120V HPWH Research (Phase II)

This research project is a field study in Wisconsin and other Midwestern states to assess cold climate performance for 120-volt heat pump water heaters in the Midwest. The field assessment of 120V HPWHs will validate the performance of this new class of water heaters in cold climates to address decarbonization and energy saving opportunities in Wisconsin. Field validation will provide evidence of performance for the supply chain and help design program strategies to effectively target the best applications.

Implementer: Slipstream
Timeline: March 2023- December 2024
Sector: Residential

Heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) use heat pump technology to heat your water more efficiently than standard water heaters, including electric resistance and gas- or propane-fired water heaters.

Many existing HPWHs need a 240-volt connection to work, which may require a costly panel upgrade in your home. A 120-volt heat pump water heater, however, works with any electrical outlet.

Focus on Energy is conducting a field study to test how well 120-volt HWPHs work in real homes. We are looking for participants to receive a free 120-volt HPWH so we can gather data on its energy use over a one-year period.

To qualify, households must meet the following criteria:

  • Have an existing gas-powered water heater.
  • Are a customer of a participating Focus on Energy utility in Northern Wisconsin.
  • Have no more than four people in the household.
  • Typically use a low to medium amount of hot water.
  • Live in a single-family or multifamily home.

Why should I participate?

  • Your home will save energy. Heat pump water heaters are two to four times more efficient than standard water heaters, so your home will use less energy to make hot water.
  • You’ll help prove a new, exciting technology. Participants in this study will pave the way for more people to adopt 120-volt HPWHs in their homes.

What do I need to do?

  1. Complete the pre-installation survey so we understand your existing equipment and household details, including how much hot water you use.
  2. If accepted, allow the field study team to replace your existing gas water heater with a new 120-volt heat pump water heater.
  3. If accepted, allow the field study team to install energy monitoring equipment to gather data on your HPWH and your hot water use for one year.
  4. Use your hot water like normal.
  5. Tell us about your experience through 3 surveys.

Will my family’s personal data be safe?

Yes. All data gathered during the study will remain confidential. Any personally identifying information will be handled securely as required by Focus on Energy’s IT Security & Confidentiality Policy and Procedures.

Do I need to upgrade my electric panel?

No. 120-volt heat pump water heaters work with your existing electrical outlets.

What if my electric bill goes up?

Although your HPWH will be more efficient than the gas water heater, switching an appliance from gas to electricity might result in a higher utility bill overall.

How can I participate?

If you qualify for the project, someone from the Focus team will reach out to you within 2 weeks.

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