Are heat pump water heaters worth it?

Fast read

In comparison to conventional electric or gas water heaters, a heat pump water heater is much more energy efficient. This is because they have the ability to absorb the heat from the atmosphere and transfer it to the water tank.

This process is powered by electricity. With the ability to last upwards of 15 years, using a heat pump water heater can help you save over 70% on heating expenses over its life span, compared to a traditional electric tank, making them an excellent investment for those living in a bigger household.

A heat pump water heater is also a more environmentally friendly option as they have the ability to dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. 

However, before going ahead and installing a hot water heat pump, you must consider your financial position as the initial upfront costs can be higher than that of the conventional water heater. Nevertheless over thel ife of the system you will bank savings due to the much lower running costs. 

What are the benefits of a heat pump water heater?

Many Australians in the past overlooked heat pump hot water systems when looking to upgrade a hot water system. When professionally installed, heat pump hot water systems can reduce water heating costs by up to 70%, compared with a standard electric tank. This makes them almost three times more efficient than the standard gas or electric water heaters that many Australians have. 

However, the main issue many people have with them is that they are slightly more expensive than traditional water heaters. So is the higher price worth it? PS: In some States like NSW they now attract a special rebate – so they are becoming more affordable.  

How is a heat pump water heater different?

Unlike traditional electric and gas water heaters, which have to create heat, heat pump water heaters use electricity to move heat from one place to another. Weirdly they work like a refrigerator in reverse since they pull heat from the surrounding environment and transfer it to a higher temperature in your water tank. 

So what exactly are the benefits?

The first significant benefit of a heat pump water heater is its efficiency. These systems are far more energy efficient compared to electric storage heaters or LP gas heaters. The extra efficiency comes from the fact they extract heat from the air around them rather than burning energy through combustion. It’s literally a fridge in reverse. 

Heat pumps use a minuscule amount of electricity to run the compressor and the modern units like the Reclaim heat pump do not have any toxic refrigerants, as they operate on CO2 gas. Purchasing this system type can reduce your carbon footprint significantly. Since they have higher energy efficiency and use recycled heat, they also allow for a reduction in your energy bills.

The major downside of this system is that it needs to operate more efficiently in colder climates. Since they draw heat from the air, generating hot water may take a little longer in a colder months. Hybrid options allow electricity to be used as a backup for situations like this. Otherwise, it would help if you gave the system more time to produce hot water.

installer working on heat pump
Heat pumps promise to be an innovative technology to lower our electricity consumption when it comes to heating & cooling as well as hot water generation

So are they worth it?

With a higher initial upfront cost ranging from $2,000 to $4000, depending on the available rebate, not including installation these systems will set you back more than traditional hot water systems.

However, for the average family of three, having one of these systems will save you roughly $500 a year on your electricity bill. With an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years, a heat pump hot water system can save you approximately $7,500. 

Not only this, but you will also reduce your carbon footprint significantly compared to other traditional water heaters. If you have a solar system installed on your property, these savings can increase dramatically as you produce hot water virtually for free.

Therefore, if you are looking to upgrade your hot water system as it is coming to the end of its life, consider forking extra cash for a heat pump hot water system, especially in larger households. This is because the savings can increase in larger homes, making them an overall even better investment.

What to look out for

If you have decided to purchase a heat pump water, there are a few considerations you will need to go over when selecting which one is best for you. Here are some questions you should be asking a professional:

  • Is there a lengthy product warranty? How long does it cover you? 
  • What kind of refrigerant is used in the system?
  • Is there a timer and controller included with the system?
  • How many litres of hot water will the heat pump generate in 1 hour?

After reviewing these questions with a professional, they can point you toward the best system for you.

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