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You can install a heat pump hot water as an alternative to a traditional solar hot water system, such as solar hot water, solar panels, and a collector tank installed on a roof spring. A heat pump system can quickly provide a return on investment when properly designed and installed.
A heat pump is a different way to use renewable energy to heat water; they don’t need solar panels! Heat pumps can save you a bundle of cash on your hot water bills, as they use approximately one-third of the energy of an electric water heater.
What is a heat pump hot water system?
Since the sun is ultimately responsible for heating the air, a heat-pump hot water system can be viewed as a particular solar water heater. Unlike solar hot water systems, heat-pump systems lack an electric or gas-boosting system. However, they consume electricity when heating water to run the compressor and fan on the evaporator.
How does a heat pump hot water system work?
A heat pump is like a reverse fridge. It transfers the heat in the air outside the unit to the water stored inside the heater through a heat exchange system. In the case of heat pumps, “heat” is a relative term as they will still work in very cold conditions* – at least -10 degrees Celsius, so they will still generate hot water for you during winter nights. How is that possible?
Here’s how the hot water heat pump works:
- External air is drawn into the heat pump system via a fan into an evaporator containing a particular refrigerant stored in piping. The refrigerant used is called R134a, which isn’t a CFC, so it doesn’t negatively affect the earth’s ozone layer.
- R134a has an evaporation or boiling point of -26C, whereas water has a boiling point of 100C. Temperatures that feel very cold are still more than enough to make the refrigerant “boil”. The air drawn into the system, which is far warmer than the refrigerant, turns the refrigerant from a liquid into a gas inside the heat pump’s piping.
- A compressor then pumps the now gaseous refrigerant through a small valve, compressing it and generating great heat.
- A heat exchanger transfers the heat from the heated refrigerant gas pipes to a tank where water is stored.
- The refrigerant temperature has dropped dramatically as the heat has been drawn away, so it returns to a liquid state, and the heat pump cycle begins again.
Benefits of heat pump hot water
- Massive savings in hot water-related expenses over the long term.
- A heat pump produces between 3 – 5 times more renewable energy than electricity required to power the unit.
- It’s an environmentally friendly hot water option given the reduced greenhouse gas emissions through fewer energy requirements.
- A heat pump is effective even in low temperatures. An electric assist is activated in extreme cold to ensure the water stays at the desired temperature.
- No roof space or panels are needed.
- Ease of installation as a solar heat pump uses the same connections as an electric hot water system.
Heat pump suitability
Installing heat pump hot water systems in locations with low average temperatures is not advisable. Although the units will work in cold weather, installation in cold climates will cause longer compressor runtimes, reducing the unit life expectancy and greater energy consumption.
Heat pump installation is not advisable in RECs zone 4 or Zone 3’s colder regions. Zones 1 and 2 are generally warm enough to enable the efficient operation of heat pumps. The yearly ambient temperature should equal or be greater than 19 degrees Celsius.
To determine your zone, check the Clean Energy Regulator, which maintains a list.
How much does a heat pump cost?
The price varies depending on your needs and location, but you can expect to pay between $2500 and $5500 for the unit. However bear in mind that other factors have a significant impact on this number, making it indefinite.
To understand how much a solar heat pump costs and what factors may affect heat pump cost, keep an eye on the following factors.
- You will always pay a little bit more for a higher capacity. You may select the ideal heat pump, whether big or small, based on the size of your family and your needs. Nonetheless, it has been shown that a 200L one will be adequate for a typical household of four if each person uses 50L of hot water per day.
- Solar heat pump installation cost. You must take into account the installation costs in addition to the price of the heat pump hot water system. Again, the answer cannot be found in a single step. The installation may charge you more for a larger system in a tougher house area. Similar to how labour costs may decrease along with installation costs for a lower-capacity heat pump with an easier installation process.
Suppose you replace your old demanding electric system with an efficient hot water solar heat pump; there are enormous government solar hot water rebates available in South Australia and Victoria.
Check out our page to learn about solar hot water rebates.
Energy Matters has over 17 years of experience in the solar industry and has helped over 40,000 Australian households in their journey to energy independence.
Contact us and let us discuss the hot water system rebates, subsidies, and incentives available to you. Use our free solar quote system to get up to 3 free heat pumps and hot water system quotes from our network of trusted, local installers. Complete our quick quiz and begin your solar journey today!
Our professional solar installers in Brisbane will assess and determine your energy needs. We customise a solar panel system in Brisbane to fit the roof size of your property, ensuring you receive the most suitable solar panel system for your Brisbane home, meeting to property’s energy requirements.