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Pros + Cons of Heat Pump vs Solar Hot Water Systems

Sanden heat pump hot water system

With concern about greenhouse gas emissions and rising energy costs being more important than ever, many households are turning to more efficient water heating systems. 

Solar Hot Water and Heat Pump Hot Water systems are both energy-efficient options, but which is the best choice for you?  

This page will provide a comparison between these two types of hot water systems, looking at their advantages and disadvantages. We’ll look at both upfront and ongoing costs, and the technology involved in each type of system, among other factors, to help you decide which hot water system is the best investment for you.

An overview of the two hot water systems

Before we start comparing the two types of hot water systems, let’s define exactly what a heat pump system and a solar-powered system are and how they work.

Heat pump hot water systems

A heat pump works by moving (or pumping) heat to different places using a refrigerant compressor and a circulating system of liquid or gas. Through this, heat is drawn from an outside source, such as the heat of the soil or air, and then used to heat your home. The mechanics of a heat pump hot water system bares a strong resemblance to an air-conditioner, except instead of maintaining the temperature in your house, it’s heating your water. Compared to electric heaters, a heat pump water heater uses much less electricity.

Solar hot water systems

A solar-powered hot water system uses the energy of the sun and converts it to heat the water in your home. These systems require solar panels and a storage tank. The general rule of thumb is you need 1 square metre of solar panel for each person’s hot water needs. For a smaller household, one large panel should be enough, whereas in a larger home you may need two. Overall, you’re looking at about $4000-8000 for a fully installed solar panel hot water system, though this price can vary depending on the specifics of the job.

Heat Pump Pros and Cons

On paper, heat pump systems are a great way to cut down on carbon emissions and lower electricity bills. Before you put down your hard-earned cash on a new system, let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of heat pump systems.

Pros of Heat Pumps

Saves Money in the Long Run

Up to 30% of the average household energy bills are spent on water and heating costs. A hot heat pump is like an air-conditioner or refrigerator that heats water and uses a lot less energy to run than electric and gas hot water systems.

Energy Efficient

A heat pump hot water system is one of the most energy-efficient options on the market. Along with lower running costs, this means a lower amount of carbon emissions, making it an environmentally friendly water heating choice.

Low maintenance and long lifespan

Though a heat pump has more components than other types of water heaters, the good news is they require little maintenance. A well-looked-after, quality heat pump hot water system should last at least 15 years.

Safe for Families

A heat pump unit won’t get hot, unlike the storage tanks on some models, making it a safer option for families and pets.

Cons of Heat Pumps

More Expensive upfront price

Compared to other types of water heaters, a heat pump will cost you more upfront. This may be an issue if you are on a tight budget or you need an emergency replacement heater.

Not great for very cold climates

Because a heat pump relies on warm air to function, it can be problematic in low ambient air temperatures, like you’ll find in colder climates and areas. This is unlikely to be a problem in a warmer state like Queensland but could be an issue further south, like in Victoria and Tasmania. Talk to your local hot water expert for advice on the best system for your local climate.

More difficult to repair

Heat pump systems have more components than a standard electric hot water system. This makes them a more difficult system to fix, so you’ll need to hire a skilled expert, like the team at Same Day Hot Water for any repairs.

Solar Hot Water Pros and Cons

When people think of environmentally sustainable, solar panels are the first thing that comes to mind. While it may be the most well-known alternative energy source, there are a few things you need to consider when deciding if solar power is best for you.

Pros of Solar hot water

Cost saving

Ongoing costs are a major factor to consider when purchasing a hot water system and are the major flaw of both electric and gas tanks. Solar panels have lower ongoing costs, and you’ll soon notice it on your power bill. Governments often offer rebates or incentives for solar panel installation, so you may be able to make further savings if you play your cards right.

Reduced Power Bills

We’ve all felt that drop in our stomach when we saw how high the latest electricity bill is. Though the initial cost of installation of a solar-powered unit is higher than other systems, what you’ll get in return is long-term savings.

Hot Water all day

Solar power doesn’t only work when the sun’s up. The energy absorbed from the sun is kept in a storage battery, to be used at your convenience.

Energy efficiency

Along with lowering the cost of your energy bill, solar power units significantly cut down your carbon footprint.

Low Maintenance

When installed correctly, solar panel hot water systems need little if any maintenance. Make sure to hire a trusted installer or company to set up your hot water system to provide you with peace of mind.

Cons of Solar hot water

Difficult to install in some homes

There’s no getting around it: a solar system needs solar panels and somewhere to install them. Depending on the design of your home and roof space, this could lead to some complications.

Needs direct sunlight to function properly

 Like any product, the correct installation will make all the difference to your solar panels. Not only do you need space for your solar panels to be installed, but they’ll also need to be placed where they can absorb the most sunlight. If you have a lot of shade around your home, you may not get the most out of your solar panels.

Effectiveness depends on the weather

 The one downside of solar panels is you are at the mercy of the climate. Your solar panels should be able to still absorb UV rays on a cloudy day. However, a few grey days in a row can reduce the effectiveness of your system.


Which of these efficient hot water systems is right for you?

When it comes to deciding on the best system for you, it’ll come down to the following factors:

  • Your location and the climate
  • Budget (this can be impacted by how planned or unplanned your replacement is).
  • What you want from your hot water heater (lower ongoing costs, environmentally friendly, etc).
  • Personal preference

At Same Day Hot Water Service, we take care of all your residential and commercial plumbing needs. So, whether you need a service, your system requires maintenance or you need a whole new system, the team at Same Day Hot Water Service have all the bases covered. We can provide an estimate on any repair and offer a wide range of models – we have something to suit every home. So, for advice, queries or to organise an appointment, get in touch with our friendly team today!

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