An air to water heat pump functions as a heating and cooling air system as well as a water heating system. This allows for fewer appliances and reduced electrical costs. But is this necessarily beneficial, or would you be better off having separated systems at the end of the day?
Air to Water Heat Pumps
Air heat pump systems heat and cool homes by extracting outdoor air and converting that into whatever kind of air is needed to regulate the temperature inside your home. Most of these pumps have an outdoor unit installed right next to the house and an indoor unit installed inside. The compressor/condenser unit is the important part of the heat pump because it is designed to increase the pressure of the outdoor air to increase the temperature or decrease it to lower the temperature.
The most obvious benefit that homeowners can get from an air to water heat pump is that obvious fact that you no longer have to install another system to heat water. Basically what happens is that your air heat pump will be recycling the heat trapped in your air pump’s refrigerant to produce hot water. What this means is you get hot water free because the system uses a byproduct of its heating and cooling functions to create warm water. And because air heat pumps are, generally speaking, energy efficient, you don't have to worry about your energy bill skyrocketing because of that added function.
Another reason to celebrate an air to water heat pump is that its singular installation will drive down your utility and operating costs compared to a standard heat pump plus a hot water heater.
However, there are downsides to adopting this system. For one, air source heat pumps are only efficient in locations where the temperature rarely dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live somewhere with frigid winters, you may notice a considerable decrease in the efficiency of your heat pump system. Keeping that logic in mind, you may not have hot enough water if the heating capacity of the air source heat pump is compromised.
Another disadvantage is the fact that if the system breaks down, it’s not just your AC functions that will be impaired, but your ability to heat water as well. Being stuck in the middle of winter without any air heating is better than having to endure cold showers because your pump heater isn’t working as it should.