You may be familiar with a tank and a tankless water heater; however, there’s an option for a hybrid water heater in the market as well that could consider buying for your home. But, what is a hybrid water heater? Well, a heat pump water heater and a hybrid water heater are both different terms for the same product. It is an energy-efficient water heater that runs on electricity to warm the water, storing it in the tank.

But, if this water heater also warms the water and stores it in the tank, how is it any different than a conventional tank water heater? To know the answer to this question, you may read on.

How does a hybrid water heater work? 

A heat pump water heater (hybrid water heater) runs on electricity and stores warm water in its tank; however, that doesn’t make it a conventional electric tank water heater. It has its own unique water heating technology that sets it apart from the typical tank and tankless water heaters.

A heat pump water heater absorbs heat from the outside environment and uses it to heat up the water in the tank. The electricity allows the heat pump to collect warm air from the surrounding atmosphere and make it go through the evaporator coils that are filled with refrigerant. The warm refrigerant then passes via a compressor where high pressure is applied to it and its temperature increases. It then moves through a condenser, passing on its heat to the water in the tank and becoming cool again to continue the same cycle.

This technology is similar to the one in refrigerators and air conditioners but here it works in reverse. Like a fridge, a hybrid water heater doesn’t expel the heat to create a cooling effect; rather it uses the heat, moving it from one place to another to warm the water. And as a by-product, it releases cold air and water in very small amounts which also makes it an environment-friendly product.

Why are heat pump water heaters called hybrids?

A heat pump water heater is called a hybrid because it can employ two methods to heat up the water. The initial method which it uses is the heat pump that doesn’t rely on energy to generate heat; rather it takes the heat from the encircling air to warm the water.

On the contrary, when hot water is needed in high demand, it shifts its mode to electric heating. Hence, the name hybrid comes into play. The hybrid water heater supplies consumers with ample hot water by using the typical electric heating method used in electric tank water heaters.

So, you never have to worry about running out of hot water. Also, this whole process makes a hybrid water heater an energy-efficient unit that allows consumers to save a lot of money on their energy bills.

Do hybrid water heaters work efficiently in cold weather?

Although hybrid water heaters are an ideal choice for homes that are located in areas with warm climates, heat pump technology today has become advanced enough to operate smoothly even in cold climates. That’s why it won’t be wrong to say that hybrid water heaters can work efficiently in cold weather.

Split-type heat pump water heaters are capable of warming water even at -25°F. These units can efficiently meet a standard household’s demand for hot water at lower temperatures with ease. They are also easy to install and as usual, save you a heavy chunk of your energy bills.

The Pros of a hybrid water heater:

  1. Highly energy-efficient:

By now you must understand why a hybrid water heater is highly energy-efficient. As this water heater uses the existing heat from the atmosphere instead of fusing power to generate it, this water heater can save a family of 4 members at least $425 per year according to the government’s website Energy Star.

  1. Eco-friendly:

Heat pump water heaters are eco-friendly as they do not emit greenhouse gases like other water heaters. Not only do they save energy and cut costs on bills but release cold air as a by-product that is harmless to the environment.

  1. Tax Credits and Rebates:

Tax credits and rebates are offered to households by the government to encourage the use of eco-friendly products that help save energy in the long run. Although heat pump water heaters can be pretty expensive, such offers can help families afford hybrid water heaters easily.

The Cons of a hybrid water heater:

  1. Very expensive:

Because hybrid heaters are not very common in the market, they can be very expensive for a homeowner to buy. The price range can lie anywhere between $1,500 to $3000, unlike a traditional water heater that you may get somewhere between $550 to $1050. The installation costs may add up to more expenses. So, even though a hybrid heater helps cut down energy costs, the initial expense could be too much for a household that may put this water heater out of their budget.

  1. Not very efficient in cold climates:

A heat pump water heater won’t work very efficiently in cold climates. The usual hybrid heater works perfectly in a warm temperatures like 40°F. So, it won’t work below this temperature. However, there are units like split-type heat pump water heaters that would warm water even at -25°F. That’s why depending on the unit you own, your hybrid heater may or may not work efficiently in cold climates.


Hybrid water heaters, also known as heat pump water heaters, are an excellent upgrade choice, considering the amount of energy and money they can help you save over the course of the machine’s lifespan. Even though they are expensive, the tax incentives can allow you to afford a unit that’s eco-friendly and good enough to meet your household’s hot water demands. As compared to a conventional tank or tankless water heater that emits greenhouse gases and costs quite a lot of cash on the bills, choosing a heat pump water heater might be a good option for you.