Heat Pump Water Heater Strategy

Water heater replacement is far more sensitive than HVAC replacement. A family can live for a day or two (or longer) without HVAC. They will NOT live for a few days waiting on hot water. Water heater replacement strategy for heat pumps is completely focused on early replacement and pulling demand forward.

  • The economic replacement argument is very different in California than other parts of the US market. Affordable natural gas prices combined with high electricity prices make HPWH less attractive on a purely cost driven basis. Long term operating costs and reduction of dangerous gases in the living space are potential marketing strategies, as is dehumidification of spaces such as garages.  
  • Barriers around electrical upgrades are also prevalent, but these may be mitigated in the future with introduction of 120V units.


Five Things

There are five things that need to happen for a heat pump water heater installation to take place:

1) The customer needs to know what a heat pump is, that it delivers hot water and is better than gas. 

2) There must be a contractor ready, willing, and able to install a heat pump water heater. 

3) The price of heat pump water heater can’t be too much higher than the competitive alternative. 

4) The location for the HPWH must be within recommended boundaries: size, airflow, electrical, not next to bedroom, etc..) 

5) There must be available units for install. A customer calling with a non-functional WH at 10 am needs to be able get a HPWH installed by 4 pm that day.

TECH trainings focus on the (2)nd item of the list above. Producing a contractor who is ready, willing, and able to install heat pump water heater.

The flow chart of how we produce that contractor:


TECH has partnered with the ENERGY STAR Manufacturers Action Council (ESMAC) for a series of HPWH webinars. Heat Pump Water heater strategy is a funnel that starts with an overview of the technology and product considerations, provided by ESMAC.  Interested contractors are encouraged to work directly with a manufacturer for training and once completed, are given free HPWH units for installation into the homes of their salespersons and installer.

The ESMAC webinars are open enrollment to all and my be accessed through the LMS.


Producing Ready, Willing and Able Contractors

  1. Contractors are encouraged to begin their journey with an ESMAC webinar to learn about different products available from manufacturers.
  2. After the webinar, contractors should take training from the manufacturer they would like to work with to learn the specifics of their products. 
  3. Once contractors have been trained by a manufacturer, they may request free HPWH units from TECH for installation in their homes. These units are expected to be used for salespersons and installers to help them gain comfort in selling and installing units for their customers. 
  4. This is the final phase of training, learning sizing, electrical and location constraints through planning to install into their own homes. 

Free units are ordered from TECH and ownership passes to the contractor when the unit is picked up from the distributor. These units are logged in the TECH database and savings are tracked as part of TECH's data set.