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Will a Heat Pump Water Heater Work Well in Winter?

There are more options for water heaters today than there were a few decades ago. Back then, “water heater” almost always meant a storage tank water heater, a system that uses a supply of water kept at a constant temperature inside a tank using gas jets or electrical heating elements. But today there are tankless systems as well as systems that rely on different sources of power, like the heat pump water heater. This type of heat pump removes heat from the surrounding air and then applies it to the water. A heat pump water heater is extremely energy efficient and costs much less to run than a standard electric water heater.

Heat pump water heaters during winter

But what about during the winter? Yes, your water heater is stored indoors, but it’s usually located in a basement or garage, an area of the house that isn’t kept heated and as warm as the other spaces. How can a heat pump draw heat from cold air?

It sounds like a heat pump water heater would have a hard time doing its job through a chilly Illinois winter. This same concern comes up with the heat pumps used for home comfort, since they must draw heat from the air outside. That just doesn’t seem possible during deeply cold weather.

We can reassure that it is possible. Modern heat pumps have reached a level of technology where they do not encounter excess strain at drawing thermal energy from the air when the temperature plunges. There is always heat available in the air, no matter how cold it gets. (The exception is absolute zero, but this is only a theoretical temperature. And if the temperature ever got near absolute zero, you’d have more problems than whether your water heater worked or not!) Heat pumps can draw sufficient heat from the outside air even in sub-freezing weather. So the heat pump in a water heater, which is located inside your house, will have no trouble at all with pulling heat from the cool air in the basement or garage.

If you want to find out if a heat pump water heater is right for your house, contact our professionals at Malek Heating & Cooling. We’ve served Wilmette, IL and the rest of Chicagoland since 1998.

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