Heat pump water heaters are an increasingly popular eco-friendly option for heating water in homes nationwide. As concerns grow about the environmental impacts of traditional tank-style water heaters, more homeowners are switching to these sustainable heat pump alternatives.

Heat pump water heaters work similarly to mini split heat pumps used for air conditioning and heating systems. They use electricity to transfer heat from the surrounding air into stored water, providing hot water throughout the home. Because they can efficiently extract existing heat from the outdoor air rather than generating heat through combustion, heat pump water heaters are up to three times more energy efficient than standard tank water heaters.

This blog post will explore the benefits of heat pump water heaters and how they can help homeowners lower their energy consumption and reduce their carbon footprint. We’ll consider factors and typical installation requirements when choosing a heat pump water heater. Finally, we’ll discuss whether the upfront investment pays off over the long run through lower utility bills.

How Heat Pump Water Heaters Work

Heat pump water heaters transfer heat from the air outside into stored water inside the unit. Like mini-split heat pump systems used for heating and cooling homes, they use a refrigerant circuit consisting of an evaporator coil, compressor, and condenser coil to absorb and concentrate heat from ambient air. 

Warm refrigerant gas flows from the outdoor evaporator coil inside to the condenser coil wrapped around the water storage tank. Here, the gas condenses, releasing its heat into the surrounding water. 


A fan circulates air outside the evaporator coil to keep the heat transfer process going. Heat pump water heaters can achieve extremely high efficiency levels—upwards of 300% compared to 50-70% for standard electric resistance water heaters—by extracting usable heat already in the outdoor air rather than generating heat. This makes them a much more eco-friendly option for homeowners looking to reduce their utility bills and carbon footprint.

Benefits of Heat Pump Water Heaters

Heat pump water heaters have several key benefits that make them appealing for homeowners looking to save money and help the environment. First, they are  more energy efficient than standard electric hot water systems

According to a study, natural heat transfer processes can cut water heating costs by up to 66%. This large energy savings translates directly to lower utility bills every month.


Heat pump water heaters are also better for the planet as they produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions over their lifespan. Switching to one is an impactful lifestyle change a homeowner can make to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Some local utilities and government programs also offer rebates or tax incentives for installing heat pumps. With lower operating costs and potential upfront discounts, heat pump hot water systems can pay for themselves over time.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Heat Pump Water Heater

When researching heat pump water heaters, homeowners must consider several important factors to select the best unit for their needs and home. The suitable hot water heat pump systems depend on a home’s unique characteristics, budget, and energy usage patterns.

1. Storage capacity

Heat pump water heaters come in various sizes, usually 40-80 gallons. Consider your household’s daily hot water needs to select the proper capacity.

2. Energy efficiency rating (EER)

Look for the Energy Factor rating, with higher numbers like 14-16 indicating better efficiency.

3. Brand reputation

Research top brands like Rheem, GE, and AO Smith, which are known for quality and reliability.

4. Installation requirements

Check unit dimensions and locate near pipes/elec within manufacturer guidelines.

5. Warranty length

More extended factory warranties of 5-10+ years offer better protection for parts/labour costs.

6. Electricity needs

Consider circuit size and potential for upgrades if high-wattage units draw more power.


7. Indoor vs outdoor placement

Outdoor units may have more efficiency, but indoor access is easier for maintenance.

8. Ducting requirements

Some models need venting outdoors; consider the costs of ductwork installation.

9. Controls and smart features

Compare units with adjustable temperature settings and WiFi connectivity.

10. Plumbing compatibility

Ensure the unit works with your existing water lines for easy hookup.

11. Available rebates

Check with utility/government for rebates lowering the effective purchase price.

12. Lifespan

Most heat pumps last 10-15+ years when regularly maintained, outlasting standard tanks.

13. Cost

Consider long-term energy savings versus a higher upfront price tag versus gas/electric heaters.

Installing a Heat Pump Water Heater

Installing a heat pump water heater requires some considerations beyond placing the unit where traditional water heaters previously sat. Proper placement is essential as heat pump units work best in open areas with ample airflow, such as a conditioned basement or utility room. 

The unit must also be horizontally level for water to circulate appropriately. New electrical circuits may need running depending on the heater’s power needs. Plumbers should be consulted to disconnect the old water lines and connect the new unit per the manufacturer’s instructions. 


If the heat pump water system is far from the original water sources, this may involve running new pipes. Insulation on nearby pipes is also advised. Once in place, the system is commissioned and checked for leaks before use. 

Permits are often optional, but it’s best to verify that local plumbing and electrical codes are followed. An experienced professional typically completes the overall installation in 4-8 hours.

So, Are Heat Pump Water Heaters Eco-Friendly? 

Hot water heat pump water heaters provide a cost-effective and sustainable option for heating domestic hot water in Australian homes. Their high efficiency can lead to considerable savings on electricity bills each year compared to conventional electric storage heaters. 

The upfront investment in a heat pump unit is repaid within a few years through lower utility costs. In addition to financial benefits, homeowners also enjoy reducing their environmental footprint by choosing renewable heat pump technology.

If you want to learn more about installing a heat pump water heater in your Brisbane home, contact The Brisbane Plumbers. As a licensed plumbing contractor experienced in heat pump installations, we can assess your hot water needs, recommend the right size and model, and handle the entire integration process. 

We are happy to provide a quote and answer any other questions. Switching to an eco-friendly heat pump water heater is accessible for Brisbane households, saving them money on utilities while helping the environment. Contact The Brisbane Plumbers today.