Everything You Need To Know About Heat Pump Water Heaters

Last updated on June 14, 2022

Water heaters are popular for fulfilling water heating requirements. 

Water boilers are widely being used in both households and the commercial sector to ensure the availability of warm water. This warm water is then used for domestic and industrial purposes.

Conventionally, traditional water heaters have been used. However, new advanced types of water heaters have been introduced into the market, like heat pump water heaters which have recently revolutionized the industry with their advanced functionalities.

What is a heat pump water heater?

The heat pump water heater is an advanced water heating appliance that works with the help of heat derived from its surroundings. It then uses this surrounding heat to heat water through its specialized working mechanism.

Heat pump water heaters are different from traditional hot water systems that require fuel sources for generating heat themselves.

Heat pumps do not generate heat on their own; rather, they work by transferring heat from the surroundings to the water using a refrigerant.

Types of Water Heaters

There are many types of water heaters that vary in their heat sources and operating mechanisms. Each of these types has its own pros and cons. 

The choice of the type of water heater is up to the environmental conditions and user preferences.

Here are the 5 main types of water heaters that are frequently available in the market.

1. Traditional Water Heaters

Traditional water heaters have been conventionally utilized for water heating purposes. They generate heat on their own using fossil fuels. The direct combustion and burning of fuels produce heat that warms up water for subsequent usage.

2. Instant Water Heaters

Instant water heaters are tankless water heaters that don’t come with a water storage tank. They offer rapid water heating for instant use. 

They incorporate super-heated coils that heat water the moment it passes through the coils. This results in rapid heating and the provision of warm water for instant usage.

3. Heat Pump Water Heaters

The heat pump water heater works by deriving heat from the surroundings and transferring it to the water. It incorporates a refrigerant that gets heated as it is pumped. 

Heat pump water heater

The resultant heat derived from the surroundings is then delivered to the water. The warm water gets stored in the tank for subsequent usage.

4. Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters utilize heat energy from the sun to heat up water. These types of water heaters are solar-powered and utilize a closed-loop system. This system is connected to the water storage tank, and the heat energy is thus transferred to warm up the water.

5. Condenser Water Heaters

Condenser water heaters utilize the exhaust hot gases expelled from homes and derive heat from them for water heating purposes. 

This heat is then redirected using a heat exchanging mechanism to the water storage tank resulting in warm water.

Register your interest for a new heat pump hot water system in NSW.

    Working Mechanism of Heat Pump Water Heater

    The heat pump water heater works in a precise way to effectively and efficiently heat the water. 

    It functions without direct utilization of fuel and combustion material for generating heat. Following are the steps involved in its operation:

    working mechanism of heat pump water heater
    • The heat pump’s fan draws surrounding air from its air filter.
    • The system extracts heat from the pulled air with the help of refrigerant inside the coil and rest of the air is sent back to the environment.
    • The compressor then pumps refrigerant to elevate its temperature.
    • Coldwater enters the tank from the bottom and moves to the upper region of the system.
    • The compressed refrigerant delivers its heat to the water.
    • Once heated, the water moves back to the tank and is stored as warm water.
    • The appliance also contains an electric heat element for backup purposes.

    Advantages and Disadvantages of Heat Pump Water Heaters

    Given their popularity, you might wonder if you need a heat pump water heater. 

    What advantages and disadvantages do these heat pump water heating systems offer to the user?

    Heat pump water heaters bring lots of pros and cons that should be considered. Here we will look at a few advantages and disadvantages offered by heat pump water heaters.

    Advantages of Heat Pump water heaters

    ✅ Energy Efficiency

    Considering the global energy crisis, users usually prefer energy-efficient appliances for budget-friendly operations. 

    Heat pump water heaters are highly energy efficient compared to traditional water heaters available in the market. 

    They require less energy for their routine operations. As there is less energy required for operating them, they result in a significant decrease in monthly energy bills.

    Consistent Heating

    Traditional water heaters usually don’t provide a consistent heating experience for the user. 

    No matter what size your water tank is, the heat disappears after a few gallons of usage. This might lead you to run out of hot water when you need it.

    The heat pump water heater provides a consistent heating experience so you don’t run out of hot water during times of need. 

    With advanced heat pump water heaters installed, you can enjoy warm water for a sufficiently long period of time for all kinds of activities that require it.

    Green Technology

    Through heat pump water heaters, you can incorporate green technology in your home. This helps reduce the carbon footprint generated and leads to eco-friendly operations. 

    The green revolution has led to the increased popularity of these heaters over time.

    Such heat pump water heaters installed in your home also result in a higher resale value of your property. This is because people tend to look for pre-installed sustainable energy sources for their financial benefits. Hence, such water heating systems will add further value to the overall worth of your home.


    Heat pump water heaters usually have a longer lifespan. They’re built for durability and have advanced technology that keeps them capable of running for a long time.

    Though heat pump water heaters are relatively expensive compared to other forms of traditional water heaters, they turn out to be economical in the long run. 

    This is due to their higher durability versus the shorter lifespan of other water heaters that require frequent replacements.

    Low Maintenance

    Another worthwhile feature of heat pump water heaters is their low maintenance requirements. 

    For any appliance, maintenance issues can be a burden to the user, adding unnecessary expenses.

    Relative to other water heating systems, heat pump water heaters require less maintenance because of their simple operations. 

    They just transfer heat from the refrigerant to the water, whereas traditional water heating systems use flame and combustion-based heat generation. The resultant soot also needs to be regularly cleaned as part of the appliance maintenance.

    Disadvantages of Heat Pump Water Heaters

    ❎ Expensive

    A major disadvantage of heat pump water heaters is that they often turn out to be quite expensive especially in terms of upfront purchasing costs. 

    Though the price range of these water heaters varies depending upon various factors, most of them end up being twice as expensive as traditional water heaters.

    This is a disadvantage, particularly for those with a limited budget. 

    Though heat pump water heaters ensure significant savings when it comes to operational costs, these high upfront costs can be a hurdle to purchasing them.

    Compromised peak time performance

    Heat Pump water heaters derive heat energy from the surroundings to transfer it to the water for heating purposes. 

    This mechanism works quite efficiently in hot summer seasons when the surroundings are significantly hot. Hence heat pump water heaters work well in summer seasons.

    However, the performance of heat pump water heaters gets compromised during winters and intense cold weather. 

    In such conditions, the surrounding air is not hot enough to provide enough heat energy for water heating purpose. This leads to compromised performance in extreme cold conditions when the requirement of warm water increases.

    Pros and Cons of heat pump water heater.

    Things To Look at when buying a Heat Pump Water Heaters

    There is a wide range of heat pump water heating systems available in Australian markets, and new brands and products being introduced regularly with more advanced features and modern technology.

    With such diverse variety of products available, buying a heat pump water heating system can be difficult task for users. 

    There are plenty of factors you need to consider when buying one in order to choose the optimal product for you.

    Here we will discuss 5 things to look for when buying a heat pump water heating system. 

    Considering these factors will help you narrow down your options and go for the most compatible product as per your budget and requirements.

    Also Read: Tankless water heater Sydney

    1. Heating Method

    The most important factor to consider when buying a heat pump water heater is its heating method. Heat pump hot water systems come with different heating methods. 

    They may either utilize an air source heat pump, water source heat pump, or a ground source heat pump for water heating purposes.

    The air source heat pump utilizes heat from the air for its operation. Similarly, water source heat pump relies on nearby water bodies like lakes, rivers, or streams and is suitable for homes having access to such water bodies. Ground-source or geothermal heat pumps use earth temperature for their operation.

    When purchasing a heat pump water heating system, look for those with heating methods compatible with your environment and surroundings. Such a heat pump water heater will optimally fulfill your water heating requirements.

    2. Storage and Heating Capacity

    It is another important factor to consider when buying a heat pump water heater. 

    Make an assessment of your water usage and warm water requirements. This depends on the number of your family members, water usage pattern, and required storage and heating capacity.

    If you have a bigger family and hot water utilization is intense, you must go for a water heating system that comes with increased water storage and heating capacity. 

    This will ensure a consistent supply of warm water as needed and sufficiently warm water for domestic home usage.

    3. Durability

    Durability is one important factor to consider when buying a heat pump water heating system. A wide range of water heating systems is now available in the market, however, you should try to go for durable ones. This is particularly important for buyers who reside in places with harsh weather and climatic conditions.

    Always look for the material of the product and tank lining to estimate product durability. The IP rating is another important factor that reflects the resisting capabilities of the product. 

    The products that are too delicate often end up with frequent breakdowns and require recurrent maintenance. Hence, a durable long-lasting product will be more beneficial to you.

    4. Product Warranty

    Heat pump water heaters are highly advanced technology-enabled appliances meant for water heating purposes. Being a complex and regularly used appliance, they may encounter mishaps, damage, and mechanical faults which are quite common.

    To counter such issues effectively, warranties come in handy. Always look for the product warranty while purchasing a heat pump hot water system. 

    Go for the products that provide a longer period of warranty and cover maximum services in their warranty package to limit financial loss due of appliance issues.

    5. Budget and Cost

    Costs are the main factor to consider when buying a heat pump water heating system. 

    The price range of heat pump water heaters varies a lot depending upon product brand, tank capacity, and additional features offered by the product.

    Always go for the product that fits well with your budget range while fulfilling your requirements adequately. 

    Besides purchasing costs, also consider the product installation and running costs to ensure budget-friendly product operations.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. Will a heat pump water heater actually help me save money?

    Heat pump water heaters definitely help you save a lot of money. 

    They are budget-friendly water heating systems that provide cost-effective operations and need less recurrent maintenance. Their energy-efficient working mechanisms help significantly reduce energy bills for the users.

    2. Are heat pump water heating systems more environmentally friendly?

    Heat Pump water heating systems are environment-friendly appliances, because no fuel is required for their operation. 

    They utilize eco-friendly refrigerants to generate heat and transfer it to water. 

    Traditional hot water systems require fuel combustion and lead to soot generation, which is hazardous to the environment. 

    However, heat pumps work simply by retrieving heat from the surroundings and transferring it to the water.

    3. How much more efficient are heat pumps?

    Heat pump water heaters reduce energy consumption by up to 64%. 

    Utilization of refrigerants and transferring heat to the water through condenser coils help achieve efficient heat generation for water. This also prevents heat loss and efficient water heating.

    4. How do heat pumps work?

    Surrounding air is drawn into the system, and the refrigerant absorbs heat from it. The refrigerant is pumped and becomes hot. 

    Cold water moves to the upper region of the appliance where hot refrigerant delivers its heat to the water. After the water is heated, it gets stored in the tank for further usage.

    5. What size heat pump water heaters do I need?

    The answer to this question depends on the number of your family members, climate conditions, and utilization pattern. 

    For those living in cooler regions or having a large family with increased warm water usage, a water heating system with higher volume capacity would be compatible. 

    Otherwise, you can use a system with relatively less storage and lower heating capacity.

    6. How much does a heat pump cost?

    As with any other product in the market, a wide range of heat pump water heaters is available in the market with varying costs. 

    The cost depends on the product brand, tank size, and other additional features offered by the product. It is totally up to your budget and requirements to decide which product you should opt for.

    7. Should I Get a Hot Water Heat Pump With a Timer?

    Depending on your budget, it is a good option to go for a heat pump hot water system with an inbuilt timer. This will help you ensure automated operation and prevent over usage of the system. 

    The in-built vacation mode of some heat pumps can also be helpful in energy conservation and effective operations.

    8. What warranties should I look for?

    Always look for the heat pump water heating systems, which offer a warranty to the user. Go for the products with longer warranty durations. 

    Make sure that you are getting a warranty for the storage tank, refrigerant, labor, and product parts too. This will prevent you from suffering any financial impact due to of any kind of product breakdown or mishaps.

    Register your interest for a new heat pump hot water system in NSW.

      Wrapping Up

      Heat pump water heaters are getting quite popular to fulfil water heating requirements. These water heaters have surpassed traditional water heating systems. 

      Over time, new heat pump water heaters are being launched in the market with more advanced features and product specifications.

      I hope this guide has helped you assess the various aspects of heat pump water heaters. This guide is also meant to help you make the smartest purchase when it comes to buying a heat pump water heating system.

      Gaurav Sharma

      At E-Green Electrical , Gaurav writes about Electrical energy, Solar energy, Energy conservation and electrical product reviews. He is most interested in how we can utilize technology and renewable resources to reduce energy consumption , prevent pollution and save money at the same time.

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