Hot water

Hot water for a cool price

If you need a new hot water system, or if you are looking to upgrade one, then it’s important to be as energy-efficient as possible. Hot water systems can often be responsible for 16% of household energy usage and they can last for around 10 years, so choose carefully.

If your system is more than 7 years old, it is important to start preparing today to upgrade to an efficient system, so that you don’t find yourself needing to replace the system in a rush down the track.

There are many different types of hot water systems, all with different running costs.

Diagram showing solar, gas instant, gas storage, heat pump and electric storage hot water systems.
Source: Sustainability Victoria

What is the most efficient type of hot water service?

The graph below shows the annual running costs for the most common types of hot water systems.

Graph showing annual running costs: Gas storage $400, Gas instant $380, Electric storage $1100, Solar with gas booster $80, Solar with electric booster $350, Heat pump $280.
Data sourced from Sustainability Victoria Hot Water Running Costs

As you can see, both heat pumps and solar gas boosted hot water systems are very efficient with very low running costs. However, we recommend households to install a heat pump over solar hot water for a number of reasons:

  • Many households are moving away from using natural gas as it is a fossil fuel with associated greenhouse gas emissions
  • The cost of gas continues to rise each year
  • Solar hot water systems use up roof space exclusively for hot water. Instead, this space could be used to install solar panels, which can provide power to other appliances as well as hot water
  • If hot water is your last gas appliance, you could be financially better off replacing it with an efficient electric system and disconnecting from mains gas to save on the daily supply charge. This could save you a further $200-$300 per year

What is a heat pump?

Traditional electric water heaters use electricity to heat water directly through an element, whereas, a heat pump uses electricity to operate a pump that circulates a refrigerant around the system. The pump uses far less electricity than the element. A refrigerant then picks up ambient heat from the air and transfers it to the water. It’s the same principle as a reverse cycle air-conditioner; it just heats water instead of air. In this way, heat pumps are able to use far less electricity than traditional electric hot water systems. That means they cost less to run and create less greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, the running costs of heat pumps can be up to 45-65% lower, depending on if your existing system is gas or electric!

Heat pump technology has been around for more than 100 years, so it is well and truly proven. They have been popularly in use for decades in the USA and many parts of Europe, particularly Italy and Spain.  In Australia, thanks to generous government rebates and rising energy prices, more and more Victorian households have been making the switch to heat pump hot water systems.

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How do I choose the right heat pump hot water system?

With many options in the market, it can be hard knowing where to start. This is why Positive Charge regularly reviews the market in order to be able to recommend good quality systems and suppliers.

We have partnered with Bosch Australia in order to give you an opportunity to upgrade to an efficient heat pump hot water system. Through this partnership, Bosch is offering the highly acclaimed Compress 3000 hot water heat pump system.

Bosch’s Compress 3000 hot water heat pump has been selected due to its:

  • Value for money
  • Reliability
  • Strong warranties
  • Bosch’s high customer service standards
  • Use of an environmentally friendly refrigerant
  • Smart controls that allow it to be easily powered by your solar power system during the day (or on off-peak tariffs, if you don’t have solar and are on a time of use tariff)
  • Can efficiently heat water in outside temperatures from -7°C to 40°C

How much do they cost?

The Bosch Compress 3000 heat pump, available through this offer, is priced at $2475 or $2885, depending what kind of system you are replacing. As part of the SolarVic program $1000 rebates are applicable to eligible households (but you can only claim one rebate through the program, so if you’re thinking of getting solar or adding batteries to an existing system then you’ll get a bigger rebate by claiming on one of those).

These prices are based on a standard installation and already include the Federal STC Rebate and Victorian VEEC rebate. Pricing may incur extra costs due to valves, pipe alterations, installation location and concrete slab.

We recommend obtaining an obligation-free quote to confirm the exact price for your home.

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Are there rebates available for heat pumps?

Yes! Hot water heat pumps attract rebates from both the Federal Government (as part of the Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme) and Victorian Government (as part of the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target). All of these rebates mean that on average you can expect to save $1,500 off your system. Also, some households may be eligible to receive an additional $1,000 rebate as part of the Victorian Government’s Solar Homes Package. For more information, please see our news article.

What are the warranties?

The Bosch Compress 3000 hot water unit comes with the following warranties:

  • 2 years parts and labour warranty
  • 5 years warranty on the tank
  • 6 years plumber’s warranty on installation.

Who is a heat pump best suited for?

  • Anyone with an existing gas or electric storage hot water system more than 7 years old
  • Homes with up to 4 residents
  • Anyone with a solar power system. The Bosch Heat pump only requires 600W of power so it can be very easily powered by your solar – even with smaller power systems
  • Households with hot water as the only gas appliance. Switching to a heat pump can allow you to disconnect from mains gas and save an additional $200-$300 per year in supply charges.

Aren’t heat pumps noisy?

The way that a heat pump works is the same as an air-conditioner running ‘reverse-cycle’. The main difference is that a heat pump heats water rather than air. You have probably come across air-conditioners and have heard the ‘fan-coil’ unit whirring away on a hot day. Heat pump systems are similar and care should be taken when choosing where to locate a heat pump, for example, away from bedrooms or places where the noise might disturb others.

The Bosch heat pump has a noise reduction function where it can be programmed to reduce the speed of the ventilation fan between certain hours such as between 11pm and 6am. In most instances, this function will not be necessary but this is an option in case the unit is close to, for example, a bedroom window.

Could I run out of hot water?

From cold start-up, the unit will reach a temperature of 56°C in approximately 6 hours.  Under typical operating conditions, you are unlikely to run out of hot water as the Bosch heat pump has a well insulated 270 litre tank.  However, in the event that you do, the unit has an electric element which can be used as a one-shot boost to speed up the recovery like any other hot water or gas storage system.

How much space do I need?

The Bosch heat pump has a height of 184cm and a diameter of 67cm. In order to operate, it requires a well-ventilated area away from any living area windows. Minimum clearances are 60cm vertical clearance, 40cm in front of the grilles and 5cm from the drainside of the appliance. It can also be installed indoor provided the required space is available.

How will it work with my solar power system?

The Bosch heat pump comes with a built-in timer which means you can very easily set it to run during the day, allowing you to power the heat pump using free electricity from the sun! The heat pump also only requires 600W of power which means even small solar power installations can generate enough power during sunny days to run it. Check out our ‘Use Your Power’ activity for more advice on how to use your solar power in your home and what you can do to maximise the benefits of having solar.

Do heat pumps work in cold weather?

It is true that in areas of frequent frost (for instance alpine areas in Vic), the system takes a little longer to heat up the water. However, the Bosch heat pump has a built-in electric element which can be ‘kicked in’ during any period of extremely cold weather. Regardless, it is designed to operate in conditions from -7°C to 40°C.

Can I set up the heat pump on a controlled load tariff?

Depending on your location it may be possible to set up the heat pump to operate on a controlled load electric tariff.  If available, this means you can operate the heat pump on a much lower electricity tariff leading to even more dollar savings! Please check with your electricity retailer to see if this is possible in your area.

Here’s a handy guide to hot water safety.

Heat pumps can reduce your hot water costs by up to 65%. With generous government rebates, it’s cheaper than ever to install a heat pump and save. Get an obligation-free quote today!

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