Upgrade Your Water Heater - Fine Homebuilding

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Fine Homebuilding: The Magazine

Fine Homebuilding: The Magazine


Upgrade Your Water Heater

comments (0) April 29th, 2009 in Blogs
RDA Robyn Doyon-Aitken, producer

The AirTap is a retrofit heat pump that installs on top of a 30-gal. to 80-gal. water heater; it does the same work as a water heater, but more efficiently.Click To Enlarge

The AirTap is a retrofit heat pump that installs on top of a 30-gal. to 80-gal. water heater; it does the same work as a water heater, but more efficiently.

Photo: Manufacturer

by Jefferson Kolle

AirTap

■ Manufactured by AirGenerate
■ 713-574-6729; www.airgenerate.com
■ Cost: about $700


When Sunil Sunha owned a commercial Laundromat, he spent a lot of money on hot water. So it’s easy to see why he came up with the idea for the AirTap, a retrofit heat pump that installs on top of a 30-gal. to 80-gal. water heater.

The premise is simple: A compressor extracts heat from the air and sends it into the water heater’s tank through a closed loop of copper tubing. The AirTap is not a preheater; it actually does the same work as a water heater, just more efficiently. As a bonus, the cold air that gets vented by the AirTap can be tied into an air-conditioning line or vented elsewhere in your house (vent kit: $79). The AirTap unit requires access to a drain to get rid of the quart of daily condensate the unit produces in a humid environment.

The average American household with a gas or electric water heater spends about 14% to 25% of its total energy costs on heating water. An AirTap cuts this in half. In the future, AirTap’s parent company plans to introduce an all-in-one heat-pump water heater (as opposed to the current retrofit model) and also a larger unit for commercial use—in Laundromats, no doubt.

Watch the video

While at a trade show, Fine Homebuiding editor Chris Ermides got up close and personal with an AirTap heat pump.

 Watch a video of Chris explaining exactly how the AirTap works.  



—Jefferson Kolle is a freelance writer in Bethel, Conn.


posted in: Blogs, energy efficiency, plumbing

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