If you are looking for a hot water system, you have several options to choose from. These include: electric heaters, gas heaters, solar heaters and heat pump water heaters. In this article, learn about how heat pump water heaters work, how they are installed and their benefits.
How they work:
A heat pump water heater works in the same way an air conditioner or a fridge works. A refrigerant is used to collect heat from one area and deliver it to another. With heat pump water heaters, hot air is collected from the outdoor environment and then used to heat water inside the tank.
A heat pump water heater has three main components: an evaporator, a condenser and a water tank. The evaporator is responsible for collecting the hot air outside. The hot air is then absorbed by the cool refrigerant and passed down to the condenser. The heated refrigerant moves to the condenser, where it gives off its heat to the water tank, gently warming the water inside it.
This cycle repeats until the water is heated. Heat pumps also contain a booster – either electric or gas. The booster is basically a second power source that kicks in if the outdoor air is too cold to provide enough heating power.
It's also important to note that there are two types of heat pump water heaters. Some heaters contain an evaporator that is fused to the condenser and tank. These are called integrated systems. Other heaters contain an evaporator that is separate from the tank. These are called split systems.
Benefits of heat pump water heaters
The main advantage of heat pump water heater is that they are more energy efficient. This is because, though they are electrically powered, they do not use electricity to heat your water. Instead, they simply take away heat from the hot external air and use that energy to heat your water tank. Electricity is therefore needed to only fan the air, move the refrigerant, and pump your heated water.
Note: The unique working of the heat pump makes the process slow, so your water will take longer to heat compared to electric or gas heaters.
Heat pump water heaters are not complicated to install. However, you need an experienced electrician to carry out the job. Since they are dependent on external air, they are mostly installed outside, in an area where there is free flowing air. They should be installed closest to the highest water usage points, e.g. bathroom or kitchen. This helps to reduce water heat loss while in transit.
Note: For split systems, the tank may be installed indoors and the separate evaporator installed close by outside.
Servicing your heat pump water heater
With time, your water heater will need some servicing, though minimal. Again, seek a licensed electrician to avoid damaging your unit or voiding your warranty. A typical service will include: repairs, cleaning dirt from the evaporator, checking for refrigerator leaks and topping up the refrigerant (if necessary).
Think a heat pump water heater is right for your home? Talk to a supplier to understand the size of unit you need depending on your hot water needs.