In modern residential and commercial spaces, hot water has become nothing but a staple amenity. While this is true, what of energy efficiency and affordable electricity bills? That’s where heat pump hot water and solar water heaters come in. Generating scalding showers and potable water, both these solutions are supreme, owing to their use of freely available resources - the heat and the sun.
With improved cost efficiency and environmentally friendly design, therefore, which of these makes the most fitting pick for your home or commercial property?
Our blog this week finds out.
Working hours and backup power
One of the foremost considerations users delve into when considering solar heaters is the amount of sunlight required to power these devices.
In this context, working hours and backup power becomes pertinent, given that sunlight wanes from time to time. Beyond sunset and the night, sunlight is also weak during the winter. In this regard, states such as Melbourne and Hobart - traditionally considered to be less solar-friendly - backup generation requirements are as high as 40%-50%.
Heat pumps, on the other hand, prove to be more consistent. Here, by drawing heat from the external temperature - whether the air outside or the ground beneath - these devices work well in rain, snow, or shine.
This, however, will depend on whether you choose air source or geothermal devices. While air source heat pumps still remain operational in temperatures as low as -10℃, these are limited in climates that are cold and dreary. Geothermal solutions, on the other hand, are far more effective.
As mentioned in previous blogs, one of the biggest advantages of solar power is that it is becoming increasingly affordable.
Owing to advances in technology and the manufacturing process, as well as the numerous rebates and incentives available, a greater number of property owners are now gravitating towards this form of water heating. South Australia, in fact, boasts among the lowest solar panel costs in the world.
In this regard, generating heat pump hot water is a little more expensive.
Geothermal devices, which are, by far, the most efficient and climate adaptable systems, prove to be among the most expensive. Air source devices are relatively affordable in comparison.
Another factor that makes solar water heaters more lucrative is that they require zero electricity to run. From the get-go, property owners can install these devices and enjoy immediate reductions in water heating bills.
Heat pumps, on the other hand, require a certain degree of electricity to operate.
While this is by no means excessive, power requirements can increase in certain circumstances. While these can be eliminated by connecting a given heat pump to solar panels, these systems do not possess a zero energy design by default.
In terms of upkeep and maintenance, solar heaters tend to require more work compared to air source or geothermal heat pumps.
In this regard, cleaning solar panels constantly is key to enjoying warm water, without the headache of excessive electricity bills. Here, professional service is required, more often than not, to ensure this process is conducted in a safe, efficient, and effective manner.
Heat pumps, while similarly requiring professional attention, are relatively less stressful to maintain. Not only are they less prone to damage and destruction, but they also require little cleaning to function the way they’re supposed to.
The noise used to generate heat pump hot water vs solar heaters
In terms of noise in the ambient environment, solar water heaters produce no noise. In this way, they make a comfortable fit in homes and other quiet commercial spaces.
Heat pumps, however, are known to make a certain degree of noise and generally need to be placed a few feet away from a given property.
Having considered the finer aspects of generating heat pump hot water and solar heaters, it is clear both solutions have their own set of pros and cons.
When choosing between these systems, therefore, property owners will need to pay attention to which factors matter the most - affordability or long-term efficiency, for instance.
Regardless, heat pumps and solar water heaters have something many other heating solutions can’t touch - a renewable energy design that’s far superior to anything else on the market.