Are you thinking of switching to a solar hot water system? Or maybe you’re considering a heat pump system? If you’re considering making the switch to renewable energy, it’s important to understand how these two systems work—and which one will work best for your home. So, which system is right for you?
If you live in an area that gets a lot of sunlight, then a solar hot water system would be the best option. However, if you live in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight or you want to use your system as a backup heating option, then a heat pump system may be better suited for your needs.
No matter which type of system you choose, you can be sure that you’ll be saving money on your energy bills! To find out which system is right for your home, contact your local solar company today.
Table of Contents
Solar Hot Water Systems
Solar hot water systems use the sun’s energy to heat water in an insulated tank. They are most effective in areas that get a lot of sunlight. Solar hot water systems can be used with an existing gas or electric system as a backup. They are often cheaper to run than electric systems, reducing your carbon footprint.
Solar hot water systems are a more environmentally-friendly option since they don’t rely on fossil fuels and help you save money on your energy bills, especially when combined with a solar hot water booster switch. Solar hot water systems typically have a shorter payback period than solar PV systems. In Australia, the average payback period for a solar hot water system is between 3 and 5 years.
Heat Pump Systems
Heat pump hot water systems are renewable energy systems that can be used to heat water for your home. A heat pump hot water system is a type of hot water system that uses heat pump technology to generate hot water. Heat pump systems use electricity to transfer heat from the air, ground, or water into your home.
Heat pump hot water systems are a type of renewable energy system that can be used to heat water for your home. They work by transferring heat from the air outside to the water inside, making them more efficient than traditional electric hot water systems.
Heat pump hot water systems work by extracting heat from the air and transferring it to the water in the storage tank. The heat pump contains a refrigerant that absorbs heat from the air as it evaporates. The refrigerant then transfers this heat to the water in the storage tank, raising the temperature of the water.
As the name suggests, a heat pump hot water system consists of two main parts: a heat pump and a storage tank. The heat pump extracts heat from the air and transfers it to the water in the storage tank.
Pros of Heat Pump Hot Water
In Australia, heat pump hot water systems are becoming increasingly popular due to their energy efficiency. The benefits of heat pump hot water systems include:
- Efficiency – Firstly, they’re much more efficient than traditional electric hot water systems. This means that you’ll save money on your energy bills each month.
- Environmentally Friendly – Heat pump hot water systems are environmentally friendly because they don’t produce any carbon emissions.
- Longevity – Heat pump hot water systems can last up to twice as long as traditional electric hot water systems, making them a great investment for your home.
- Cost-Effective Long Term – By using heat from the air to generate hot water, these systems use less energy than traditional electric hot water systems. This can lead to significant savings on your energy bill.
Cons of Heat Pump Hot Water
However, heat pumps also have some disadvantages that are worth noting, such as:
- Maintenance – Heat pump hot water systems require a lot of maintenance and servicing in order to keep them running properly. Without regular maintenance, your system will run poorly and cost you more money on more frequent repairs.
- Climate Dependent – Heat pumps are not suitable for homes in cold climates because the air outside needs to be warm in order for the system to work properly.
- Initially Expensive – Heat pump hot water systems can be quite expensive to install, so you’ll need to weigh up the cost before deciding if one is right for your home.
Heat Pump vs Solar Hot Water Systems
Heat pumps are much more energy efficient in a lot of scenarios compared to solar hot water systems. However, solar hot water systems are able to reach higher levels of efficiency as long as the installation and positioning of its components are properly done.
Similar to comparing hot water vs gas systems, it’s important to remember that both systems have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages, such as frequency versus the cost of maintenance, life expectancy, efficiency, and upfront costs, among others.
Remember that there are other less known or talked about factors that may play into the decision of choosing either a heat pump or a solar hot water system, such as noise levels and complexity of installation.
Heat Pump vs Solar Hot Water System Cost
Heat pump systems tend to be more expensive than solar hot water systems, but they can also help you save money on your energy bills. Heat pump systems typically have a longer payback period than solar hot water systems.
In Australia, the average payback period for a heat pump system is between 7 and 10 years, compared to 3 to 5 years for a solar hot water system. In addition, heat pump hot water systems are eligible for government rebates in some states, making them even more affordable.
Heat Pump vs Solar Hot Water Efficiency
Heat pumps are, in some cases, much more efficient than solar hot water systems, and this efficiency stays constant. On the other hand, solar hot waters require proper positioning and installation in order to achieve maximum efficiency, unlike heat pumps which work in any weather, even in the absence of solar energy.
So although solar hot water can achieve higher levels of efficiency and reach a return on investment much quicker, it requires a lot of planning for the installation. Heat pumps, on the other hand, are more straightforward and are preferred in areas that do not see a lot of sunny weather throughout the year.
Heat Pump vs Solar Hot Water Maintenance
Both heat pumps and solar hot water require some degree of maintenance, as do all mechanical components and machines. But heat pumps contain more mechanical components inside them, which means they require servicing much more often, usually around 3 to 5 years, compared to solar hot water, which is around 5 to 8 years.
The primary disadvantage of solar hot water in terms of maintenance comes from the cost, especially split type solar systems. Solar hot water’s relatively new technology also means that you may run into some very new problems down the road.
Heat Pump vs Solar Hot Water Lifespan
Expected lifespan is where heat pumps and solar hot waters start to show a very big difference. Modern heat pumps have a life expectancy of around ten years, which means after two to three servicing sessions, they will naturally break down. On the other hand, solar hot water systems last up to 20 years, primarily due to the low number of moving parts.
The caveat is that the long life expectancy only applies to the solar panels themselves and not to the controllers and pumps used by most solar hot water systems.
Is Solar Hot Water Better Than a Heat Pump?
Heat pumps usually edge out solar hot water systems due to their versatility and their functionality without a consistent stream of solar energy. Their overall efficiency and return make them the better pick for many people.
Fortunately, you can actually get the best of both worlds. You can opt to use a heat pump and power it using solar panels instead of traditionally sourced electricity as the power source. This gives you advantages from both systems without having to choose one over the other.
Do Heat Pumps Save You Money?
Yes, heat pumps do save you money, especially in comparison to traditional electric resistance hot water systems. They also save you money compared to poorly installed solar hot water systems, especially when the heat pumps are powered by solar panels.
Can I Use a Heat Pump with a Solar Hot Water System?
You can use a heat pump with solar panels as the power source, but not with a fully-fledged solar hot water system. Doing so will give you the best perks of both systems without having to deal with a lot of the disadvantages that a traditionally powered heat pump or a full-on solar hot water system brings with them.
This article is published in good faith and for general informational purposes only. JFK Electrical does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness and reliability of this information. Always seek personalised advice on solar energy to ensure any recommendations suit your property and scenario.
John Lyons, the owner of JFK Electrical Solar & Air, started his career in the electrical industry in 1997. With years of experience gained in the industry across multiple continents, he relocated to Australia and decided to specialise in solar and air conditioning. After deciding he wanted to be closer to his family, John began his own local electrical business in Mandurah, using his extensive knowledge and training in the industry. At JFK, John’s number one goal is to provide tailored solutions to his customers. And thanks to his experience and commitment to his customers, JFK Electrical is now one of the most trusted local businesses in Mandurah for solar and electrical services.