Heat pumps are an extremely efficient and affordable way to heat hot water for your home. In some cases, these can save you as much as 70% over the cost of an electric water heater. There are also government rebates available under the “Renewable Energy Certificate” program that can help offset the cost of a heat pump (credits range from roughly $400 to $1000 in the Sydney area), making it a very affordable option for reliable, sustainable hot water.
How Does a Heat Pump Work?
Heat pumps work quite a bit differently than an electric or gas hot water heater. In general terms, a heat pump uses the heat stored in the outside air to heat the water inside your hot water tank.
But it’s a bit more complex than that: thanks to chemistry and unusual compounds called R134a refrigerants, heat pumps can pull heat from the outside air even if the temperature is less than -10 degrees celsius.
Here is how the process works:
- A fan pulls outside air into the heat pump unit.
- That air comes into contact with a coiled pipe (or “condenser”) containing the refrigerant compound R134a, a non-CFC that doesn’t affect the ozone layer.
- Because the liquid refrigerant R134a boils at extremely low temperatures (-26C), the “heat” of the outside air causes R134a to boil and evaporate into a gas.
- A compressor pumps the R134a, now a gas, through a small valve. This compresses the gas, which generates a great deal of heat as a byproduct. This heat is gathered by a heat exchanger and transferred to heat the water in the tank.
- The R134a, which has now cooled, returns to a liquid state and is ready to begin the cycle again.
Benefits of Using a Heat Pump
Heat pumps provide some great benefits to the user. The main pluses of this system are:
- Produces (in the form of heat) 3-5 times the amount of energy as is required to operate the unit.
- Large savings in hot-water heating costs over the long term.
- Environmentally friendly due to lower electricity requirements.
- Requires no roof space
- Simple to install with standard hot water system connections.
- Includes electric assist unit for extreme cold
Is a Heat Pump Right For You?
While heat pumps are a great option, they won’t work for everyone. If the average yearly temperature of your area is lower than 19 degrees Celsius, a heat pump may be less efficient than a standard high-efficiency electric water tank. This may be a good option for many people in the Sydney area.
If you’re interested in a heat pump for your home or business, call Hot Water in a Hurry on 1300 426 468 for a free consultation. Visit our info page to learn more about heat pumps.