Solar hot water vs heat pumps: Which is right for you?

Did you know that heating water accounts for around a quarter of the energy used in the average Australian home? It’s also the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the average home.

So choosing a more efficient water heating option can not only reduce (or even eliminate) that chunk of your electricity bill, but also reduce the average home’s carbon emissions by up to 3 tonnes

So which hot water system is most efficient? 

There are generally four types of water heating systems: electric, gas, solar and heat pumps. With electricity and gas prices on the rise, it’s worth looking into solar hot water and heat pumps when it comes time to replace your old hot water system.

Solar hot water

A solar hot water system uses energy from the sun to heat water. 

The system uses collectors (panels that look a bit like solar panels) which sit on your roof in the sun and heat the water as it moves through them. It will also have a tank which, depending on the type of system, either sits above the collectors or on the ground and stores the water.  

Solar hot water systems usually also have a gas or electric booster as a back up when there isn’t enough sun to heat the water completely.

Hot water heat pumps

Hot water heat pumps use a small amount of electricity to heat water by absorbing heat from the outside air and transferring it to the stored water.

Essentially, they work like reverse fridges – where fridges pump hot air out of the fridge and into the outside air, heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air and convert it into hot water.

Heat pumps are extremely energy efficient, using up to 4 times less electricity than traditional electric resistance hot water systems.

What’s right for you?

While both options will help you heat water at a lower cost to you and the planet, heat pumps are generally the most efficient way to go. 

The upfront cost of buying and installing a heat pump system is usually less (sometimes significantly less) than a solar hot water system. Plus, solar hot water requires unshaded roof space and only heats water during the day in direct sunlight. 

Conversely, heat pumps work around the clock in all weather conditions which means you can set your heat pump to run during off-peak times to take advantage of cheaper electricity. 

Even better? If you have solar panels, you can run your heat pump when your solar system is generating electricity. So you can shift most (if not all) of your hot water energy usage to run on free solar power.

And because heat pumps are so efficient, you should have enough excess solar power available to run your heat pump even if you have other appliances running at the same time, or have a relatively small solar system.

Solar Flow customers Dave and Jen switched to a heat pump system and were amazed at the savings. You can read a full breakdown of their experience here.

Australia’s best heat pump: The Sanden Eco Plus

If you’re considering heat pump hot water don’t look past the Sanden Eco Plus Heat Pump, one of the most efficient hot water heat pumps on the market.

As Melbourne’s most experienced accredited retailer and installer of Sanden heat pumps, Solar Flow and Sanden can save you up to 80% on your hot water bills.So whether you’re looking for a quality hot water heat pump for your new home, or looking to replace an old inefficient electric or gas hot water system, get in touch today for a chat and a free, no-obligation quote.

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