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Pros & Cons of Hot Water Heat Pumps: Which is right for you?

Heat pump hot water system

Choosing the right hot water system for your home is imperative. You’ll have to choose the right heating method, choose between storage or continuous flow systems, and weigh up the size, cost and energy efficiency of each. If you’re thinking of buying a hot water heat pump system, this article offers a few important factors to consider.

Heat pumps work by providing a heat exchange from one point to another, using a compressor and a liquid or gas refrigerant in a circular structure, extracting heat from the exterior to the indoors. They have many advantages, such as low energy use. Heat pumps are increasing in popularity across the world, as an efficient way to lower the cost of running the home. Many different brands, including Rheem, Dux, Rinnai and Stiebel Eltron have started stocking heat pumps and related products as part of their range in response to this high demand.

If it’s time for a new hot water system, read on to discover whether a heat pump system is right for you.

What is a heat pump water heater?

Diagram of hot water heat pump

The easiest way to understand heat pumps is that they are a refrigerator in reverse, extracting heat from the environment and releasing it into the system to heat the property. Essentially, a heat pump will transfer heat from a lower temperature to a higher one, pumping heat from one place to another. Many heat pumps have the capacity to cool the building by removing heat from space and transferring it outside.

In heating mode, the outside temperature is compressed, causing the refrigerant in the heat pump to become hot. This thermal energy can be transferred into the indoor unit, before being moved outdoors again for decompression. Heat pumps have a low carbon footprint, and their efficiency can be expressed as a coefficient of performance or COP. The number becomes higher with less energy consumed.

How heat pump technology works

 A heat pump has four major components: evaporator, compressor, expansion valve and condenser, and works through a four-step process:

  1. At the evaporator, the heat will be transferred from the outside environment to the refrigerant flowing through the system. As the refrigerant heats up, it will expand and turn into gas.
  2. From here, the refrigerant will flow through the compressor before moving to the condenser.
  3. Once it reaches the condenser, the refrigerant will release heat into the system, turning it into liquid/vapour.
  4. At the condenser, the refrigerant will expand through the compression valve before moving back to the evaporator to recirculate through the system, acting as a heat exchanger.

The benefits & drawbacks of hot water heat pumps

Before making any major purchase, it’s important to understand the perks and downfalls so you can make an informed decision.

Pros of heat pumps

  1. Lower running costs 

The more energy efficient a system is, the more potential savings exist for monthly energy bills. Pumping the heat through a heat pump uses less electricity, and when paired with solar panels, a heat pump can attain more than 300% efficiency.

  1. Less maintenance 

Generally, the elements of a heat pump can be checked by the owner of the system. Overall, they require less maintenance than other systems, with a professional maintenance check only required every 3-4 years.

  1. Energy efficient

A heat pump moves heat rather than generating it, consuming much less energy and producing fewer greenhouse gases than any other system on the market.

  1. Better safety 

Heat pumps are safer than some other heating systems that rely on combustion technology. They do not require fuel to produce energy and come with fewer safety risks than some other water heaters.

  1. Reduces carbon emissions 

Air source heat pumps don’t require a high amount of power consumption to run, as their power comes from the air at the external temperature, with electricity only required to power the heat pump’s internal operations. This can reduce electricity use and your carbon footprint dramatically.

  1. They can act as split systems 

If you live in an area with extremes of both temperatures, heat pumps will serve you well year-round, with the ability to reverse the process and act as an air conditioning unit.

  1. Long life span
    Heat pumps are famous for their long life spans, lasting up to and beyond 20 years. Guaranteeing returns from day one and requiring servicing just once annually, your heat pump will be saving you money from the get-go.

Cons of heat pumps

  1. More complicated installation process

Not every DIY’er can install heat pumps. Plenty of research is required to understand the heating and cooling needs of your household. You will also need to understand the best position for your heat pump and the way the heat moves in your area. It’s best to hire a professional hot water installation expert for this.

  1. Higher upfront cost 

Heat pump water heaters are well-built and long-lasting machines, resulting in their initial costs often being higher than some other water heater types. However, their lower energy use will quickly provide cost savings.

  1. Can struggle in cold weather 

Some heat pumps can struggle in cold weather, not reaching their full efficiency and damaging the internal components. However, instead of avoiding them altogether, chat to our team about upgrades to help during winter.

  1. They can get noisy 

Some heat pump water systems can be noisy during operation, which can be remedied by strategic placement away from the house.

Is a heat pump hot water system right for you?

Many households benefit immediately from heat pump system installation. Particularly ideal for those without room to install a storage tank, consumers can enjoy reliable, affordable hot water with the peace of mind that they’re lowering their greenhouse gas emissions overall. Heat pumps are quickly becoming the finest, most recommended heating solutions available owing to their impressive level of efficiency, affordability, long lifespan, low maintenance requirements and reliable functionality. With every con having a remedy, there is little question that a heat pump will provide the hot water solution you’ve been looking for.

There is only one name to remember when considering your hot water system needs – Same Day Hot Water. With supply Australia-wide and installation in every state and major city, we can help your home experience the advantage of reliable and efficient hot water at the click of a button. Shop our range of hot water systems online, or get in touch to discuss your repair and maintenance needs.

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