CHOICE membership

Heat pump hot water service

My electric storage hot water system will need to be replaced. I do not have solar panels and I am looking for a heat pump system. I was thinking about 300 l (in case I have visitors). Meanwhile I also found that there seem to be lot of problems. Should I just get another storage hot water system and save myself all the trouble of changing to something new???

5 Likes

Choice has some advice.

There are also a few topics that touch on specific makes and models discoverable using the Community search tool for ‘heat pumps’ and ‘hot water systems’.

5 Likes

Depending on which State you live in, you should be able to access a free/heavily subsidised heat pump - because you have an electric HWS: there are rebate schemes to encourage you to use an environmentally friendly option instead.

I used Ecovantage (because of the quality of their heat pumps, in comparison to some other Government registered suppliers/installers). There were two separate properties involved: one only required the basic 155L, the other - a twinned system to cover the greater numbers in the household.

Ecovantage is based in Victoria: the two properties mentioned above, in regional South Australia. It took a few months (early July to 11th November) to get a confirmed installation date (tied up with training & certification of SA installers), but - when the date arrived, it was very efficiently done!

One team arrived with the HWS, closely followed by the electrician: they installed one at a property (on the way), then a twin system - total 310L - in town (mains water), followed by a single one (gravity fed) on a rural property 40kms away. They packed up and were on the road back to Adelaide by 5pm!!

The recipients are very happy with them, especially for the household of 3 adults and five children: they haven’t run out of hot water since… and at a cost of $99 for both of them.

Here are some details of the information they require (c&p from one, of many, emails I received, plus phone calls - great communication).

" Based on the information you have provided us your estimated upgrade cost for a 155L heat pump is: $99.00 (GST inclusive).

As we are looking to begin booking customers in soon for their upgrades we were hoping you could provide us with photos of the following for both properties so we can ensure a smooth and timely upgrade of your hot water system.

** Your current hot water system*
** Your current hot water system’s location*
** Your switchboard with the cover open*
** Where your new heat pump will be located.*

As always if you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Kind regards,

Tom

Ecovantage
Customer Service and Sales

1300 721 335

I hope this helps you in your decision making!

4 Likes

Sorry! Forgot to add the website link…

3 Likes

If reliability is a concern heat pumps are the most complex option.

  • warranty conditions,
  • length of warranty,
  • warranty/service support that is available locally,

are all needs to consider.

Choice has not reviewed Heat Pump hot water systems. There is a hot water system reliability review available. Note it is a little dated 2017 and may be member only content.

The Choice Guide ‘How to buy the best hot water system’ provides links to the subsidies available for Solar and Heat Pump HWS. Only SA, Vic and ACT have current schemes in place. There are links in the guide. Conditions Apply.

The Commonwealth Govt also provides STC rebates (conditions apply) for all states and territories. Typically up to $1000 depending on system size and post code.

If cost/budget is most important?
A standard electric storage HWS is more expensive (cost of electricity) to run compared with a similar sized heat pump system. A heat pump HWS of similar size will cost substantially more to purchase and install. Consider whether the savings in electricity costs will justify the difference in upfront costs including any rebates. My personal choice is a 5 year pay back of the difference in upfront costs from the savings.

The purchase cost of a replacement electric storage HWS (315l enamel glass tank) Rheem/Aquamax will be around $1500. Depending on brand of heat pump, specials etc the purchase costs are substantially more $3000 -$4500. Installation is not included.

The installation cost may be greater to replace an electric storage HWS with a heat pump HWS. It will vary with the brand and model of heat pump system chosen. It’s important to get quotes from at least 3 installers including one from the installer recommended by the HWS supplier. The quotes to install can vary substantially.

Some heat pump HWS are supplied with a stand alone compressor/evaporator unit, (similar to a split system AC out door unit). These require extra space, time and work to install.

Note that some heat pump HWS suppliers recommend replacement systems with less storage capacity than the existing standard electric storage HWS. Consider when and how much hot water you consume at present. Whether your current HWS electrical supply is on a night rate off peak supply, full rate or other should also be considered.

A heat pump HWS will use around one quarter of the electricity to deliver the same amount of hot water when compared to a standard electric storage HWS. Most heat pump HWS also include a lower powered electric resistance heater to boost output. Operation of the boost heater is not energy efficient. Operation of the boost will reduce any savings. Some heat pump systems are not recommended or suitable for colder climates. A reputable supplier is important.

2 Likes

As mentioned in the Choice review, heat pumps can be noisy. Our neighbour has one and it’s a noisy thing to have between two houses 3 metres apart, making the water pump right next to our property. It runs for several hours a day and more in the cooler months. It’s interesting that due to the noise Choice says you can’t install close to a neighbouring property. Unfortunately as with all things council and noise, our council doesn’t regulate the location of any noise producing household electrical appliance, including air conditioning, and as they don’t class the noise as excessive, we just have to put up with the invasive noise. It seems that the position is down to you doing the right thing by your neighbours and considering the positioning for your own comfort.

2 Likes

I’m happy with the Sanden heat pumps bought for my property and my mother’s. Mine has been in for 18 months or so without fault; her’s for a few years without fault. Tanks are stainless steel with very long warranty and made in Albury NSW. Both were bought because of the high efficiency, relatively long warranties, and that they’re quiet (much quieter than most air conditioner condensers). Like any heat pump, they will be a bit more efficient if the condenser is on the warmer side of the house. If you can enclose the tank in the house or in an insulated cabinet this will improve efficiency, especially in cold climates, but is not necessary. Up-front cost is high but operational cost very low. Comes with an internal timer that can put the heating cycle in sync with peak solar power generation (assuming a sunny day) or potentially when mains power is cheapest. Sanden systems have the heat pump/condenser separate to the tank, which can provide more flexibility with installations e.g. tank could go inside but heat pump outside or in adequately ventilated garage. System attracts renewable energy subsidy in NSW but is still relatively expensive (~$5k installed). Some folks might suggest that if you don’t have solar but have a roof that can accommodate it, you just buy a relatively cheap replacement ‘kettle’ HWS and direct the money that you’d save on a high-spec heat pump HWS towards a small solar system. You can then put a timer on the ‘kettle’ so that it comes on when your solar system is likely to be generating max power - likely more than enough to run it with some to spare.

2 Likes

I’ve got a Hydrotherm heat pump HWS. It was here (and I was told it was about 5 years old) when I moved into the house in 2017 and while I thought it was playing up at one point - causing me to ring for a service call - the problem was fixed over the phone.

The power consumption is so small, I took it off the controlled load supply (I have 6kW of solar panels) and while there is a noise when it’s running, the noise is no worse than an air conditioner compressor (which is what it really is).

1 Like