Heat Pump Hot Water Systems are an Australian invention that has been on the market since the 1980’s. Similar to how an air conditioner cools and distributes air, heat pump systems use the surrounding air in your home to heat your water supply.
People love them because:
- they save money
- they’re not dependent on the sun
- they’re easy to install
- they reduce greenhouse emissions
- they’re eligible for government rebates and financial incentives
Simply put, they’re one of the most efficient and economical water heaters available.
So what are the best heat pump hot water system for Australians?
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The Best Heat Pump Hot Water Systems
If you’re looking for the best heat pump hot water system in Australia, then you’ve come to the right place. With so many makes and models available, it can be difficult to tell exactly which heat pump is going to be the right investment for our home’s hot water.
Here are some of our favorite solar hot water systems available in Australia today (listed in alphabetical order):
Chromagen 280 Litre Heat Pump
Why It’s Great:
- Huge Tank for Large Families
- Built in Frost Protection
- Quiet Operation (Low Noise)
- Large Range of Operating Temperature
If you are in a full house with a lot of people under one roof, then the Chromagen 280 Litre Heat Pump is a great way to have enough hot water for the whole family. Whereas traditionally heating water for five or more people with an electric or gas fed system can cost tens of thousands of dollars annually, you will be able to save heaps of money with the Chromagen 280L Heat Pump.
For starters, the Chromagen 280L heat pump is not as slim and stealthy as some of its competitors. Of course, that’s because it is not designed to be that way. Instead, Chromagen delivers an absolute beast of a product that can store enough hot water for even the most demanding of households.
Aside from being big and powerful, the Chromogen is actually designed to work in Australia’s most variable climates. With an operating temperature from -20°C & 45°C (with a heat boost), the system can always be running. Plus, the 280L comes with built in frost protection to ensure the lifespan of your investment.
Whereas the Chromogen is not as efficient as some of the other top heat pumps, it does include a few additional customer-friendly features. The system is built around a handy controller system to set timers and water temperatures. Plus, it is relatively quiet at only 48dBA. For added comfort of the mind, the Chromogen has a vacation mode and retains all of its settings, even after a power outage.
Dux Airoheat Heat Pump
Why It’s Great:
- Trusted Brand Name
- Good Product Warranty
- Eligible for Australian Incentives
- Overheat Protection
Of course this list would not be complete without a product from Dux, who claims that their Airoheat Heat Pump is “Australia’s Most Highly Awarded Environmental Water Heater.” In reality the Airoheat is a 250L heat pump that is great for homes with 3 to 5 people.
With 250L of hot water storage, the Airoheat does take a bit longer to heat up than some competing, smaller tanks. However, the device uses a patented in-tank heating coil in order to efficiently transfer the heat to your home’s water.
Dux is known as a trusted brand name and offers great customer services and product warranties. However, unfortunately many customers have had to utilize some of these resources as purchasing an Airoheat system. The failure rate of Dux systems has been reported to be a bit higher than other major brands. With this in mind, if your device is not under warranty, it could cost you a serious financial headache if the product fails.
Why It’s Number One:
- Extremely Cost Effective
- Specialized Operating Modes
- Very User Friendly
- Unbeatable Energy Efficiency
For most Australian households, there are few better options than the Evo270 from the company EvoHeat. The reputable manufacturer has created a great product that is suitable for each and every region of Australian climate, from operating temperatures ranging from -7°C to 43°C.
In order to deliver maximum efficiency, the Evo270 utilizes an electric boost, that can be fed from your utility, or by way of an independent solar energy system. The 270L tank is large enough for most homes, without being too big to heat up efficiently. In fact, with the Hydro Power Boost, the Evo270 can heat over 100 litres of water in a single hour.
Beyond its operation, there are many added benefits to the Evo270. Obviously, the system qualifies for the available Australian federal green-energy incentives. Plus, it is incredibly easy to install and does not take up a lot of space. The Evo270 incorporates a variety of operating modes that can be easily controlled in sequence with the timer.
Ultimately, the Evo270 is one of the best rated systems in the world for its efficiency, operation, and ease of use. In fact, the device has won the Hot Water Product Review Award, two years in a row between 2019 and 2020.
Perhaps the only drawback for the Evo270 is the included warranties. The company installs the system with a 5 year warranty on the tank and a 2 year warranty on the compressor and parts. Whereas this is pretty good in comparison to other heat pumps, there is still room for improvement.
Why It’s Great:
- Compact and Slim Design
- Australian Company
- Affordable Installation
- Industry Leading Efficiency
For Australian family homes, the iStore 180L is another great option for a hot water heat pump. The iStore 180L is a new and affordable heat pump that is slim enough to fit outside nearly every residence. The 180L is a mere 540 mm in width, and 1956 mm tall. The cool, silver container is hardly noticeable and can slip into the tighter corners of your property.
If you have limited roof space or live in an exceptionally hot climate, the SolarGain iStore may be the best solution for you. This system consumes about 500 W of energy per hour while in use, but can still save homeowners significant costs on heating water by producing 6.5 times the amount of energy it consumes.
At up to 400% efficiency, the iStore is on the high end of cost-saving hot water production. The iStore 180L only uses 500W of energy per hour, and can generate 6.5 kW of heating output per 1 kW of energy input during peak performance. This Coefficient of Performance (COP) is atop the market’s best.
Beyond saving space and money, the iStore 180L is also extremely user friendly. The Australian company has designed the products to incorporate 4 distinct operating modes, each optimized for different aspects of Australian lifestyle.
The different operating modes of the iStore are perhaps the unit’s best features. You can program your device to produce more hot water when you have guests over or less hot water when you are on vacation.
In a similar fashion to the Evo270, the tank and parts warranty for the iStore 180L heat pump are 5 years and 2 years, respectively. The iStore is quick and easy to install, and is priced to save you money for years of hot water generation.
Reclaim Energy Heat Pump
Why It’s Great:
- Australian-based Company
- Solutions for All Climates
- Extremely Quiet Operation
- Incredible Tank Warranties
For both residential and commercial instances, Australia’s own Reclaim Energy manufacturer’s some of the best heat pump hot water systems in the country. Reclaim’s products are easy to use and control through a variety of operating modes perfect for any climate.
What’s most important to note about Reclaim’s systems is the absolute quality built-in by the manufacturer. Consumers have the option of choosing between a glass lined enamel or stainless steel water tank, with a 315L size being the most popular for families. Depending on your property, you can opt in for the “tall” or “squat” size to best fit your outdoor living space. As a bonus, customers can get up to 15 years of warranty on their tank, which is 3 times more than most other heat pump system tanks!
The Reclaim Heat Pump is divided into two parts. Although this may seem less convenient than an all-in-one system, the result is actually an extremely quiet operation. Reclaim heat pumps operate at 37 dB, one of the lowest noise levels on the market.
In order to get the best results, Reclaim recommends tying the heat pump in with a PV solar system to boost your hot water with excess electricity. The Reclaim Heat Pump is extremely efficient and consumes only about 3 kWh of energy per day.
So although it may be a bit on the higher end of the price range, the performance and lifetime of the Reclaim Heat Pump make it a great choice for a hot water system in Australia.
Rheem 55132507 (325 Litre Heat Pump)
Why It’s Great:
- 3 Year Cylinder Warranty
- Works Well in All Climates
- Good Price Per Litre
- Quiet Operation
Lastly, the company Rheem has manufactured a great heat pump available with a 325L tank. This large heat pump hot water system comes at a similar price as its competitors, which means you can get more hot water for the same amount of money. A tank this size is recommended for families and homes with up to five people.
Rheem’s heat pumps are very energy efficient, using a low amount of electricity in order to deliver hot water in Australia’s variable conditions. This product is best used in warm climates, and can provide efficient operation at up to 50°C.
Of course, with 5 people in a home, there is often a shortage of space and an excess of noise. The Rheem 325L heat pump delivers the opposite, only taking up a small amount of room and operating quitely with built-in “Whisper” technology.
Thermal Ark Ark270 Heat Pump
Why They’re Great:
- High Return On Investment
- Energy Efficient
- 100% Australian Owned
Lastly, there is another great Australian company that manufactures high quality, money saving heat pumps. The Ark270 from Thermal Ark is one of the best universal heat pumps as a solar hot water heater.
The Ark270 is best enjoyed in hot climates, but can withstand operating temperature on both ends of the extreme spectrums. It is built to be installed outdoors, providing a durable and reliable 24/7 hot water system.
Only requiring 0.94 kW of electricity to start up, the Ark270 begins to deliver 3.6kW of heat instantly. The company is also known for their customer service and speedy installations.
Why Do People Love Heat Pump Systems?
Heat pumps are simply one of the most efficient and economical water heaters available, and the cheapest solar hot water system to install. What does this mean for you?
Save Money. You’ll save up to hundreds of dollars a year on energy, compared with a standard electric system.
Not Dependent on The Sun. As opposed to solar hot water heaters, heat pumps are efficient and work 24 hours a day, extracting heat from the ambient air, so you’ll always have lots of hot water. No, it doesn’t run ALL the time- only when it needs to heat water. ;-).
Easy Installation. Your heat pump is a breeze to connect. There’s nothing to go on the roof. If you’re replacing an existing electric hot water system, the connections are the same. Some models, such as the Stiebel Eltron, only require a standard powerpoint connection.
Reduce Greenhouse Emissions. Compared with a standard electric hot water system,
heat pump hot water systems will save the verge family 4 tonnes or more of greenhouse gas emissions from your home.
Receive Government Financial Incentives & Rebates. Both the Federal Govenment of Australia, and a number of State Governments, recognise the efficiency of the Heat Pump Water Heaters, and provide finncial incentives to support your purchase. Basically, if it’s a new installation, or replacing an electric system, you’re in business. Australia-wide, the Federal Government REC’s (Renewable Energy Certificates) will subsidise your purchase. The amount varies with area and model, but in many areas, the REC’s are currently worth around $1,000. In some State jurisdictions, there is a further subsidy available.
So, How Do Heat Pumps Actually Heat Your Hot Water?
So how does the a heat pump water heater system operate? Fortunately, it’s not rocket science. The principle is the same as the one that powers your refrigerator, air conditioner, or reverse cycle air conditioner (also known as a heat pump).
Heat is collected from one space, and released into another. In the case of your refrigerator, the heat inside the fridge is collected, and moved into the kitchen. In the case of your air conditioner, the heat is extracted from your room, and pumped to the outside of your home.
When your reverse-cycle air conditioner is working in winter, it is extracting the heat from the ambient air outside, and pumping it into the house. That’s what a heat pump water heater does. It takes the heat from the ambient air, and uses it to heat your hot water.
Here’s the counter-intuitive part. Even below freezing, there’s still plenty of heat available. You actually have to go down to minus 273.15 C to reach absolute zero, where there is no heat. The advanced design and refrigerant used in the Quantum, means it happily keeps producing economical hot water for you, all the way down to at least -10C. And it doesn’t stop when the sun goes down- it will work 24/7 to save you money.
(If interested, get the full details on how heat pumps work here)
While Quantum was a pioneer in the field, in recent years many other heat pump hot water systems have entered the market, including Solahart, Dux, Rheem and Siddons, to name a few.
As a result of major advances in design, products such as the German-manufactured Stiebel Eltron heat pump are now both quieter than the Quantum, as well as being more efficient. The extra efficiency of the Stiebel heat pump hot water system isn’t just a claim, it’s measured by the number of RECs that can be created and claimed, and that’s directly linked to how much electricity is expected to be saved. Stiebel Eltron have been manufacturing heat pump hot water heaters in Germany for over 30 years.
What To Look for In Your Heat Pump Hot Water System
For some people, it’s hard to get past the price tag on a new heat pump hot water system. However, if you are fully aware of the benefits and potential savings of a heat pump hot water system, then you can dig a little deeper into the features of different individual systems.
Below, here are some of the most important economic, geographic, and technical things to consider when purchasing a heat pump hot water system for your home.
The Best Climate Conditions for Heat Pump Hot Water Systems
First, you will need to determine whether or not a heat pump hot water system is right for you in the first place. In hot climates like Western Australia and throughout the Outback, heat pumps are a no-brainer. However, citizens in Hobart or Melbourne may not be able to reap the same benefits as their hotter climate counterparts.
In reality, heat pump water systems work best in climates that generally stay above 0 degrees celsius all year round. Around 5 degrees celsius, heat pumps begin to lose efficiency, and they are critically inefficient lower than negative five degrees. In a sense, there is nothing worse than cold water in cold weather, so if you are in a climate that expects freezing temperatures, it may be a good idea to have a backup source of fuel ready for colder conditions.
The Upfront Price and Expected Payback Period
As stated above, the starting price of a heat pump system may be enough to deter unsure homeowners. However, it is very important to put the price of your system into relative terms in comparison to what you are currently paying to have your hot water heated. Depending on your location, a typical home in Australia will heat its water with either electricity or natural gas.
In some parts of the country, these resources can be extremely expensive, with higher priced tiers costing heavy users hundred of dollars per year on their utility expenses. With a heat pump hot water heater, your dependence on the local utility diminishes, so that you become free and unaffected by future rate changes.
What is crucial to understand here is that you are already paying to have your hot water heated. By running a calculation of your home’s future energy costs versus the expected lifetime of your hot water heater, you are likely to determine that installing a heat pump system may provide you with the best overall long-term economic advantage.
The Right Size Heat Pump – Multiply Number of People by 75 Liters
Finding the right size heat pump is one of the most difficult parts of identifying the best system for your home’s hot water needs. On one hand, too large of a tank requires a lot of energy (and time) to heat up, whereas a tank that is too small will not provide enough hot water for all of a home’s inhabitants.
In order to make it easy, there is a pretty simple rule of thumb you can go by to calculate the approximate correct size for the hot water tank in your heat pump system. Simply multiply the number of people in your house by 75 to get the recommended volume in liters. This number is based on the notion that a person uses about 50 liters of hot water per day, and it is best practice to have enough storage for at least a day and a half’s worth of hot water.
Using this formula, you can estimate that a single family unit with 4 people living at home full-time should look for a 300 litre tank on their heat pump system.
Energy Efficiency Rating (Either Percentage or Coefficient of Performance)
Heat Pumps are incredibly efficient and one of the few pieces of technology that can generate more energy than consumed. For this reason, most heat pumps are said to have 300% efficiency in that they produce 3 times the amount of energy that is required to create the hot water.
As you may expect, heat pumps do not need to work as hard and are therefore more efficient in warmer climates. The hotter the air, the easier it is for a heat pump to compress the energy into a usable form.
Beyond this, however, most heat pumps are rated with a Coefficient of Performance (COP) in order to give you an idea of the machine’s efficiency. The COP is rated from a scale of 1 to 5, with 3 being the most common. This means that the average heat pump can produce “3” times as much energy as it consumes. Of course, COP calculations are not exact and can be misreported by the manufacturer.
First Hour Rating of the Heat Pump
Another great way to identify how well your heat pump will work in your home is with the system’s First Hour Rating (FHR). The First Hour Rating is used to estimate how many litres of water your system will heat up in the first 60 minutes of operation. Here, the FHR should be approximately the same amount of litres that your home would normally consume in an hour.
For homes of four people using 50 litres of water per day, a good FHR rating would be about an 8 (4 x 50, divided by 24 hours).
Fuel Type, Price and Availability
In order to make heat pumps work in all climates, some systems will come “boosted,” which means that they are hooked up to an additional fuel source. Throughout Australia, the two most common types of boosts are gas and electric.
Whereas you are most likely interested in installing a heat pump to lower your dependence on utility provided energy, you may need to blend the two resources together for the best solution. If you are deciding between an electric or gas boosted heat pump, be sure to collect all of the information you can about these two options. You should take into consideration many things including price of the fuel, the estimated amount of fuel for annual usage, and the fuel’s future expected cost and availability.
For the greenest and most sustainable solution, some Australian’s choose to fuel their heat pump’s boost with sustainable electricity from a solar or wind power source. These energies are the best available fuels for heat pumps in remote, off-grid locations.
Is Installation Included?
From the examples above, you have probably already determined that there are a lot of different brands of heat pump water heaters available for homes in Australia. Before handing over your hard-earned money, it is important to decide whether or not you can expect a long fruitful life from your heat pump. Take a look at a manufacturer’s brand reviews, company history, and customer testimonials.
In some cases, the purchase of a heat pump hot water heater will include a free in-home installation from a brand’s representative or partner. In other cases, you may have to pay extra, so it is good to be aware of any potential hidden costs down the line.
Warranties on Heat Pump Hot Water Systems
One of the downsides of heat pump hot water systems is that most do not come with attractive warranties. As this is a large investment for your home, you will want to make sure that you are protected as best as you can be against potential system failures or part malfunctions.
It is important to pay close attention to any system warranties, as well as warranties offered on the workmanship of your installation. Having a good policy and keeping the supporting documents can save you from costly repairs down the line.
Available Rebates or Incentives for your System
Because heat pumps are able to reduce a home’s energy consumption, some are able to qualify for Small Scale Technology Certificates (STC’s) in order to help reach Australia’s Renewable Energy Target. The government has provided this resource, in order to help you calculate the available incentives for your specific product and region. These incentives are slated to decrease slowly throughout the next decade, only being available in some capacity until the year 2030.
Frequently Asked Questions About Heat Pump Hot Water Systems (FAQs)
What is a heat pump hot water system?
A heat pump hot water system is very similar to an air conditioning system, as it modifies the surrounding air to fit the needs of the homeowner. In a heat pump system, the heater compresses the outside air, bringing heat into the storage tank. From here, the water is heated in order to be distributed to the rest of the home.
Why is a heat pump more efficient than electric or gas water heating?
Normal heating methods use energy such as electricity or gas to directly heat the water. This can never be greater than 100 percent (but more likely 60 – 98 percent) efficient. A heat pump only uses electrical energy to run the compressor, not to heat the water. The heat energy actually comes from the atmosphere. This allows an efficiency of up to 350 percent or more.
Are heat pump water heaters worth the money?
Although they can be a bit expensive to install, heat pump water heaters are absolutely worth the money. Homes need hot water for proper cooking and cleaning operations, and a heat pump is one of the most economic ways to do so. In reality, a heat pump saves hundreds of dollars per year on utility costs, eliminating large demand for gas or electricity from the utility required to heat a home’s water.
What incentives are available for residential heat pump hot water systems?
Today, there are also many hot water incentives available to help fund the cost of a residential heat pump. This helps bring the initial investment down to make a heat pump more affordable. When compared to standard hot water tanks, heat pumps will pay for themselves, and more.
Do you really save money with a heat pump?
Yes. It is true, heat pumps save you money. Whereas traditionally, your home’s water is heated by electricity or gas from the utility, a heat pump is able to do so by simply modifying the outside air. Here, you are able to save money on a home’s utility costs.
Are heat pumps environmentally friendly?
Yes. It is estimated that heat pump hot water systems have a reduced carbon footprint of about 70% when compared to traditional electric heat pumps.
Where should a heat pump water heater be installed?
In order to qualify for most incentives (and to maximize performance), heat pump water heaters are typically installed either outside or in a garage. A heat pump requires access to plenty of hot air in order to compress it and heat your water. For this reason, outdoor installations are especially popular in hotter climates like Western Australia.
What is the best heat pump water heater?
Although this may be a subjective debate, the evidence shows that in Australia, the Evo270 is the best heat pump water heater available on the market today. Whereas it may not be the perfect hot water solution for every home, it is a great one size fits all model that can benefit most users. For average size homes in warm climates, the Evo270 is the best heat pump water heater.
Initially, the decision to install a heat pump water heater can be extremely daunting. Once you’ve decided to make the investment, you’ll still have to choose the right brand and size heat pump, not to mention the installation!
However, if you are looking to save money, there are few better options than a hot water heat pump.