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Understanding And Maintaining A Heat Pump Water Heater

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From showering and bathing to washing clothes and dishes, it is easy to see why your home's water heater is so important. Unfortunately, the amount of energy used by a traditional water heater can be wasteful and costly, so reducing your energy usage without affecting your supply of hot water is smart. Considering a heat pump water heater is 2 to 3 times more energy efficient than traditional models, installing this eco-friendly option in your home is a worthwhile investment.

Understanding how heat pump water heaters reduce energy usage is beneficial, too. When your heat pump absorbs heat from the air, it transfers it to the water in the storage tank. Moving this already-heated air into your water heater uses less energy than creating the heat for your water. Of course, proper maintenance on your heat pump water heater is imperative to ensure it remains energy efficient and functional.

Disconnect and Inspect

To get started maintaining your heat pump water heater, you must disconnect the power to the system. Turn off the electrical breaker and then disconnect the wires from the electrical supply.

Locate the T&P valve, or Temperature Relief valve, which releases pressure if the temperature of your water heater tank gets too high. Without the T&P valve, hot water will build up inside the tank, creating an excess amount of pressure and an increased risk of an explosion.

To ensure the temperature relief valve is working properly, lift the valve's tab and let it go quickly, allowing only a small amount of water to flow out. If you hear a gurgling noise from the valve, water is draining properly. If the water continues to flow out of the tab even after it is closed, replacing the valve may be necessary.


Dirt, debris, and sediment will accumulate inside your water heater's tank over time. This sediment may not be seen, but it can corrode the water heater system and decrease its energy efficiency. Thankfully, performing a min-flush on your heat pump water heater is a simple way to reduce the buildup of sediment. Complete the following steps to flush sediment out of your water heater:

  1. Disconnect power to your water heater. This reduces the risk of shocks and electrocution.
  2. Place a bucket under the drain valve of your water heater.
  3. Turn the drain valve to allow water to slowly drain out of the tank. Do not touch the water, since the hot temperature may burn your skin.
  4. Allow the a few gallons of water to drain out of the water heater tank before closing the drain valve.
  5. Reconnect power after closing the drain valve.

Improve Efficiency

Energy star certified heat pump water heaters conserve energy, which reduces your monthly energy bills, as well. However, you can improve the efficiency of your heat pump water heater even further using insulation.

To reduce heat loss by 45 percent and decrease your costs to heat water by 9 percent, wrap your water heater tank using a blanket insulation kit. These kits are readily available at your local hardware or home improvement store and can be cut to fit the size of your specific text.

Wrap the blanket insulation around and under the water heater tank, leaving the top of the tank open. Secure the blanket in place temporarily using masking tape. Use a marker to mark the location of temperature and pressure relief valve. Remove the blanket insulation and cut the marked area.

Wrap the insulation blanket back over the tank, ensuring the T&R valve fits through he opening of the blanket. Secure the insulation in place using electrical tape.

Proper understanding and care is important to protect the efficiency of your heat pump water heater. Using this guide, you will enjoy a longer supply of hot water with a decrease in your energy usage. 

For more information on maintaining your heat pump water heater, contact an HVAC professional or a plumber from a company like Wright Total Indoor Comfort.