Tucked away in a utility room or garage, your water heater is perhaps the most forgotten appliance. If yours is more than 10 years old, consider upgrading to a heat pump water heater to enjoy energy savings, improved performance and a $400 rebate from Tucson Electric Power.

Claim the rebate in the form of a credit on your residential TEP account when you purchase an ENERGY STAR® certified heat pump water heater with a wireless, programmable timer/controller and have it installed by a licensed contractor.

To qualify, you must agree to program the water heater not to operate from 4-7 p.m., a period when electric use is typically high. You also must complete a Rebate Application Form and provide proof of purchase and proper permitting for the installation.

Water heating for showers, baths, dishwashing and laundry is the second largest energy expense in a typical home, costing a typical family about $600 a year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“Upgrading your old model with a heat pump water heater can at least double your energy efficiency, potentially saving homeowners hundreds of dollars a year on their electric bills,” said Tammy McKay, Program Manager of Residential Energy Efficiency Programs and Services.

A family of four can realize annual savings of $350 a year and more than $3,700 in lifetime savings with a payback period of just over two years.

According to Energy.gov, electric heat pump water heaters may be more efficient than even a gas water heater, even though natural gas costs may be low. That’s because heat pump water heaters use energy to move heat, which is more efficient than having to create heat.

“Heat pump water heaters use heat from the surrounding air to heat the water in the tank,” McKay said. “The cooled air is then released to help cool the room. This makes them ideal for use in warmer climates like Arizona.”

In order to work efficiently, heat pump water heaters must be installed in a large enough area with adequate ventilation that allows for air movement.

When buying a new water heater, be sure to select a model with a large enough tank to meet your household’s peak hot water use. The U.S. Department of Energy offers a handy guide that helps you estimate how much water your family uses for various activities so that you can choose the right tank size.

Even though heat pump water heaters cost more than conventional water heaters, they have lower operating costs and greater performance and reliability. They also produce savings that begin the minute they are installed and accumulate for years to come.

For details about TEP’s heat pump water heater rebate program, visit tep.com/efficient-home-water-heating/.