We have water tanks, we have tankless water heaters, but what is a hybrid water heater? A company called Eternal has a Condensing Hybrid water heater which is a revamp of its original Eternal Hybrid system. What you end up with is a water heater that enjoys the benefits of a tankless but with fewer drawbacks.
As a homeowner, if you’re going to replace your gas water tank with a tankless you will almost certainly need to up-size the gas lines going to the tank. This means more plumbing work, time, and money. The average complete cost of a tankless retrofit therefore can be between $2,500 and $5,000 compared to $800 to $1000 to replace a tank. You can see why many, despite the efficiency and “cool-factor”, opt not to go tankless.
The Condensing Hybrid promises 98% efficiency (as good if not better than quality tankless systems) with a more meager BTU input. Gas line resizing may not be necessary. They claim their system can replace multiple tanks and support multiple faucets.
Eternal uses its own exhaust to re-heat the water for greater efficiency, and runs the water bottom-up to preventing excess sedimentation which cuts back on flushing and cleaning needed to keep those tankless systems running properly.
How does it work?
Heat coils are used in conjunction with a small reserve tank (2 gallons). This prevents the delay and that cold water-hot water “sandwich”. Eternal claims to use a 3 cycle process that pushes the heat in 3 directions. From what we can gather this simply means the heated water is recycled back through the system to make great use the thermal energy while slowing the exhaust heat. Pretty neat.
The Condensing Hybrid comes with a load of redundancy safety features such as duel stage gas valve, over heating protections, and a gas valve leak detector. But maybe the best safety feature is that Eternal’s exhaust emission is only 1 PPM (part per million) of carbon monoxide thanks to its combustion efficiency
It completely depends on the installation required. But they may be less expensive AND more efficient than a tankless. It still qualifies for tax credits and LEED as well. Call your local green plumber.