Heat pump water heater – The Alternative to Solar Panels

Categories: Equipment, Heat Pumps

It’s great to live in a world where you never seem to run out of options, especially when it comes to saving money. South African homeowners can all agree that alternative options to keep the electricity bill at a minimum are becoming more lucrative, which brings us to heat pump water heater for geysers. Even though they still requires electricity to function, there’s a substantial difference compared to the conventional water heating method. If you don’t like the idea of using solar panels just yet, a heat pump could be just what you’re looking for.

What is a Heat Pump water heater?

The best way to understand the concept of a heat pump is to see it as a reverse refrigerator. Instead of cooling, it heats up. You don’t need any solar collectors of any sort or additional roof space, but it will require electricity. As mentioned above, the heat pump uses much less energy than a conventional electric geyser – about 1 third of the energy to be precise. If you do the math you’ll know how big the difference is going to be.

Heat pump water heater

The reason why some people prefer heat pumps is because they still function perfectly at very cold temperatures. You don’t need to rely on the sun for cheap hot water. The only real problem is that you’ll be dependent on the power grid, which can fail at any moment thanks to the people in charge.

How heat pump water heater’s work

Heat pump water heater

As you can see from the sketch, the heating process is pretty much the same as with a solar power system, but instead of radiation, the heat pump water heater takes heat from the air that surrounds it. By using a fan the air is collected and directed to an evaporator. Within the evaporator pipes there is a special type of refrigerant that reaches boiling point at -26C. To put this into perspective, water needs to reach 100C in order to start boiling. This means even in cold temperatures the heat pump can effectively heat water.

Once the refrigerant reaches boiling point it will turn into a gas and start to move towards the tank where the water is stored. Using a heat exchanger, the gassy refrigerant heats the water in the tank. As the refrigerant cools it will turn back into liquid and return to the heat pump, where the cycle will start all over again.

The benefits of using a heat pump water heater

  • You’ll be saving a lot of money in the long run in terms of heating water
  • A heat pump produces almost 5 times more energy than it requires to run
  • It’s regarded as environmentally friendly due to the little energy it requires
  • In extremely low temperatures an electric assist is activated, ensuring the water stays hot
  • There’s no need for solar panels or additional roof space
  • Installation time and cost is minimal, given that it uses typical electric connections

How much do heat pump water heater Cost

The price of a quality heat pump usually starts at around R13 000.00. At face value it seems like a lot, but do yourself a favor and look at it from a long-term perspective. Ask yourself how much will you be saving over the next ten years or so.