Are Heat Pump Water Heaters Worth It? 

24 / 04 / 2023

Heat pump water heaters only use 30 per cent of the energy of conventional electric hot water systems (source: Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water). They’re highly efficient because they absorb the free heat from the surroundings and use that to heat the water. It’s like the reverse of how refrigerators work, where instead heat is pumped out of the fridge to keep the interiors cool. 

With this greater efficiency of heat pump water heaters over electric hot water systems, more and more people now choose heat pumps for high energy savings on the long run. However, there are still considerations before you’re certain that this is the most practical choice for you. 

Your location is important 

First, you have to consider your location and your local climate. Remember that heat pumps absorb heat from the surroundings. In other words, there has to be sufficient heat in the surroundings in the first place so that heat pumps can actually work. If there’s not much heat (the place is cold), it will be extremely hard for the equipment to extract the heat it needs. As a result, it’s highly recommended that heat pumps are installed in sufficiently warm locations (ideally, 4.4 to 32.2). 

In addition, because heat pumps draw air from its immediate surroundings, the area where it’s installed will cool down. This will further make it hard for the heat pumps to extract the air it needs. As a result, it’s often recommended that heat pumps are installed in areas with excess heat (such as furnace rooms that can continuously heat the space for the heat pumps to use). 

Other options 

Although heat pump water heaters are roughly three times more efficient than electric hot water systems, those drawbacks mentioned make the households explore other options. For example, one other popular option is having a solar water heater. With free energy from the sun, the water heater’s energy use will be lower. You will save money in the long run and get a payback for the higher upfront costs after a few years (heat pumps also have a higher upfront cost but you’ll also save money in the long run). 

Ensuring you will save money 

Still, you have to compare your options and know if a particular hot water system is right for your requirements and location. It’s highly recommended that you contact a hot water specialist first before you make your choice. This way, it will be certain that you’re actually saving money in the long run. This will also help ensure that your daily hot water needs will be met because you chose the right system.