Hybrid water heater is the newest unit/category in the water heating industry. It also has many advanced features. It is said to be more efficient than a standard tankless unit. It uses a conventional electric storage heater and a heat pump that extracts heat from the air and uses it to help heat the water.
Also it uses tankless engine and a buffer tank to deliver satisfactorily results to the users. The buffer tank is used as secondary heat exchanger to draw more heat. The benefits of the conventional water tank and the best features of tankless are combined to enjoy both technologies. It can handle multiple showers, appliances, dishwashers and others simultaneously.
Unlike the standard tankless unit, installation is not complicated. It does not actually require expensive venting. A standard PVC pipe is commonly used. A condensation drain is necessary due to its high efficiency performance. The typical hybrid unit is designed to be installed indoor; like garage, closet, utility room, attic, basement, etc. Evaporator fan is also installed which creates a humming noise when the water heater is recovering. This is why it is not advisable to place it near the bedroom.
How it Works
With hybrid water heater, you can enjoy the unlimited hot water with consistent pressure and temperature. It uses a modulating infrared burner that is triggered by water-flow or thermostat. The multi-pass heat exchanger drives heat down then recycles it through baffled pipes for maximum efficiency. Water fills the reservoir from bottom up and spreads evenly around the heating pipes, producing continuous hot water with consistent pressure and temperature.
Also, there is so called hybrid- heat pump water heaters. Te heat pump can suck up heat from the surrounding and pump it into the storage-tank. So, if your location is warmer, the heat pump will save you money. If installed in the hot area like attic or garage, it can suck up more heat to save you more money than the conventional water heaters.
The hybrid water heater is enhanced to exceed the performance of the tankless. Though it performs like tankless, yet it exceeds the later. Unlike tankless that has limit in flow rates, has pressure drop and cold water sandwiches; hybrid however, overcomes this flaws.
- The size of some hybrid water heaters can be a disadvantage. You will need more space than the ordinary hot water heater. Some weigh 200 pounds empty.
- The cost of hybrid is also much more than a conventional electric heater. Also, there are models that you’ll have to reconfigure the water pipes to avoid possible heat pump damage from possible leaking pipe.
- Needs a regular cleaning of the air filter to maintain operating efficiency.
- A closet is not the ideal location to install it because this type of heater needs at least 1,000 cu.ft of air