Most of the water heaters sold are conventional ones. But sales of hybrid water heaters are growing.
"When they come to understand about the efficiency, how it costs a little more up front but will save them a lot of money over time, then they get more interested in it, so we're selling more of these models," Jan Todorski said.
Hybrid water heaters cost about a thousand dollars more than a conventional electric heater. So how long till you really start saving? Consumer reports tested three to see.
Hybrid water heaters work like conventional electric ones, but they also have a pump that draws in heat from the air to help heat the water.
Hybrid water heaters tend to be taller because the pump is usually mounted on top. As a result, you'll need at least a seven-foot ceiling and about a thousand cubic feet of space.
To evaluate, engineers set the temperature to 65 degrees in this specially built enclosure. The test results are based on how much hot water a family of four might use in a day - about 80 to 85 gallons.
It turns out that the hybrid water heaters consumer reports tested can save you more than $300 a year compared to a conventional electric water heater.
"That means they could pay for their purchase price and installation costs in as little as five years. That's a lot faster than either solar or tankless heaters," Bob Markovich said.
If you're looking to buy a hybrid heater, consumer reports says this one from Rheem is a good choice.
It costs about $1,400, plus installation. And you'll see a drop in your electric bills right away.
Consumer Reports says if you're thinking of buying a hybrid water heater, now is definitely the time to do it. That's because there's a 30 percent federal tax credit available through the end of this year.