Most homeowners who have a heat pump, use them to heat and cool their homes – they are an integral part of a reverse cycle air conditioner. But a heat pump also can be used to heat water – either as stand-alone water heating system, or as combination water heating and space conditioning system. Heat pump hot water is becoming increasingly popular throughout Australia.
How a Heat Pump Works
Put simply, a heat pump uses electricity to move heat from one place to another, instead of generating heat directly. For this reason, they can actually be two to three times more energy efficient than conventional electric water heaters, which use inefficient heating elements to heat the water. A heat pump works just like a refrigerator, but in reverse.
A refrigerator works by pulling heat from its interior, and dumps that heat into the surrounding room. Conversely, a stand-alone air-source heat pump water heater pulls heat from the surrounding air, and dumps it into a tank of water.
Because heat pump water heaters draw heat from the surrounding atmosphere, they require installation in locations that aren’t consistently cool. To work efficiently, the temperature would need to remain in the 5º–32ºC range all year round. They also need to be installed with at least 30 cubic meters of air space around the water heater so that the exhausted cool air can dissipate. Ideally they are installed outdoors, but the cool exhaust air can be exhausted to the house.
Selecting a Heat Pump Water Heater
Heat pump water heater systems typically cost more upfront than a conventional hot water system. However, they have lower operating costs, which offsets their higher purchase and installation prices. Also, talk to The Brisbane Plumbers about government rebates for which you may be eligible.
Before buying a heat pump water heating system, you also need to consider the following:
- Size and first hour rating
- Fuel type and availability
- Energy efficiency (energy factor)
- Overall costs
Heat Pump Hot Water Installation and Maintenance
Proper installation and maintenance of your heat pump water heating system can optimise its energy efficiency.
Proper installation depends on many factors. These factors include fuel type, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues. Therefore, it’s best to have a qualified plumbing and heating professional install your heat pump.
Improving Energy Efficiency
After your heat pump water heater is properly installed, try some additional energy-saving strategies to help lower your water heating bills. For example, if you have solar power, you may program your water heater to only run during the day.
Some energy-saving devices and systems are more cost-effective to install with the water heater.