two men installing a heat pump water heater in a garage

Heat pump water heaters are energy-efficient alternatives to traditional home heating solutions. However, they can be pretty expensive, so you need to consider every aspect before buying one. For example, where you install your heat pump water heater is crucial, so can you keep it in your basement?

Having a heat pump water heater in your basement is a great idea, especially if you live in a warmer climate. You’ll give the appliance plenty of heat to extract and use to warm the water quickly. In a cold climate, the water heater will be more inefficient and take longer to heat up.

In the rest of this article, I’ll show you all the pros and cons of putting heat pump water heaters in your basement. I’ll also answer any additional questions about the effect of the heater on the surrounding environment.

Can You Install Heat Pump Water Heaters in Your Basement?

The basement is usually one of the most popular places when considering a spot for any water heater. Water heaters are well hidden in the basement, protected, and generally out of the way.

For these reasons and more, installing a heat pump water heater in your basement is a popular option.

Generally speaking, you need to consider a few things before you make the decision.

Basement Aspects You Need To Consider

Wherever this hybrid water heater goes, the room you place your heating in needs to fulfill certain conditions. While considering where to put this particular type of heater, consider what your basement is like and where you live.

a list of heat pump water heater considerations from Energy Star, with a yes and no column on the right for checkboxes
Courtesy of Energy Star

Since this type of water heater works uniquely, some basement conditions can be more advantageous than others.

  • The temperature inside the basement and the heat pump water heater are affected by one another. This heater removes warm air from its environment to heat the water supply effectively, so the water heater’s efficiency depends on the climate where you live and the temperature inside the basement. While it’s not a huge difference in changing temperatures, it can still make a room colder.
  • The heat pump water heater directly affects the humidity level in your basement’s air. Heat pump water heaters affect the temperature, as you’ll recall, and consequently, the humidity of the surrounding environments. You must keep in mind how humid your basement is throughout the year.
  • The time you spend in the basement is another crucial aspect. Some people have offices, personal gyms, or workshops in their basements, meaning they spend a good part of their lives in that space. If you spend a lot of time in your basement, the effect of the heat pump water heater will be much more noticeable, and it may not be ideal for you.
  • Most heat pump water heaters make noise. If you spend a lot of time down there, just be aware that it’s not fully silent. Some actually make a lot of noise. Check out this article we made (with video and sound) so you can hear exactly what different ones sound like from our own projects.
  • The size of your basement determines how much you’ll feel the effects of the heat pump. The larger the space around the heat pump water heater, the smaller its impact. If you have a small basement, it might be better to place the heater elsewhere. On the other hand, a large basement won’t experience drastic changes in the same way.

You can check out this article on the blog to learn more about the benefits of heat pump water heaters and whether they’re right for you.

A photo of a finished basement with a heat pump water heater, overhead lighting, blue furniture, and a television
Your basement can get pretty toasty with a heat pump water heater, so keep that in mind!

The Pros and Cons of Heat Pump Water Heaters

Before you settle on this energy-efficient heating solution, you’ll need to know more about how it works and whether it’s suitable for your home.

Moreover, you should consider the pros and cons of your basement and location. In some cases, a factor could be an advantage; in others, it could be the opposite.


Installing a heat pump water heater in your basement can be beneficial in several ways.

Cools the Air During the Summer

Let’s assume you work out or do your DIY projects in your basement. Imagine how unbearable all these activities can be during the summer or in a hot climate, especially if there’s no air conditioning.

A heat pump water heater will extract all the heat around you to heat the water, so you’ll be left with a cool basement where you can work in peace.

Man wearing a teal t-shirt against a teal backdrop holding an oscillating fan in one hand and his shirt in another
A heat pump water heater can prevent uncomfortable days in your basement during the summer.

You get to heat the water and cool the air in the basement simultaneously. This heater will work perfectly if you live in a warm climate and use your basement frequently.

Acts as a Dehumidifier

By extracting heat from the air around it, your heater will ensure your basement doesn’t get too humid. In a way, a heat pump water heater acts as a dehumidifier.

If you put your heat pump water heater in your basement, you can take advantage of this feature.

Unfortunately, basements are notoriously humid, and spending a lot of time there can adversely affect your health. With a water heater that’s also a dehumidifier, you can solve the humidity problem without needing a separate device to decrease humidity.

Energy Efficiency

Since your water heater heats the water and cools your room simultaneously without using additional energy, you can rest assured that your energy usage will decrease over time.

Energy efficiency is one of the primary reasons many switch to heat pump water heaters. You can save over $300 annually on your total energy bill.

In our own first and second netzero solar home projects, each heat pump water heater installation saves us about $400 per year vs. a conventional one. That’s crazy!

a new heat pump water heater installed in a garage next to a parked tesla model 3

These water heaters are also very durable and require less maintenance than other traditional methods, so you’ll save a lot of money in the long run.

Safer Than Other Types of Water Heaters

Water heaters that use fuel have extra safety concerns since they are more likely to cause fires and gas leaks, especially in a basement with no air circulation.

On the other hand, energy-efficient heaters are becoming more popular since electricity gives consumers peace of mind.

More Environmentally-Friendly

Heat pump water heaters help you decrease your carbon footprint over time. Consequently, heat pump water heaters are significantly more environmentally friendly than other water heaters.

Installing eco-friendly appliances in your home also decreases your bills, so it’s a win-win for you and the environment.


Depending on your specific situation, these heaters have a few disadvantages.

Cools the Air During Winter or in Cold Climates

The cooling effect can be advantageous in some situations and a problem in others. For example, your basement is typically colder during winter than the rest of your house.

The heater will be able to extract heat even from lower temperatures but will do it more inefficiently and can take much longer, which can damage the heater in the long run.

Heat pump water heaters will only work efficiently in your basement if it’s cold. That’s especially the case if you heat your basement infrequently.

In moderate climates, the heat pump water heater still works well, and the loss in efficiency is minimal. However, in lower temperatures, it can be an issue.

Can Take Longer To Heat Up

Heat pump water heaters take longer to heat up than regular water heaters.

Since they transfer the energy rather than generate it, they need more time to heat the water, especially when it’s freezing, as explained above.

Your heater taking a long time to heat up might be one of the deciding factors for you, so you need to consider this particular disadvantage before investing in a heat pump water heater.

A homeowner in a shower holds her hand under the showerhead to test the water temperature
You could be waiting quite a while for your shower to warm up with a heat pump water heater.

More Expensive

The efficiency and environmental friendliness of heat pump water heaters come at a cost. The technology used and the added benefits increase the price of these heaters considerably.

Heat pump water heaters can be three times as expensive as standard water heaters.

If you’re on a budget, you may reconsider getting a heat pump water heater. However, not only will you spend more on the heater, but the installation will also be much more expensive and take longer to complete.

While they save you money in the long run, the upfront cost is not worth it if your budget is minimal.

Noisier Than Other Types of Water Heaters

Heat pump water heaters generate considerable noise because of their fan motor and compressor.

Putting them in the basement is a good choice since the noise isn’t as easily heard in the rest of the house.

However, the volume levels could be better if you spend a lot of time in the basement or have a tiny home. In those scenarios, the noise level of these heaters can be distracting and even unhealthy.


Heat pump water heaters are unique in the way they work. They don’t generate heat but instead use electricity to extract heat from the surrounding environment, which they use to heat the water.

That makes them more efficient and environmentally friendly, especially in hot climates or during the summer.

However, when temperatures are low, heat pump water heaters work less efficiently and take more time to heat the water. If your basement is especially cold, there may be better ideas than installing a heat pump water heater.

Sources and Additional Articles That Could Be Helpful:

The Sunrise Guide: Case study: heat pump water heaters & damp basements

Energy Vanguard: Will a Heat Pump Water Heater Freeze Your Basement?

ENERGY STAR: Considerations – Heat Pump Water Heaters (HPWHs)

GreenMatch: Heat Pump Advantages & Disadvantages (2022)

Department of Energy: Heat Pump Water Heaters

Attainable Home: Heat Pump Water Heaters: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide for 2023

Attainable Home: Why You Should Use an Electric Water Heater Instead of Gas

Hunker: Dangers of Gas Water Heaters

Forbes: Heat Pump Water Heaters: Complete Guide, Pros and Cons And More

Consumer Affairs: Are heat pump water heaters worth the cost?

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