Help Me Find a Plumber for Heat Pump Water Heater Install
June 10, 2021 2:07 PM   Subscribe

I need a new water heater for my single-family home in Houston, Texas (US) (ZIP 77083). At present, I'm strongly favoring a heat pump electric model. Recommend a good plumber who can do this if you know one who is local. Else, educate me on how to find the right person / company for the job.

How do I find a plumber who does reliable work and will give me sound advice?

Getting a referral through one of the big box stores seems like a pessimal option. Asking friends and co-workers seems to get me recs for people who are either their relations or who will minimize cost at the expense of all else, or both.

Can you suggest someone who serves west Houston (and say why you like them)?

If not, can you give me some suggestions about how to approach researching this? What worked for you (even if you don't live near me)?

I've got a 17+ year old electric water heater that's on its last legs (and wasn't great to begin with). I need to replace it within the next month or two. I'm strongly inclined to go with one of the heat pump models, though my plan is to explain my needs to the plumber and let them recommend specific equipment. (Do I have this backward? Do I pick the heater I want and ask the vendor for authorized installers?)

The current water heater is 50 gallons, which is plenty for Mrs. Sourcequench, myself and our very occasional house guests.

The space available is 28.5" W x 27.75" D x 77.5" H. 220VAC power and a drain line to the outside are in place. The location is not adjacent to an exterior wall, so any solution requiring venting is a non-starter.

Butterflies:

The heater is in an enclosed, un-air-conditioned garage, so noise is unimportant, and there is a large volume of hot humid air near to hand (and cool dry air would be hugely welcome).

Any sort of water softener is a hard nope. In my understanding, this rules out all of the on-demand water heating options.

Energy efficiency and long-term reliability are extremely important. I'm willing to pay more up front to get them. I'd like it if maintenance were easy, infrequent or both.

"Smart" Internet-connected devices are not happening unless I have full protocol documentation, source code and can host any needed server myself. (I'm OK with connectivity being an option as long as I can turn it completely off.)
posted by sourcequench to Home & Garden (2 answers total)
 
In our area, gas water heaters are almost universal, and the plumbers we called mostly seemed inexperienced with HPWHs. We ended up finding a home energy efficiency contractor (they also do insulation, HVAC, etc) to do the work. They had installed several HPWHs before and were knowledgeable about them.
posted by ContinuousWave at 10:19 PM on June 10


I have a HPWH and it requires significant free space around it for possible maintenance. Make sure to verify there is enough free space around the unit in your designated spot. This should be noted in the manual.

A HPWH is really just a different type of electric water heater. No special expertise is required on the part of the installer. Mine is a GE.
posted by LoveHam at 4:07 AM on June 11


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