Heat Pump Hot Water

Heat pump hot water heater use similar technology to heat up water as heat pumps do to heat rooms. They use electrical energy and a refrigerant to extract energy from outdoor heat to heat the room, the water is then stored in an insulated hot water tank.

Heat pump water heaters are gaining popularity in New Zealand as they provide alternative means to heat your water. Popular systems at the moment include gas and electric hot water cylinders and gas continuous flow systems. Heat pump water heaters work very similar to a heat pump heating your home, where they extract heat from the outside air to heat your water. There are two types of systems, one where the heat pump is part of the hot water cylinder and one where the system is split. The heat pump unit is located outside and the hot water cylinder is located inside your home. 

Heat Pump Hot Water

How heat pump water system works?

Heat Pumps work in a similar way to a refrigerator, however instead of pulling heat from inside a box and sending it into the surrounding room they pull the heat from the surrounding room and send it into a hot water cylinder to heat the water.

Advantages of installing a Hot Water Heat Pump System 

  • They can be up to three times more energy efficient than conventional electric resistance hot water cylinders
  • This system suits a household that has moderate to high hot water needs and has relatively low running costs; however, it expensive to install and upfront costs are high.
  • A well designed and installed system will use a lot less energy than standard electric cylinders.
  • Heat pump water heaters can also work in places that aren’t good for solar water heaters, such as locations that get less sun (south side of hills).
  • Some heat pump water heating systems can also have a dual function as central heating; they do this by pumping the warm water from the hot tank around underfloor heating pipes.
  • The system can also be modified to heat water for a hot tub, spa or swimming pool more efficiently than an electric heater.
  • You are able to retrofit a heat pump system to work with an existing conventional hot water storage cylinder.
  • Heat pumps may be installed into a hot room e.g. a furnace room to cool it and heat your water at the same time.

It is also important to keep in mind that the warmer the temperature of the outside air is, the more efficiently the heat pump heater runs. Not all heat pumps will run in colder temperatures and the system may revert to an electric element as a backup, which means they are not suitable for all geographic locations in New Zealand. You will also need to ensure you live in the right environment, in geothermal or coastal areas the system requires suitable protection against corrosion. As with other tank-based systems, heat pump water heaters need to be installed correctly to ensure the water temperature is maintained at 60°C to prevent the growth of legionella bacteria.

There is a range of different heat pump water systems to choose from – contact one of our heating specialists today to discuss which heating system is right for you.

Standalone Heat Pump Hot Water System

You are able to purchase a stand alone heat pump water heater system as an integrated unit with a built in hot water storage tank and back up resistance heating elements. 

Split System Heat Pump Hot Water System

Split systems have the compressor unit outside and the hot water tank generally inside although the tank can also be located outside the house separate from the compressor. In some cases you can retro-fit and use your existing hot water tank. 
Heat Pump Hot Water CylinderThis will require the installation to be in locations that remain in the 4.4C – 32.2 C temperature range year round and you must provide at least 28.3 cubic meters of air space around the water heater.

Sumich Plumbing recommends the following heat pump brands for you to use: 

  • Ecospring water heater
  • Steibel Eltron water heater
  • Rheem water heater
  • Aquafire water heater
  • Rinnai water heater
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