your hot water needs.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the costs of a heat pump water heater?

The average cost for purchasing and installing a heat pump water heater ranges from $1,500 to $3,000. Be sure to get multiple quotes to compare costs, installation approach and warranties.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How do I ensure that I get the right heat pump water heater for my home?

Make sure you get an ENERGY STAR® certified heat pump water heater that is listed under Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance Tier 2 and Tier 3 Qualified Products.  This ensures that you are getting a heat pump hot water heater that can perform well in colder climates. Getting optimal performance from an ENERGY STAR certified heat pump water heater depends on more than just choosing the right equipment.

  • Consult with experts: Ask your builder or energy advisor how this ENERGY STAR certified feature could transform your home.
  • Buy quality: Look for an ENERGY STAR certified heat pump hot water system to ensure a quality system.
  • Use an accredited installer: Use an accredited TECA (Thermal Environmental Comfort Association of BC), ASTT (Association of Applied Technologists and Technicians), or HRAI (Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada) approved installer.
  • Ensure optimal performance: The quality of the installation can have an enormous effect on system performance and home comfort. Ask your contractor questions to ensure your system is properly sized and installed for optimal performance.
  • Maintain your equipment: Similar to servicing a vehicle, preventive maintenance is a good investment to minimize future problems. Arrange for annual servicing. Examine the heat pump’s filter, lines and drain pan regularly. Consult the owner’s manual for more details.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Where should I install a heat pump water heater?

Because heat pump water heaters pull warmth from the surrounding air, it is important to install them in an appropriate location. According to Natural Resources Canada, you should avoid installing your heat pump water heater in the heated part of your home, because that would simply increase the load on your space heating system. If you have no other choice than to install it in a heated space, ensure that it’s not placed in living spaces sensitive to colder temperatures or near a thermostat. An ideal location is a semi-heated space such as an unfinished basement or garage. Some heat pump water heaters can be ducted so that they can be placed in a heated space while using ducts to draw air from, and vent to, an adjacent outdoor or semi-heated space. There are also ‘split systems’ which allow the compressor that draws in air to be located outside your home, and the water tank to stay inside.

Make sure to follow all the manufacturer’s installation guidelines.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Natural Gas Condensing Storage Tank Water Heaters

What are condensing storage tank water heaters?

An ENERGY STAR® certified storage tank water heater with condensing technology operates much like a conventional gas hot water tank but with technology enhancements designed to increase energy efficiency and durability.

A condensing storage tank water heater offers a ready reservoir of hot water just like a conventional gas water heater but is much more efficient because of how heat is transferred from the energy source to the water. A condensing heat exchanger has more surface area than a conventional non-condensing heat exchanger, enabling water condensation from flue gases. This process captures more heat, greatly improving efficiency. They also have more efficient burners, heat exchangers and better insulation.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the benefits of condensing storage tank water heaters?

  • Save energy and money: The most energy-efficient, gas-fired storage tank water heater on the market.
  • No more waiting for the water to heat up: A correctly sized condensing storage tank water heater has faster recovery rates than a non-condensing water heater, meaning you’ll never run out of hot water.
  • More durable: Improved operational reliability and longer service life with superior protection against tank corrosion.
  • System versatility: Space heating and domestic hot water production can be integrated into one system.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the costs of storage tank hot water heaters?

The average cost range for purchasing and installing an ENERGY STAR® certified storage tank water heater with condensing technology is from $2,900 to $3,600. The cost can vary significantly based on the size of your home, amount of water use, and the efficiency of the unit. Be sure to get multiple quotes to compare costs, installation approach and warranties. It’s also a good idea to estimate its annual operating costs and compare with other water heating technologies.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How do I ensure that I get the right condensing storage tank water heater for my home?

Getting optimal performance from a condensing storage tank water heater depends on more than just choosing the right equipment.

  • Consult with experts: Ask your energy advisor how this ENERGY STAR® certified feature could transform your home.
  • Installation Considerations: A condensing storage water heater has the same footprint as a conventional gas water heater but has different installation requirements, including venting exhaust gases through a vertical or horizontal PVC pipe and a condensate drain.
  • Size your system correctly: Talk to your contractor to ensure the condensing storage water heater is sized correctly for your family’s hot water demands.
  • Maintain your equipment: Similar to servicing a vehicle, preventive maintenance on your equipment is a good investment to minimize future problems and unwanted costs. Arrange for annual servicing that should include flushing to remove excess sediment and an exhaust vent piping inspection to look for any signs of blockage, leakage, or deterioration. Consult the owner’s manual for more details

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

Natural Gas Tankless Water Heaters

What are tankless/instantaneous water heaters?

An ENERGY STAR® certified tankless water heating system is an efficient way to heat water, providing a constant supply of hot water only as it is needed for timely convenience, reduced energy use and space-saving design.

Unlike a storage tank water heater that keeps a large volume of hot water ready to go at all times, tankless water heaters provide the amount of water you need, only when you need it. When hot water is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the equipment and either a gas or propane burner or an electric element heats the water that is distributed throughout the home. Tankless water heater fuel availability (electricity, natural gas, propane) varies across Canada.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the benefits of tankless/instantaneous water heaters?

Energy savings with less waste: ENERGY STAR® certified tankless water heaters are much more efficient than a storage tank water heater and water is only heated as needed, so less energy is wasted.

  • Endless supply of hot water: When your home hot water needs are high, enjoy the convenience of a continuous supply of hot water.
  • Longer equipment life: Equipment can last up to 20 years – a much longer lifespan than standard hot water storage tanks.
  • Optimize your space: Compact design and wall mounted installation helps to save space in your utility room. Some models can even be installed under a sink.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

What are the costs of a tankless hot water heater?

The average cost range for purchasing and installing a tankless hot water heater is from $3,500 to $4,300. The cost can vary significantly based on the number of people in your household, amount of water used, type of equipment and efficiency factor. Before buying a tankless water heater, be sure to get multiple quotes from contractors to compare costs, installation approach and warranties.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.

How do I ensure that I get the right tankless water heater for my home?

Getting optimal performance from a new ENERGY STAR® certified tankless water heater depends on more than just choosing the right equipment.

  • Consult with experts: Ask your builder or energy advisor how this ENERGY STAR certified feature could transform your home.
  • Buy Quality: Look for an ENERGY STAR certified tankless water heater to ensure a quality system.
  • Size your system correctly: To provide your household with enough hot water and to maximize energy performance, you need a properly sized water heater.
  • Ask about costs: Before you purchase a tankless water heater, it’s also a good idea to estimate its annual operating costs and compare those costs with other water heating technologies.
  • Maintain your equipment: Similar to servicing a vehicle, preventive maintenance on your equipment is a good investment to minimize future problems. Arrange for annual servicing to keep the equipment free of scale deposits and clean filters. Consult the owner’s manual for more details.

Did you see a building science or energy efficiency term you did not understand? Check out our glossary.