In world plagued by increased cost of living and a whole range of other associated economic pressures, you’d be forgiven for asking it:
Is a heat pump really worth the investment?
In this article, we’ll take a look at what a heat pump does, why it’s the industry-best method of achieving reliable, sustainable and guilt-free hot water in your home, and what you can do to make sure you’re getting the best-possible deal on this impressive contemporary technology. But first, let’s address the most fundamental of questions: what exactly is a heat pump, and how does it work?
What is a heat pump?
A heat pump is now widely understood to be the most clean, efficient and long-term cost-effective method of providing key elements of heating and cooling to your home. A heat pump is a device that can heat (or cool – more on this later) a water source, room or building by transferring thermal energy from the outside, ambient air into the home using the refrigeration cycle.
As we hinted at, many of the top quality heat pumps available on the market (such as those stocked by G Store) can also operate in the reverse direction – that is, cooling the water source, room or building by removing heat from the space and ejecting it into the ambient air outside. Pretty smart, huh!
How does a heat pump work for hot water?
Now, this is pretty cool: a heat pump works on pretty much the same principles as a refrigerator. Yes, you read correctly! You might be asking yourself how exactly this works (we’re talking about, predominantly, heating, right?), so let us take a moment to explain.
Instead of pumping heat out of the fridge to keep the water source or space cool, a heat pump transfers heat into the water source – that is, where it’s stored. Then, electricity is used to pump a refrigerant through the system which actively transfers the heat absorbed in the outside ambient air to the water in the storage tank.
There are several, much smaller steps in the refrigeration cycle/process. Let’s take a look at each in depth:
- Within the system, a refrigerant passes through an evaporator (component of the system) where it collects heat from the outside ambient air and transforms into a gas
- The compressor then does it’s main job, compressing the the gas and causing it to increase in temperature (becoming hotter than the water in the tank)
- The hot gas then flows into the condenser (another element of the hot water system) where the heat is passed into the water, turning the refrigerant back into a liquid
- Finally, the liquid refrigerant then flows through into what’s called an expansion valve – here, the pressure is reduced, allowing the refrigerant to cool
- The cycle repeats thereafter
It’s important to note that two main types of air source heat pumps are available in the contemporary market:
- Air to heat pumps – these absorb heat from the outside air, transferring it into your home via a fan system
- Air to water heat pumps -these absorb heat from the outside air and then transfer it inside your home to provide hot water heating, underfloor heating, or otherwise
What’s more, heat pumps are generally available in two configurations: integrated/compact systems and, just like air conditioners, split systems:
- Integrated/compact systems – the compressor and the water storage tank are installed as a single unit
- Split-systems – the compressor and the water storage tank are separate (just like a split-system air conditioner)
Remember: there’s a high-quality heat pump to suit your exact needs and specifications – just call our friendly G Store team on 1300 766 940 to walk through your options! We’d love to help.
How much does a heat pump cost?
To summarise, the cost of a heat pump is usually within the range of $2,000-$5,500, depending on a range of factors relating to the quality, efficiency and included warranty on the unit. Over its lifetime, a high-quality heat pump can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars in water bills. How? Let’s look at the Reclaim Energy CO2 Heat Pump Hot Water System as a key example of just how much you can save – it really does start to make that initial investment seem like less of a hurdle!
The Reclaim heat pump system has an average COP (Coefficient of Performance) of 5. This means that, for every 1 kW of electric input, the system generates about 5 kW thermal output. When compared with traditional electric hot water systems (the most common kind installed in Victorian homes), this system generally consumes about 80% less energy. What’s more, this particular CO2 heat pump has excellent cold weather performance meaning you won’t need to use up additional energy with an electric heating element.
Remember that while a cheaper heat pump might offer you a lower upfront investment or price point, it may not necessarily be the best fit for you in terms of factors like operating temperature (cheaper systems tend to require higher environmental operating temperatures).
Don’t risk cold showers in the middle of winter – speak with us today (call 1300 766 940) about which system is best for you. Note too that we’ve written a whole blog answering this exact question – if you want to learn more, check it out in our Learning Centre here.
What other options do I have for installing a new hot water system?
While heat pumps facilitate, by far, the most safe, clean and efficient hot water systems on the market, you do have other options available to you.
Are you ready to find a heat pump that’s best-suited to your specific interests and needs? Check out our Learning Centre for further info, or give our friendly sales team a call today on 1300 766 940 for your obligation-free consultation.
We can’t wait to meet you.