Are Heat Pumps Better Than Gas Water Heaters? 

21 / 03 / 2024

Choosing a hot water system often goes down to two main options: gas or heat pump. Both offer reliable hot water, but which reigns supreme? Let’s talk about the features and advantages of each. 

Gas Water Heaters: Reliable and Readily Available 

Gas hot water systems have dominated Australian households for decades. They are: 

  • Fast and Efficient: Gas heats water directly, providing instant hot water on demand. 
  • Reliable: Unaffected by power outages, gas systems offer peace of mind, especially in regions prone to power cuts. 
  • Lower Upfront Cost: Gas heaters tend to be cheaper to purchase and install compared to heat pumps. 
  • Widely Available: Natural gas infrastructure is well-established in NSW, making gas heaters readily accessible. 

However, gas heaters also come with drawbacks: 

  • Running Costs: While gas itself might be cheaper, gas heaters can be less energy-efficient than heat pumps in the long run, potentially leading to higher energy bills. 
  • Environmental Impact: Gas combustion releases greenhouse gasses, contributing to climate change. 

The Heat Pump: Energy Efficient and Eco-Friendly 

Heat pumps are a newer technology gaining traction for their environmental and economic benefits: 

  • Highly Efficient: Heat pumps don’t directly generate heat; they extract it from the surrounding air, resulting in significantly lower energy consumption compared to gas heaters. 
  • Eco-Friendly: Heat pumps produce minimal greenhouse gas emissions, making them a more sustainable choice. 
  • Government Rebates: NSW offers attractive rebates for installing heat pumps, offsetting some of the initial cost (note: they can also help upgrade your hot water system for a more energy efficient model). You can contact us here if you want to learn about saving money on a hot water system upgrade or new purchase. 

However, heat pumps also have limitations: 

  • Upfront Cost: Heat pumps are generally more expensive to purchase and install than gas heaters. 
  • Performance in Cold Climates: Heat pumps extract heat from the air and their efficiency can dip in colder climates like the NSW Southern Highlands. 
  • Space Requirements: Heat pumps require an outdoor unit, which might not be ideal for all homes. 

So, Which One Wins in NSW? 

The answer depends on your priorities and circumstances. Here’s a breakdown: 

  • Choose Gas if: You prioritise upfront cost, have reliable gas access and live in a region with mild winters. 
  • Choose a Heat Pump if: Energy efficiency and environmental impact are your top concerns, you can take advantage of government rebates and your home has space for the outdoor unit. In addition, if you live in a warmer part of NSW, the efficiency penalty of colder temperatures is less significant. 

Conclusion and Making a Smart Choice 

Heat pumps offer a compelling long-term solution, especially considering NSW’s climate change goals. However, gas heaters remain a solid choice for specific situations. Ultimately, the best hot water system for your NSW home depends on a careful evaluation of your budget, priorities and regional climate. Consulting with a qualified plumber or energy efficiency professional can help you make the most informed decision for your hot water needs.