Water Heaters and Clothes Dryers

​​​

header image
Skip Navigation LinksHome » Departments » Sustainability and Innovations » Sustainability & Me » For Families & Individuals » Water Heaters and Clothes Dryers

Water Heaters and Clothes Dryers

Heat pump hot water heaters and clothes dryers are a viable option when replacing an old gas appliance. They work in a similar fashion to air source heat pumps, pulling heat out of the ambient air to warm the water or air. There are several manufacturers making heat pump appliances now, including some with lifetime warranties. ​

Heat Pump Water Heaters

If it’s time to replace your water heater, you can generally save money, energy, and significantly lower your impact on climate by switching to an electric heat pump water heater, commonly referred to as hybrid electric water heaters. A heat pump water heater is a highly efficient electric water heater. It looks just like a regular water heater with a storage tank but goes through a different process to heat your water. 

A heat pump water heater works just like an air conditioner or refrigerator but in reverse. It takes the warm air from around the heater and uses that to heat the water rather than relying on fossil gas combustion to heat the water tank. The process is up to 63% more efficient than regular electric water heating, creating significant savings in energy, money, and environmental impact.

Learn more about heat pump water heaters, compare models, and find rebates from Energy Star

​Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters are a model of heating water that is growing in popularity as solar power expands. These models work by having a liquid (either water or a non-freezing refrigerant) that is heated up by the sun, and in an insulated container so little heat is lost. Once heated to a certain level, the hot liquid is directly sent to the home to be used or stored in a storage tank. In freezing climates, the warmed refrigerant goes to a heat exchanger in a water storage tank to then heat up the water to be used in the house. The system can be powered passively or actively by solar. Payback of these systems is estimated to be between five and 10 years and has a positive impact on the environment as many current hot water heaters are heated by fossil gas. 

Learn more about solar water heaters, compare models, and find rebates from Energy Star

Heat Pump Dryers

A heat pump dryer works as a closed loop system by heating the air using it to remove moisture from the clothes and then reusing it once the moisture is removed. Rather than releasing warm, humid air through a dryer vent to the exterior of the home as a conventional dryer does, a heat pump dryer sends it through an evaporator to remove the moisture without losing too much heat. Making use of a refrigerant as part of this process means less electricity is used to generate heat.

Learn more about heat pump dryers, compare models, and find rebates from Energy Star

Why Choose a Heat Pump Water Heater and Dryer? 

Save Money

Heat pump water heaters are so efficient that if every household in the U.S. used a heat pump water heater (under 55 gallons), the energy cost savings would top $8.2 billion a year, according to Energy Star. Additionally, heat pump dryers can reduce energy use by at least 28% compared to standard dryers. Heat pump dryers also use lower temperatures to dry clothes, resulting in longer lasting clothes. 

Reduce Emissions

Since heat pump water heaters and dryers run on electricity, it is easy to power them with clean, renewable energy. If you choose to power your house with green electricity and install a heat pump water heater and dryer, then your water heating and clothes drying will be free of carbon emissions! And, if you are switching from a gas, propane, or fuel oil water heater and gas dryer, it has even more impact by creating the infrastructure to power our homes with clean renewable electricity into the future.

Help Balance the Grid

Since heat pump water heaters have a water storage tank, they can be used to help balance the grid when energy demand spikes. It is easy to set water heaters to use power during times when there are lower electricity demands. This can also save money on your bill. 

​When to Upgrade and the Cost

Water heaters and dryers ​work quietly in the background, without much fanfare—until they don’t. The best time to upgrade your water heater is when it stops working. However, if you are switching to a heat pump water heater, you might need to prepare ahead of time. The lifespan of a water heater is generally around 10 years, so if you are close to this or the past 10 years, it’s time to prepare.

If you currently have a gas, propane, or fuel oil water heater, switching to a heat pump water heater may require upgrades. You may need to have a 240-volt electric outlet near where the heater will be installed to support the device if one is not already present in your home. This is the same type of outlet generally used for an electric clothes dryer. If your electrical panel is older, it may require a panel upgrade. Talk with a professional to determine what, if any, upgrades you will need.

Heat pump systems cost a bit more initially but usually recover their cost over time due to energy savings, depending on your local energy rates. The water heaters cost more, around $1,100 or more compared to $500 - $600 for a gas unit or $300 for a conventional electric unit. Installation can also cost a bit more, particularly if you are switching from another fuel source. If you need to do a one-time upgrade to install a new electrical outlet or upgrade your electrical panel, there will be an additional initial cost.​​