Midwest 120-Volt heat pump water heater research study

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Learn about our field study and plug in to a new, exciting technology

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 because they draw more power, which may require a costly panel upgrade in your home. A 120-Volt heat pump water heater, however, works with any existing electrical outlet.

On behalf of Consumers Energy, ComEd, and Focus on Energy, Slipstream is conducting a research project to test how well 120-Volt HPWHs work in homes. We are looking for participants to receive a free 120-Volt HPWH so the research team can gather data on its energy use over a one-year period.

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 may lower carbon emissions in your everyday life. Your home will no longer burn fossil fuels onsite to heat your water, and you’ll be prepared for when your electricity comes from renewable sources.

You'll help prove a new, exciting technology. Participants in this field 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 appropriate pre-installation survey for your utility so we understand your existing equipment and household details, including how much hot water you use.
  2. Allow the field study team to replace your existing gas water heater with a new 120-volt heat pump water heater.
  3. 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 periodic surveys.

How can I participate?

Enrollment for this study is closed.


Will my family’s personal data be safe?

Yes. All data gathered during this study will remain confidential; we will never share any personal identifying information.

Do I need to upgrade my electric panel?

Nope. 120-Volt HPWHs 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 will result in a higher electric bill. Your combined bills after switching from gas to electricity will be similar. 
  • Switching from an electric resistance water heater to a HPWH will reduce your electric bill.
  • Switching from a propane water heater to a HPWH will increase your electric bill, but will reduce your combined electric and propane bills.

Other questions?

Contact Slipstream's lead researcher on this project:

Jon Koliner

Jon Koliner
Senior Researcher, Electrification
jkoliner@slipstreaminc.org | 608.729.6834