Skip to content Skip to footer

Hot Water Heat Pump FAQs

Thinking about upgrading to a hot water heat pump for your home or business but have questions? Well we can help with that! Below you’ll find everything you ever wanted to know about choosing, buying, installing, and running a hot water heat pump, divided into handy sections to make it easy to navigate…



Table of Contents

Heat Pump Basics

What is a hot water heat pump system?

Hot water heat pumps (also known as ‘air source heat pumps’) are a type of hot water system that absorbs heat from the air and transfers it to heat water. They use electricity to operate the fan and compressor, but because they do not use electricity to heat the water, they are around three times more energy efficient than a conventional electric hot water system. This means they only require a third of the power of a conventional electric hot water system. 

How does a hot water heat pump work?

Heat pump systems work in a similar way to a refrigerator, except in reverse. Rather than pumping heat out, they absorb heat from the surrounding air and pump it into the system to heat the water. They use a refrigerant, which passes through an evaporator where it turns to gas, before it’s compressed, which increases the temperature. The heat is transferred to the water, and the refrigerant turns back into liquid. It travels through a valve, cools, and the cycle is repeated again.   

What are the key benefits of a hot water heat pump system?

A key benefit of heat pumps is their energy efficiency – they use as much as 75% less power than conventional electric hot water systems. This not only reduces your environmental footprint and carbon emissions, it also results in lower running costs. Plus, if you purchase a quality system, your heat pump will last longer and require less maintenance than conventional hot water systems.

What are the drawbacks?

Like everything, there are drawbacks to hot water heat pump systems in certain situations. Some systems may not operate as effectively in colder climates, however, experienced suppliers and installers can advise on upgrades that can alleviate this issue. The upfront cost of the system can also be higher than traditional hot water units, however, the money you save on your energy bills over time will quickly offset the extra expense, delivering you overall cost savings in the long run.

Choosing a Hot Water Heat Pump

What type of hot water heat pump systems are available?

There are two main types of hot water heat pumps: integrated and split systems. Single integrated systems (where the major components are located at the top of the storage tank) are more common, while split systems consist of two separate units, with the storage tank connected to the evaporator, fan and compressor via refrigeration pipes.  

What’s the difference between a hot water heat pump and a traditional water heater?

Where traditional water heaters use gas or electricity to heat the water directly (in a similar way to heating water in a kettle), heat pump systems extract air from outside the system and use a refrigeration cycle and heat exchange system to heat the water in the tank. This uses significantly less power than traditional hot water systems, which is the main point of difference.

Why should I avoid ‘free’ or ‘cheap’ heat pumps?

While on the surface a ‘free’ or ‘cheap’ heat pump system seems like a good idea, the truth is, it is likely to cost you more in the long run. Cheap systems are often inferior in quality, meaning they don’t operate as effectively or last as long. Unfortunately this means there’s a good chance you’ll be forced to pay for costly repairs, or even a new system, in the not too distant future. Check out our full article on why we recommend avoiding cheap or free hot water heat pumps.

Which hot water heat pump system should I choose?

The best heat pump system for you depends on a number of factors, including your location, the size of your household, and your budget. We recommend getting in touch with our team to find a local approved heat pump installer for advice on the best fit for your situation.

What size hot water heat pump do I need?

Choosing the right size heat pump is a must to ensure you are getting maximum value and efficiency from your system. Tank sizes vary from less than 200L up to 350L plus, and as there is no one size fits all approach, it is best to talk to an expert like your local registered heat pump installer for project-specific advice.

What is the recovery rate of heat pump systems and why is it important?

The recovery rate of a heat pump describes how fast the unit will heat your next batch of water. This is a key consideration when choosing the right system to be sure you avoid running out of hot water. It’s important to note that the recovery rate is not directly related to the size of the tank. For example, while a low-cost Medea 360L system has a large storage tank, the high-quality 180L Reclaim system will actually deliver hot water faster, even though its tank is half the size.

Should I choose a heat pump or solar hot water system?

Both heat pump and solar hot water systems are a more efficient, sustainable and cost-effective alternative to conventional systems. Deciding which is the best choice for you comes down to a few key factors. The upfront cost of a solar hot water system is generally much higher than a heat pump, and you’ll also need unshaded roof space to get the maximum solar power for your unit. In addition, solar panels can only generate power for your unit during the day, while heat pump systems can operate around the clock. If you have solar panels already installed, this will reduce the cost of solar hot water, but keep in mind you can also connect your heat pump system to solar panels, giving you the best of both worlds.

Heat Pump Price & Running Costs

How much does a hot water heat pump cost?

The upfront cost of a hot water heat pump unit varies considerably depending on the make, model, size and quality of the system. As mentioned, it is wise to be wary of ‘free’ or ‘cheap’ heat pump systems as these systems are generally poor quality and likely to cost you more in the long run. For a free, no obligation, custom quote, fill in our online quote form.

How much does it cost to install a hot water heat pump?

Installation costs will vary too, as different homes and heat pump systems have different requirements. To avoid unnecessary and costly hassles later, it’s essential to only trust a registered installer to complete the installation works. Reputable installers will provide you with a custom quote prior to commencing work and help you with claiming any applicable rebates you may be eligible for.

What rebates are available for installing hot water heat pumps in Australia?

As heat pump systems are a sustainable alternative to traditional electric or gas hot water units, there are a range of grants, rebates and interest-free loans available to offset the costs of buying and installing one at your home. As the schemes vary from state to state, and can change over time, it’s best to check with your relevant state authority, or check the rebates and assistance page on the Australian Government Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water website to find out about the current incentives.

Are hot water heat pumps energy efficient?

Yes, hot water heat pumps are extremely energy efficient – in fact, they typically use 60–75% less electricity than conventional hot water systems. With water heating making up approximately a quarter of the energy use in Australian homes, switching to a heat pump system is a significant step towards reducing your family’s environmental footprint and power bills.

How much will a hot water heat pump reduce my energy costs?

Switching to a heat pump system will undoubtedly reduce your energy cost, but the total savings will depend on a range of factors, including the number of people in your household, how you use your hot water, whether you’re switching from gas or electric, your climate, and your energy tariffs to name a few. For a general guide, see Sustainability Victoria’s water heating running costs comparison.

How long will it take for a hot water heat pump to pay for itself?

As mentioned above, the total cost savings on your bills depend on factors unique to your household. Plus, the amount you pay for your heat pump will also impact how long it will take before your new system pays for itself. What we can say is that because heat pump systems use around 70% less electricity than traditional hot water heaters, you’ll see a significant reduction in your electricity bill after switching and your savings will continue to add up over time.

Heat Pump Installation

Do I need any special connections or plumbing to install a hot water heat pump?

Your new heat pump system requires an electric circuit which must be installed by a licensed electrician. However, if you are replacing an existing electric hot water unit and the circuit is already in place, both the plumbing and electrical installations will be no more complicated than if you were installing a conventional electric hot water unit. 

What happens if my current system is gas?

If your current hot water system is gas, there will be additional installation requirements. It is best to talk to your local registered installer to discuss your options. Upgrading from gas may also have a different rebate than upgrading from electric because various state governments treat the upgrades differently. 

Can I install a hot water heat pump inside my home?

Hot water heat pumps are generally best positioned outside, where they’ll have access to fresh air. However, some models can be situated inside, for example in a garage, and if you choose a split system, it’s possible to install the tank indoors. Your local registered installer can provide advice on the best position and system for your needs.

How much space is required for installation of a hot water heat pump?

The size and type of heat pump system will influence how much space you will need to allocate for the unit. A larger tank size may take up more, and if you opt for a split system heat pump, you will need space for both parts. If space is a concern, discuss this with your supplier or installer and they can guide you on suitable options.

How long does it take to install a hot water heat pump?

The length of time it will take to install your heat pump varies depending on your existing set up and connections, the type of unit you choose and the positioning on your property. In most cases the installation can be carried out within a couple of hours. Your registered installer can provide you with an accurate time frame once they have assessed your needs.

What happens to my old hot water system when I install a heat pump?

A reputable heat pump installer will remove your existing hot water unit from your property as part of the job. They will then ensure it is recycled via the appropriate channels.  

Heat Pump Operation 

What are the maintenance requirements of a hot water heat pump?

A key benefit of a quality hot water heat pump system is that the maintenance requirements are low. General checks can be completed by the homeowner, with scheduled maintenance only required every 3 to 4 years.

Are hot water heat pumps noisy?

Because heat pumps use a compressor and fan to complete the water heating process, there is a level of noise when they operate, which is comparable to that of a refrigerator or air conditioner. Noise levels vary between brands and models so be sure to consider this when selecting your unit. Aim to position the heat pump system away from bedrooms and neighbours to avoid disturbance, however, if this is not possible, choosing a system with quiet operation, or one that can be set to operate on a timer is a good solution.

How long do hot water heat pumps last?

The heat exchange operating system of hot water heat pump systems allows them to generally outlast traditional hot water heaters, as they do not need to work as hard to do the job. In fact, a quality heat pump system that has been properly installed should last well beyond 20 years.  

Can hot water heat pumps be used in cold climates?

In general, heat pump heaters perform most efficiently in warm climates, however certain models and modifications allow them to work effectively in cold climates too. For example, in areas that experience frequent frosts, an electric booster element or defrost cycle may be required. Your local installer can provide location-specific advice to ensure you get the right system for your climate, so you can enjoy maximum efficiency.

How much hot water can a heat pump produce?

Getting a heat pump system that can produce enough hot water to meet your family’s needs is essential. Tank sizes range from less than 200L to 350L plus, and while the size of the storage tanks is important, the recovery rate (the speed that your system can heat the water in the tank) also plays an important role in the amount of hot water you’ll have available. To ensure you get the right size and model, discuss the needs of your household with your supplier or installer before you buy.

How environmentally friendly are heat pumps?

One of the biggest benefits of hot water heat pumps is that they use far less energy than a conventional hot water system, which significantly lowers their carbon footprint, making them a better choice for the environment. But keep in mind that not all heat pump systems have the same level of efficiency – quality brands and models are generally the more sustainable choice. The refrigerant used in heat pumps is also a factor in their environmental impact. Opting for a high quality system will ensure that less damaging gases are used in the system. 

Do you have more questions about hot water heat pumps? Contact our team at info@ with any questions, or fill in our contact form.