10 Things to Know Before Buying a Heat Pump Hot Water System

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10 Things To Know Before Buying A Heat Pump Hot Water System

1. Heat Pumps will save you up to 75% of your heating costs, well maybe.

Your savings really depend on the following things;

What unit you purchase

Not all heat pumps are created equal and will vary on how much energy they use and how often they heat.

What your current tariff for your existing water heater is on

If your current electric water heater is already on off-peak, then your savings from a financial perspective will be less.

What size unit you are sold

Some of the cheaper units available are often too small for the average household and will work harder for longer to give you hot water. Not only this but if your consumption outweighs the capacity of the hot water system unit, then your hot water may act as a standard electric water heater by engaging the element to give you hot water, inevitably costing you higher energy costs.

2. Not all Heat Pumps are created equal.

(Don’t be baited with cheap and inferior products.)

It’s really important that you buy a reputable brand or product from a reputable company.

Whenever government rebates are available, we tend to see shonks enter markets. And if history has taught us anything from the Fat Batts insulation to hot water and solar power in 2010/2011. Many companies have come and gone as soon as the rebates started and finished, leaving consumers with inferior and dodgy products, no warranties and out-of-pocket.

3. You only get 1 bite at the cherry, so choose wisely.

A large portion of the rebates available for heat pumps will only be given out once. So, if you choose to use this rebate on cheap inferior products sold by fly-by-night operations, then inevitably you’re going to get stung. Here’s a scenario that will happen to many people when the rebates are over.
  • You have purchased a $30 heat pump installed (hopefully correctly and by a licensed tradesman). Everything is working fine, and then suddenly, in the middle of winter, NO HOT WATER! You call the company back who sold you the product. Hmmm, No answer. Maybe they are just busy?
  • You try for several days, still no answer or worse, broken promises, and guess what?
  • Still NO HOT WATER, so you call a plumber, and then he arrives. He looks at your unit and says – he will need to source materials to fix it. Guess what? No plumbing supplier in Australia carries the replacement parts, so they need to order it from China, which will take three weeks.
  • You tell the plumber you are sick of waiting and must have a hot shower, or your partner will divorce you. So he quotes you a new unit. The new unit cost you $4000 because you wasted your rebate on a cheap inferior product from a company that existed for less than 12 months and was created when the rebates started.

4. Who is installing your Heat Pump and are they licensed?

It’s important for the safety of your family and home that you have both a licensed plumber and electrician conduct your heat pump installation. It’s not a simple process, and there are hazards associated with incorrect installations, including scalding due to excessively high water temperatures and electrocution due to incorrectly wired systems.

There are Australian plumbing and electrical standards that must be met when a heat pump installation is carried out, and unlicensed installers will undoubtedly not know or meet these standards.

5. Is my new Heat Pump the correct size for my family?

The common error with many heat pump installations is that people sold units that are too small for their consumption, as a rule of thumb always oversize your heat pump. Heat pump water heaters use far less energy than standard electric units. However, they also take longer to recover or reheat your water, so my advice is to go large or risk running out of hot water.

6. What do I need, In order to be eligible for the rebates?

There are two rebates available for domestic use in NSW, they are;
  • STC Rebate – this is a rebate associated with the product itself. Each product was given a score. The better the efficiency, the better the score or STC. The average is around $ 800 at the time of print for a decent unit.
  • ESC Rebate – is $1200 to replace an electric water heater with an energy-efficient unit, and $400 to replace a gas power unit with an energy-efficient unit.

7. Why are Heat Pumps so cheap?

Heat pumps are not cheap, let me rephrase that. Good heat pumps are not cheap, the average cost  for a good heat pump is around $3500-$4000 before installation and rebate, however, there is a good chance you are eligible for $2000 in rebates

8. How long do Heat Pumps last?

Good quality Heat Pumps usually last around 7-10 years.

However, heat pumps do have more mechanical parts than traditional electric or gas units, and in mind, the tanks will last equally as long as an electric or gas unit.

9. How does a Heat Pump work?

Heat pump water heaters take ambient air and turn it into heat, they work in the same manner as a reverse cycle air conditioner.


However, instead of heating the room, they heat the water in the tank.

  • The fan on the heat pump draws air into a series of fins called an evaporator
  • The ambient heat in the air is then absorbed by a refrigerant gas that flows through the evaporator.
  • The refrigerant gas is then compressed by a compressor in the unit and created into a vapour. When the gas is compressed it causes heat which raises the temperature and the pressure of the refrigerant gas.
  • The compressed gas, then flows through a series of pipes in or around the water in the tank heating it and cooling the gas back to a liquid.
  • Once the gas is back to a liquid state and the heat from the gas has transferred to the water the cycle starts again.

10. Why should I get a Heat Pump?

You should get a heat pump for two main reasons.

  • Take advantage of the generous rebates that will almost have the traditional cost.
  • Reduce your energy consumption and therefore save money on your energy bills.


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