Hot Water Solutions

Woman next to a water heaterThe cost of heating water consumes almost 20% of your household budget, second only to what you spend on heating and cooling. Despite this expense, water heaters are typically ignored until they break, leaving you with no hot water and a flooded basement.

If your water heater is nearing the end of its useful life and you’re thinking of replacing it before disaster strikes, you’ll be happy to know that you have better choices thanks to recent federal regulations that require water heaters to be more energy efficient.

Hybrid Water Heater

Hybrid, or heat pump water heaters, use a heat pump to move heat from the surrounding air and transfer it to the water, much like a refrigerator, but in reverse. Hybrid water heaters also have resistance elements to heat water when more hot water is needed than the heat pump can produce. Hybrids use about 60 percent less energy than standard electric water heaters; however, they cost more than electric-only models, but the payback time is short.

One thing to keep in mind is that hybrid water heaters don’t work well in very cold spaces. They need to be placed in an area that stays between 40 and 90 degrees. They also need a lot of space; a minimum of 1,000 cubic feet of space to capture heat from the air and as much as 7 feet of clearance from floor to ceiling.


Penlight offers a $500 rebate when you replace your old electric tank with a new hybrid heater. Claim your rebate by submitting proof of purchase along with a completed rebate application form, which can be downloaded from