Are Heat Pump Hot Water Systems Noisy? Hear These Examples

Hybrid hot water heaters are a great way to save energy and money on your heating bills. They work by using electricity or gas to heat up the water in your tank, which is more efficient than an electric-only heater.

But you may be surprised to know, sometimes after having it installed and paying for it in full, that they can make some noise!

This article will help answer your questions about the noise that hybrid or heat pump water heaters make. And we have some videos so that you can hear what they exactly sound like as well.

Do Hybrid/Heat Pump Hot Water Heaters Make Noise?

Yes, hybrid or heat pump hot water heaters can make noise equal to anywhere from 40 to 80 decibels or more. According to decibel noise level charts, this is about as loud as conversation or regular home noise on the lower end, and a hairdryer, vacuum cleaner, or a noisy restaurant on the high end.

A diagram of WebMD's Noise Levels decibel chart. Low noise levels are green and around 30-70, and it goes to red at 120-140 levels.
Courtesy of WebMd

What Are Hybrid Hot Water Heaters?

Hybrid, or heat pump hot water heaters are efficient-efficient and save about 60-80% energy versus traditional hot water heaters. They use heat pump technology (LINK) to save this energy but otherwise look and act like a conventional storage tank heater.

A picture of the Energy Guide label showing $114 yearly energy savings, and a picture of the A.O. Smith 50 gallon hybrid heat pump hot water heater next to it.
This is the 50 gallon hybrid heat pump unit that we bought from Lowes, showing incredible energy savings vs the typical $430+ in energy a regular hot water heater of this size would use.

Some Noise Examples

Starting with the first own net-zero solar energy renovation project home, we installed the A.O. Smith Signature Premier 50-Gallon Tall 10-Year Limited 4500-Watt Double Element Electric Water Heater with Hybrid Heat Pump typically found in stock at Lowes.

I picked this one not only because it was in stock but because of the name brand, 10-year warranty, and energy savings of about $330 per year versus a traditional 50-gallon hot water heater.

This was the first time installing a hybrid hot water heater, and the noise level was a bit of a surprise.

Firstly, I didn’t think about any noise. That was far down the list to start compared to the price, energy savings, warranty, and other things.

But when it turned on, I actually thought it was broken at first! 

A.O. Smith 50 Gallon Hybrid Hot Water Heater

This is the A.O. Smith 50 gallon hybrid heat pump hot water heater installed in our garage as part of our net-zero home renovation. You can hear how noisy it is both with the garage door closed and near it as well. The measured noise level registered at around 75-80 decibels.

Not all hot waters are this noisy, but some, like this one, can be. While it was a surprise in the beginning, you get totally used to it.

I am glad it’s in the garage, however, and not installed inside the home anywhere. That would be way too loud. The energy savings and the 10-year warranty make it well worth it also.

Rheem Hybrid EcoNet Heat Pump Hot Water

This was another one I found online from Paul Breran with TinkerTry, which was helpful. This is a Rheem unit, where it’s registering right around 49 decibels. Make sure to turn your speakers up!

Some Thoughts On Where to Install

To close out this short article, I wanted to say that noise may be the most important factor in finding the best location within your home to install a hybrid heat pump hot water heater. 

Aside from energy savings, which will be a bonus to all of these systems, is to make sure to check the tech specs on the required airflow and space required of the unit you’re looking to purchase.

Conclusion

While the noise level can be alarming at first, just be sure to put it in an area where you won’t hear it or where you won’t mind the noise.

Everyone’s home, preferences, and situation will be different. In our case – the $300+ energy savings per year, 10 year warranty were well worth only hearing it when the garage door is open.

And having this seemingly magical technology actually take warm air out of the hot Florida garage, heating up the water, and emitting cold air back into the garage to cool it down is pretty amazing.

We’ll cover a lot more on hybrid hot water heaters in the near future, including a full review of our A.O. Smith one. But for now we wanted to address the question of noise on these units, since it’s come up a lot recently.

If you’d like to be notified of new articles, be sure to sign up for our newsletters on the left sidebar or in the footer. 

Erin Shine

Erin Shine

Founder | Attainable Home

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