Shop

Search
Close this search box.

Electric Tankless Water Heaters: Everything you need to know about heat pumps

The ultimate guide to heat pump water heaters

Electric Heat Pump Water Heaters Guide 2023

As heat pump water heaters become more common, it is natural for those considering to switch to an electric heat pump water heater to have multiple questions. This guide will answer most of these doubts so that you can make a more informed decision before switching your water heating system. 

It has become common knowledge that tankless water heaters outperform their traditional, tank-style counterparts in every department imaginable. They are more efficient, sustainable, and friendlier on your wallet. Moreover, their ability to heat water without storing it mitigates several problems like Legionella risk and issues associated with limescale. However, most tankless water heaters have been gas-powered until recent times.

Intellihot Inc. introduced the world’s first tankless heat pump water heater that runs completely on electricity upon launching the Electron series of products. These electric tankless water heaters have been engineered with groundbreaking innovations like heat pump technology and CO2-based refrigerants. 

Table of Contents

What are Tankless Heat Pump Water Heaters? Are Heat Pumps Gas or Electric? Are Heat Pump Water Heaters Tankless?

All Heat Pump Water Heaters Are Electric/Hybrid.
All Electric Water Heaters Are NOT Heat Pump Water Heaters.
All Heat Pump Water Heaters Are NOT Tankless.

Heat pumps are the essential technological components of electric tankless water heaters like the Electron iE1. Hence, the term “heat pump water heater” essentially refers to electric water heaters that use this technology.

Heat pumps absorb heat energy from ambient air and use this energy to heat cold water. Unlike gas water heaters, heat pump water heaters do not need a supply of propane or any fossil fuels to generate the energy needed to heat cold water. Hence, all heat pump water heaters are electric or hybrid by design. 

However, all electric water heaters do not use heat pump technology. Most of them still use conventional electric heating elements. 

Moreover, most heat pump waters have been used with a traditional tank style design. Intellihot Inc. was proud to launch the world’s first fully-electric heat pump water heater that uses a tankless design (Electron iE1). Hence, they combine the efficiency and sustainability benefits of tankless designs and fully-electric heat pumps.  

iE1 Front View

The Electron iE1 is a Heat Pump Water Heater That is Fully Electric and Tankless

Gas vs Electric: Are Electric Heat Pump Water Heaters Better Than Gas Water Heaters?

Tankless > Tank-style
Heat Pump > Traditional Electric > Gas-Powered

BEFORE: Traditional Tank-Style Heater at People's United Center, Hamden, CT
AFTER: Intellihot's Tankless Solution at People's United Center, Hamden, CT

Choosing between a gas and an electric tankless water heater is dependent on one’s individual requirements. While tankless water heaters are generally the better choice, one also has to decide between opting for a tankless gas water heater and a tankless electric water heater.

It is usually not recommended to make major changes to your property’s energy sources when changing one’s water heating system. Switching from an electric to a gas-powered water heating system can involve expensive modifications like updating/redirecting gas lines and/or ventilation. On the other hand, switching from a gas to electric power source can involve upgrading one’s power input which could be costly. Hence, it is generally more convenient to stick with the source of energy you use for your water heating needs. You should consider all the home modification costs that may arise before making a switch.

However, electric water heaters have some significant upsides compared to gas powered water heaters. They are generally much easier to install, smaller in size and more cost-effective to operate. Their smaller size can be especially useful in uses where space is limited like restaurants.

Moreover, electric heat pump water heaters are also more efficient (98-99% on average)1 and consume lesser energy on average than their gas counterparts (80-85% on average)1. Prices of electricity are also projected to be more stable whereas gas prices can be volatile, adding to the cost-effectiveness of an electric water heater.

As you may recall, all electric water heaters do not use heat pump technology. Heat pump water heaters are even more efficient than traditional electric water heaters that use electric heating components.

This article by Forbes breaks down the pros and cons of heat pump water heaters in depth. An interesting aspect to note is the installation cost of heat pump water heaters. Although some of them can have higher upfront costs than traditional electric water heaters, you can pay off the difference in approximately three years due to the energy savings of heat pump water heaters.

So why are gas-powered heaters still more common than electric tankless water heaters?

There are two main reasons for gas-powered water heaters being more common than their electric counterparts. The first reason is that of mere habit. Gas-powered water heaters have been the standard water heating system and many properties are yet to upgrade to other means simply because of the costs and task of large-scale modifications. However, such downsides are usually only faced when switching power sources. Switching from a tank-style to a tankless water heating system using a property’s existing power source is a no brainer. For instance, switching from a tank-style electric water heating system to a tankless one (or a gas-powered tank-style heater to a gas-powered tankless one) has virtually zero downsides.

Myth: Electric Tankless Heat Pump Water Heaters Cannot Provide The Same Level of Peak Water Heating Capacity in High-Demand Settings Like Gas Water Heaters.

Fact: Electric Tankless Heat Pump Water Heaters Like the Electron Series Can Handle Peak Water Heating Demand in High-Demand Settings Exceptionally Well.

One of the major misconceptions about electric tankless heat pump water heaters is that they cannot provide the same level of peak water heating capacity in high-demand settings. This forms the second major reason for gas-powered water heaters being more common than electric water heaters. However, electric tankless heat pump water heaters like the Electron series can handle high hot water demands exceptionally well, thereby mitigating this perceived downfall. They are ideal for high-capacity, commercial uses. For example, you can wirelessly cascade up to 4 Electron iE1 units via Bluetooth for increased overall heating capacity. Alternatively, you can also opt for the heavy-duty iE6 to meet any scale of hot water requirements.

Heat Pump vs Tankless Water Heaters:
Which one is better?

Ever since the advent of heat pump technology, there has been a misconceived comparison with tankless water heaters. People often wonder whether heat pump waters are better than tankless water heaters or vice versa. However it is vital to note that one cannot compare tankless water heaters and heat pump water heaters because they are two different technologies for two separate functions of a water heater. 

“Tankless” refers to the structural design of water heaters that do not have a storage tank. They function differently than traditional tank-style water heaters since they heat water on demand. Unlike tank-styled water heaters, tankless water heaters do not store water in tanks. They do not need to spend energy in keeping stored water hot. Tankless water heaters can instantly heat running water when there is a demand for hot water without delay. 

iE1 Rear View

“Heat Pump” refers to the technology that helps water heaters generate the energy required to heat water. Traditionally, water heaters rely on the burning of propane/another fossil fuel or the usage of electric heating elements in order to generate the heat energy required to heat cold water. However, heat pump technology draws heat energy from air in the atmosphere around it and uses that energy to heat cold water. 

These two terms are not comparable as they address two different functions of a water heater. Most tankless water heaters still rely on traditional fossil fuel-burning/electric heating elements to generate heat energy. They simply do not store water and heat it on demand. On the other hand, most heat pump water heaters are traditionally tank-styled and use heat pump technology to generate the energy needed to heat hot water. They heat water that is stored in a tank (unlike tankless water heaters) but use heat pumps to heat the stored water.

 

Are There Tankless Heat Pump Water Heaters?

Intellihot launched the world’s first water heater that combines the tankless design with heat pump technology. Hence, the Electron series heats water on demand without storing it (tankless design) using the energy generated by a heat pump.

Heat Pump Water Heater vs Tankless Water Heater Pros and Cons

As stated earlier, tankless water heaters and heat pump water heaters are not comparable technologies. However, most heat pump water heaters are not tankless by design. Hence, it might be useful to know the pros and cons of heat pump water heaters and tankless water heaters in case one is forced to choose between the two.

Remember that Intellihot’s Electron iE1 combines the pros of tankless water heaters and heat pump water heaters while also mitigating many of the cons of either technology. In the table below, we also outline how the Electron series helps mitigate any cons associated with heat pump water heaters.

Heat Pump Water Heater Pros: 

  • Saves energy by using ambient air to heat water
  • Quick return on investment due to energy savings
  • Tax incentives and rebates

Heat Pump Water Heaters Cons:

  • Higher initial cost
  • Need more space as the heat pumps typically make them taller 
  • More effective in warmer climate

Tankless Water Heater Pros: 

  • Saves energy by heating water on demand
  • Quick return on investments due to energy savings
  • Smaller in size than tank-style water heaters
  • Mitigates hard water scaling and Legionella

Tankless Water Heaters Cons: 

  • Slightly higher initial costs

Electron Pros: 

  • Saves double the energy by using heat from ambient air and heating water on demand
  • Quicker return on investments due to 2x savings
  • Smaller in size due to tankless design 
  • Mitigates hard water scaling and Legionella

Electron Cons Mitigation: 

  • Quicker to recover initial costs due to 2x savings
  • Counters the issue of higher space requirements by using a tankless design 
  • Uses a CO₂ based refrigerant that provides better cold weather performance, thereby mitigating the con of other heat pump water heaters being more effective in warmer climate
Heat Pump Tankless Electron

Heat Pump Water Heater Pros: 

  • Saves energy by using ambient air to heat water
  • Quick return on investment due to energy savings
  • Tax incentives and rebates

Tankless Water Heater Pros: 

  • Saves energy by heating water on demand
  • Quick return on investments due to energy savings
  • Smaller in size than tank-style water heaters
  • Mitigates hard water scaling and Legionella

Electron Pros: 

  • Saves double the energy by using heat from ambient air and heating water on demand
  • Quicker return on investments due to 2x savings
  • Smaller in size due to tankless design 
  • Mitigates hard water scaling and Legionella

Heat Pump Water Heaters Cons:

  • Higher initial cost
  • Need more space as the heat pumps typically make them taller 
  • More effective in warmer climate

Tankless Water Heaters Cons: 

  • Slightly higher initial costs

Electron Cons Mitigation: 

  • Quicker to recover initial costs due to 2x savings
  • Counters the issue of higher space requirements by using a tankless design 
  • Uses a CO₂ based refrigerant that provides better cold weather performance, thereby mitigating the con of other heat pump water heaters being more effective in warmer climate

What size electric heat pump tankless water heater should I buy?

The ideal size of an electric heat pump tankless water heater depends on your individual requirements. You need to consider several factors to estimate the ideal size of an electric heat pump tankless water heater. A couple of important factors are:  

Flow rate: The rate at which water flows through multiple water outlets in your property

Incoming Water Temperature: Water enters your property at different temperatures based on your location and time of the year.

However, there are a myriad of other factors to consider. Estimating the correct requirement may require professional assistance. You can use our accurate electric hot water sizing calculator to get an individually customized snapshot of your electric water heating requirements. We guarantee accurate estimates for your individual requirements with our sizing guarantee and will pay for any additional equipment in case of an inaccurate sizing.

Find out The Exact Size Of Electric Water Heater For Your Needs

Use this free Electric Hot Water Sizing Calculator to get an individually-customized snapshot of the size of electric water heater you need. 

Click Here

How to install an electric heat pump tankless water heater?

Installing an electric heat pump tankless water heater is usually easier when compared to the installation of a gas water heater. Since tankless electric water heaters are smaller and lighter, installing them is also far more convenient. Installing an electric tankless water heater can depend on the specific model. This guide can provide a useful starting point.

When installing a commercial electric tankless water heater, it is best to seek professional assistance. Intellihot can provide installation assistance for your commercial electric tankless water heating needs. Reach out to your local contractor, Intellihot rep or contact us here.

What are the best electric tankless heat pump water heaters?

There are various factors to consider when selecting the best electric tankless water heater for you. Some of these factors include capacity, maximum flow rate, price, and efficiency. Intellihot is the proud manufacturer of the world’s first electric tankless heat pump water heaters. You can check out our tankless heat pump water heaters here and choose the one that best fits your needs.

The Electron series boasts of various features that make it the best range of commercial, tankless heat pump water heaters on the market. They are efficient and sustainable with industry-leading specifications. Moreover, they come equipped with various next-gen capabilities like Bluetooth cascading and smart grid-ready capabilities (CTA-2045 module). They can also be powered via solar energy with optional attachments making them future-proof. Some other notable features include a water-glycol concentration sensor, a touch-screen display, built-in backup with increased redundancy, and a 24/7 factory monitory capabilities that can notify you about maintenance needs in advance. 

Contact Us To Know More About The Electron Series

Featured Download

Product Catalog

Download our catalog to see our full product range.

Group 782