Heat Pump or On Demand hot water heater?

Its time to replace my hot water heater. I currently have a 22 year old 40 gallon electric tank. It started leaking and I put new heating elements in it and it might have solved the problem for now. I am wait and see if the leak was coming from the heating element seal. I have been researching what to replace my unit with and I just learned about these heat pump hot water heaters.

They seems to be way more complex than the old reliable unit that is going on 22 years. They effectively have a AC compressor and two heat exchangers and will require drain plumbing for the drip line.

The on demand water heaters require MASSIVE electrical or gas needs. I have propane which is 7-12 times more expensive than natural gas on a BTU basis. The propane/gas on demand units require something like a 200,000 BTU feed. My home furnace is only 80,000 BTU. This would require me to bury a larger propane line to the house from the tank, get a larger propane regulator, and basically replumb the propane lines in the crawl space. As far as electric on demand goes, they require insane electrical demand that would require some costly electric upgrades to supply the 100+Amp service (My whole house is only on a 100 amp service). I also see the endless hot water causing a increase in water usage as there is no urgency to get out of the shower.

This leads me back to the old tank style. Maybe get a higher efficiency old faithful or the more costly (more maintenance, more parts to fail) heat pump style. My electric rates are only about $0.085/KWH so I am leaning towards the new heat pump style is not worth the extra hassle even with the 30% tax credit.

Anyone have input on the on demand or hybrid units?

22 years!!
Holy cow.
I have lived in my house for 16 years and am on my third one.
IMO, sometimes the mousetrap doesn’t need to be reinvented.

Can you put up solar panels? That would help with the cost.

Next week, I’ll have been in my house 22 years. Still the same water heater. This topic has come up a few times and people keep saying they last 8-15 years. IDK, but mine is still going.

I’m going on 20 years, it stopped working a few years ago, cleaning the burner solved the problem. I get my furnace/ac cleaned and checked every 2 years and my guy says I should get at least 30 years out of it.

Make sure you periodically check or change your anode rod. This keeps them from rusting and corrosion buildup.

I could. Are you buying them? Way to turn a $500 hot water swap to a $35,000 investment.

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Not even close. Electric water heaters consume about 1 dollar of electricity a day. A few panels would offset that nicely.

35k would run everything. That’s more than the system I was looking at for a 6k square home and I keep it cold.

My existing heater has two 4,500 watt heating elements. I suspect that they run more in the evening or early AM when people shower. The sun is not shining during these hours. In fact, since nobody is home during the day, the power consumption is fairly low in general during the daylight hours.

I like the heat pump but I’m betting that’s more expensive than the on demand water heater.

We replaced our two water heaters about 18 months last year. First pair lasted 9 years and the second pair lasted 11 years. Our heaters are natural gas. We looked at tankless and were not comfortable how well they would work since they are about as far from our bedroom as they could be and still be in the house. The tankless would also have been $2-3K more than standard. We went with a simple replacement.

Best advice I ever got from a plumber, never buy a cheaper price water heater from a big box store. All I would get is 5-7 years. Go to a plumbing supply house to get one, you will probably pay double over the big box but you should get 3-4 times the life.

Had to get one over Easter weekend several years ago.
I was working PT for Home Depot at the time.
Saturday morning I called the HD 800 number for “same day installation”, they transferred me to a local plumber (HD subcontracts a lot), who stated they could get out there in a few days, told them I was going through HD, and they said they could be there in a few hours. When the installer got there he pulled out the heater and told me his boss had put in a 10 year guaranteed heater even though I only paid for the 7 year, so I was getting a free upgrade.

If it exceeds usage you’ll push it back to the grid.

Plumber always said buy the one with the longest warranty. They’re built to a higher standard, more insulation, etc.

I’ve had to replace two in the past 25 years. Both were a while back and both were due the the plastic 'dip tube" coming apart… I had thought that when my existing tank goes bad, I might look at tankless, but from what I read, you had better do routine maintenance on them or they aren’t going to last very long at all. And since it’s just me, I never run out of hot water.

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