A Hybrid Heat-Pump/Electric Hot Water heater is an appliance very similar to a typical electric hot water except it is significantly more energy efficient.
A Hybrid Hot Water heater uses the technology in your refrigerator except it runs backwards.
Heat is pulled from the air surrounding your water heater (typically in the basement) and "pumps" it to a higher temperature comfortable for domestic hot water.
A typical New Hampshire basement is a very constant 65F year round because it is in direct contact with the earth across the entire floor which never changes.
The Hybrid Hot Water circulates air from around the heater and concentrates the heat in the tank to provide hot water.
The heaters are called "hybrid" because they can operate in the old fashioned "resistive" mode to create hot water faster and without making the surrounding air cooler but at the cost of using significantly more electricity.
But most of the time they will operate in Heat Pump mode which is much more efficient.
The Hybrid Hot Water has the extra advantage that is will cool AND dehumidify your basement in the summer.
You will need a small pump to pump out the condensate just like a dehumidifier but you are getting the hot water for free!
In the winter, the Hybrid Hot Water heater will make the basement cooler but your furnace will typically provide plenty of waste heat to make hot water.
Hybrid Hot Water heaters do make some noise - similar to a dishwasher. They also need sufficient air circulation so they cannot be located in a closet or outside. They are relatively easy to install yourself or you can have the home center do it for you.
Here in NH, there are two main suppliers of Hybrid Hot Water heaters. There are others and please contact HAREI if you are aware of others that are generally available here in NH.
Below is a comparison table of the 4 models available at the local home centers and a traditional hot water heater.
EnergyStar.Gov has details on all Energy Star Hot water heaters
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