Moving to a fully electrified home eventually means replacing a water heater fired by gas or oil with one powered by electricity, and by far the most efficient option is a heat-pump water heater.
But because these appliances borrow heat from indoor air to heat water, are they a good choice for houses built in cold climates? That’s what’s on the mind of Michael Sterner, who shares his concerns in this recent Q&A post.
“Currently building a Pretty Good House in Northern Wisconsin,” Sterner writes. “The house is nearly finished on the outside and we’re having our plumbing roughed in. I am using a heat-pump dryer, induction stove, and a heat-pump minisplit with air handler. Naturally, I am thinking about a heat-pump water heater as well. ”
He’s considering a 50-gal. Voltex hybrid model made by A.O. Smith ($1710 through SupplyHouse.com), which promises “excellent performance in cool climates.” Sterner has seen good reviews of models like this in warm climates.
“But what about in a cold climate?” he asks. “Any measures that need to be taken, or special things that I should know about?”
That’s the topic for this Q&A Spotlight.
Noise may be an issue
Kyle R has the same unit that Sterner is considering, and he reports that placing it in the basement of his Michigan home has not created a noticeable temperature problem. Noise, however, is another story.
“It works, but it’s quite loud,” Kyle says. “My well-insulated, unheated basement never gets below 60°F in Michigan and the addition of the water heater didn’t change that. It does, however, provide significant and free dehumidification.”
Kyle suggests doing some research on units that would be quieter, and he would consider a water heater with more capacity so…