Graphic of a crocodile in the shower with pink palm trees in the background and the caption "Heat Pump Water Heaters in Florida"

Heat pump water heaters are a sustainable option for homeowners looking to update their water heater system. These water heaters are hybrids and use the ambient air temperature around the unit to heat the water. Because of Florida’s year-round warm weather, it’s a great place to install a hybrid water heater.

While the generally high humidity in Florida can decrease the efficiency of hybrid hot water heaters, the warm air and warmer water temperature increase the overall efficiency of the unit. Heat pump water heaters not only work in Florida but can also be a huge benefit in homes. These water heaters can save up to 64% on energy costs for homes in Florida.

We’ll explain why heat pump water heaters are an asset to homeowners in Florida. We’ll also discuss the benefits and potential inefficiencies of having a heat pump water heater in your Florida home.

Benefits Of Heat Pump Water Heaters In Florida

Being in Florida has a number of advantages when it comes to owning a hybrid water heater. In fact, that’s exactly what we chose for our first net-zero home renovation in Florida. But you don’t have to live in Florida to take advantage of this green technology!

As we mentioned, these water heaters use the ambient warmth in the air to help heat the water to the desired temperature. If the air does not get the water warm enough, electricity is used to heat the water the rest of the way (hence the term “hybrid”). (Here’s a longer explanation, if you’re interested.)

Heat pump water heaters can be twice as efficient as standard water heaters, can pay for themselves in two to three years, and have about a 15-year life expectancy. That’s about five years longer than the standard electric water heater.

Warm Ambient Air Year-Round

One of the huge advantages that Florida has over other states is that it is warm year-round. This means that the heat pump water heater can work at high efficiency every month of the year. With balmy temperatures even in winter and truly hot temperatures in the summer, the water heater can minimize the amount of electricity used and maximize the effect the ambient air can have on heating the water.

Naturally Warmer Water

Because the ground does not freeze and ground and air temperatures are consistently warm, the water itself is already at a warmer temperature than most of the country. In fact, the average water inlet temperature in Florida is 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of the water is consistently high enough that very little energy is needed to raise it up to the desired temperature.

In Florida, the average outlet water temperature from a hybrid water heater is 117 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that the water heater only has to increase the temperature by an average of 30-40 degrees. It’s easily able to use the warm air around it to do most of the heating.

Unit Can Dehumidify & Cool

Another huge benefit is that the unit naturally dispenses cool, dry air. It can act as a dehumidifier since it exhausts cool air to the room or area where it is installed, typically a utility room, garage, or laundry room. This means that the water heater can decrease air conditioning costs or simply make the area it is located in more comfortable.

Photo of the heat pump water heater in the corner of the garage of the First Attainable Home
The heat pump water heater can work to its full potential, and our Florida garage gets cooled and dehumidified. Win-win!

Potential Inefficiencies Of Hybrid Hot Water Heaters In Florida

As with anything, hybrid water heaters are not perfectly efficient. Some aspects of Florida weather could decrease the efficiency of the heat pump water heater.  It’s important to know about these potential inefficiencies, but luckily, they do not have a significant impact on the long-term functionality of the unit.

High Humidity

With the heat in Florida also comes high humidity levels. High humidity can cause the hybrid water heater to work harder to produce the same results as in less humid areas. One of the benefits, that the unit naturally dehumidifies the air, can also be a bit of a downfall. That’s because in humid areas, the appliance needs to pull more water out of the air.

While the higher Florida humidity can cause slight inefficiency, it will likely only impact the overall effectiveness of the unit during the most humid times. And even then, it will only have a minor impact.

Space Requirements

As with any state, the sizes of homes can vary pretty widely across Florida. It is worth mentioning that hybrid water heaters do need a bit more space than a typical electric water heater. About 1,000 cubic feet of air is recommended around a hybrid water heater. (So, to oversimplify, a 10 foot by 10 foot by 10-foot room.)

Luckily, because of the warmer weather year-round, there is some flexibility with the placement of the hybrid hot water heater. It could be put in a utility room, laundry room, or attached garage. Unlike some homes in other states, most Florida homes do not have a basement which can also be a great place for a hybrid hot water heater. If you’re short on space, an energy-efficient tankless water heater might be a better option.

Conclusion

So, do heat pump water heaters work in Florida? Absolutely! In fact, Florida’s naturally warm climate and water temperature make it a great place to install a hybrid water heater. The humidity could decrease efficiency in some cases, but the amount of energy saved with the air and water temperatures far outweigh the effects of humidity.

If you have the space in your home and are in need of a water heater, hybrid water heaters are a great choice. You could even take advantage of incentives to increase your savings. The benefit of Florida’s climate on the efficiency of the water heater is substantial and can save homeowners thousands of dollars over the course of its life.

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