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Why your next hot water system should be a heat pump

Why your next hot water system should be a heat pump

Hot water heating accounts for 20 per cent of the total energy bill of most Australian homes. The best way to lower your hot water heating bills is to install a heat pump hot water system and power it with electricity from your solar panel system.

Even without solar, heat pumps are the most efficient way to heat hot water for Australian homes. They generate around three to four times more energy than they consume. That’s because they concentrate heat, rather than create it. The heat pump extracts ambient heat from the surrounding air and pumps it into a storage tank ready for use.

On this blog, we explain the top 10 reasons why your next hot water system should be a heat pump.


Cheapest to run

Because of their high efficiency, hot water heat pumps are four and a half times cheaper to run than a conventional electrical hot water system and around half the cost of gas hot water.  Even without solar, heat pumps are incredibly cost effective with average annual running costs of approximately $185 for the typical Australian home. If you install a solar panel system and use it to power the heat pump, you can cut the cost of hot water heating to virtually zero.


Hot water systemAnnual running cost
Conventional electric$810
Gas storage$410
Gas instantaneous$365
Heat pump$185

Source: Sustainability Victoria’s Hot Water Running Costs


Excellent lifetime savings

A quality heat pump should last for at least 15 years.  Assuming you have typical hot water requirements, your heat pump will cost you around $185 a year to heat your hot water.  That’s a cost of $2,775 over 15 years (and that’s without solar).

A conventional electric hot water system will cost around $12,300 to heat your household’s hot water over a 15-year period (assuming it lasts that long – generally they wear out within 8-10 years).

Gas instantaneous hot water systems are cheaper to run than gas storage systems.  Even if you have a gas instantaneous hot water system, it will cost you around $180 more a year to run than a heat pump hot water system.  And of course, you don’t have the opportunity to power a gas system for free with solar!


Heat pump



Ideal for Australian Climate

Heat pump hot water systems will work effectively in all temperature zones across Australia.  The refrigerant in heat pump systems can absorb heat even in temperatures as low as -20 °C.  That’s why even in the middle of winter in the middle of the Australian alps, a good quality heat pump will continue to generate all the hot water that a typical family home will need.



Most efficient

A hot water heat pump is at least 300% efficient at converting electricity to hot water. Electric-resistive hot water systems have an efficiency of less than 100%.  Heat pumps are also more efficient than gas hot water systems particularly if powered by solar electricity.



Never run out of hot water

Check out the specs for the hot water heat pump system you are interested in.  The models vary but you should be able to get a quality heat pump that heats 50 litres within 15 minutes. A 10 minute shower requires around 100 litres of water depending on the type of showerhead and how much water pressure is used. If you get a heat pump hot water system with a capacity of 300L, that should be enough to cover three ten minute showers in immediate succession.  Chances are this isn’t going to happen – but if it did it would take around 90 minutes to reheat all the water in the tank.






If poorly maintained, gas hot water systems can emit dangerous fumes and can even be a fire hazard.  Because electric water heaters have heating elements inside the tank, if the element fails this can be dangerous.

Hot water heat pumps don’t have any electricity inside the water tank.  They only use electricity to power the heat pump.  That’s why heat pump hot water systems are the safest form of hot water heating for your home.



Good modern heat pumps can be extremely quiet.  Choose a quality heat pump, and you’ll find that the noise level from the pump is no louder than a modern electric fan, i.e., around 37-40 decibels.


Federal government STCs

Approved hot water heat pumps quality for federal government rebates – called Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs). STCs can cut the upfront cost of a heat pump by $800-$1,040 depending on where you live in Australia.

Conventional electric hot water systems don’t qualify for STCs; neither do gas hot water systems.



State government rebates

Some state governments and territories such as the Victorian Government provide additional financial incentives for households to install an energy efficient heat pump hot water system.  These additional rebates work as a point-of-sale discount further reducing the out-of-pocket cost of a heat pump by as much as $1,000 or more.  These rebates are in addition to the federal government STCs.


Best for environment

Heat pumps are better for the environment than both conventional electric hot water systems and gas hot water systems.

Conventional electric hot water systems produce 4.75 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, making them the worst CO2 polluter out of all hot water systems.

Greenhouse gas emissions from gas hot water systems and heat pumps are similar at around 1.6 tonnes per year. However, gas is more environmentally damaging, given that in Australia it is mostly extracted by hydraulic fracturing which can poison groundwater and threaten wildlife.

Connect a heat pump with your solar panel system, you can power your pump with renewable energy. This makes heat pumps the best environmental choice for carbon-conscious households.


Get a heat pump quote

Get in touch if you’d like a quote for a heat pump hot water system from SolarRun.  We stock high quality heat pumps with good warranties, which will save you hundreds of dollars a year on power. We can also set up your heat pump correctly to work with your solar panel system, if you have one.  If not, why not get a quote from us for solar as well?


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