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Simply put, no. Heat pump technology has been around for over a 100 years in refrigerators and air conditioners. The heat pump water heaters were first introduced over 50 years ago in places such as Southern United States and Italy, where heat pumps are now well recognised and popular.

Are heat pumps a new technology?

Air source heat pumps work exactly the same as your fridge or air conditioning unit, but in reverse. Heat pumps transfer heat from ambient air, then into the refrigerant and finally into the water inside the tank. A more detailed explanation is as follows:

  1. A fan draws in the ambient air and pulls it over the evaporator containing the liquid refrigerant.

  2. The energy from the air is absorbed and turns the liquid refrigerant into a gas.

  3. The gas passes into the compressor where the pressure is increased, generating enough significant energy to heat the water.

  4. The gas then travels through the closed loop in the water tank and transfers the heat.

  5. The gas then travels through the expansion valve where the pressure is reduced and the refrigerant returns to a liquid.

  6. The process begins again.

How do heat pumps work?

No, unlike solar panels and evacuated tubes, heat pumps don’t rely on direct sunlight. It uses the energy in air to generate heat. All that the system requires is uninterrupted air flow, click here to see the installation manual for positioning requirements.

Do heat pumps need direct sunlight?

All Class A heat pumps by law must complete a low temperature operation and performance test to obtain their Watermark Sticker. Our systems have been tested down to -5°C and will still produce the required volumes of hot water.

Can they operate in cold temperatures?

Our heat pumps are built specifically to withstand Australian conditions. The tank is made from vitreous enamel and has a current impressed electronic anode for maximum protection. All our systems come with a minimum 5 year warranty on all components. The expected lifespan of a quality heat pump is approximately 10-15 years. 

What is the expected system lifespan?

Our heat pumps require no ongoing maintenance or anode changes. 
Australian Watermark Standards recommend that all hot water system plumbing valves are checked/changed every five years for optimum performance. 

What maintenance do they need?

The systems have a built in memory to retain all the timers and settings. If power is lost due to a power failure or the shoulder tariff, the settings will be saved and no action is necessary. If the system is off for a long period of time, the clock may need to be adjusted but the settings will remain the same. 

Does the unit have memory when it is switched off?

To comply with  Government legislation and to meet Legionella requirements all models have a minimum set temperature of 60°C. This can be increased up to a maximum 70°C if running in HYBRID+ mode. 

What temperature do they heat to?

It is always important to check your water quality, especially if you live in a cul-de-sac and if your appliances such as a kettle often require replacement. Warranty will be void if you are in a hard water area that records any of the below quantities:

  • In excess of 600ppm of Total Dissolved solids

  • Chloride levels exceed 250mg/L

  • 6.0pH or lower

All of these can be controlled to an extent through the installation of a water filter. Please contact your plumber for further guidance on filters and installation.

Is water quality a factor?

It is always important to check your water quality, especially if you live in a cul-de-sac and if your appliances such as a kettle often require replacement. Warranty will be void if you are in a hard water area that records any of the below quantities:

  • • In excess of 600ppm of Total Dissolved solids

  • • Chloride levels exceed 250mg/L

  • • 6.0pH or lower

All of these can be controlled to an extent through the installation of a water filter. Please contact your plumber for further guidance on filters and installation.

Is water quality a factor?

Our heat pumps have been tested, with a reading of 43dB. To give this some perspective it is similar to an outside air conditioning unit.
We recommend that all our clients set the in-built timers on their systems for three reasons.

  1. All heat pumps run more efficiently during the days (when ambient air temperatures are higher) therefore saving more on the electricity bill.

  2. Having the system set on timers during the day will ensure that the system will not disturb anyone.

  3. Like any appliance, the less you run your heat pump the better it is for the overall lifespan. 

All models have a timer function with up to three timers, making the heating cycle very customisable. Setting timers will also ensure that you get the most out of your solar PV, if you have one installed. If you need any help at all with setting timers, please call us on 1300 769 904. 

Are heat pumps noisy?

All heat pumps must be installed by a licensed plumber in compliance with government legislation and our  warranty terms & conditions. Therefore any licensed plumber can install our heat pumps. We recommend that you have your plumber read over the Quick Install Guide if they haven’t installed one of our systems before. 

Who can install the heat pumps?

A tempering valve mixes the cold and hot water to 50°C. Every hot water system across Australia must be fitted with a tempering valve in compliance with AS/NZS3500.4, which was introduced in December 2010. This was to protect people from being scolded by water temperature exceeding 60°C.

What is a tempering valve and do I need one?

All models come with a Pressure & Temperature Relief Valve (PTR – 850kPa). 

The DYNAMIC/X8 comes with an additional full install kit which includes. 

  • Non-return/Isolation Valve

  • 500kPa Pressure Reduction Valve.

  • 700kPa Cold Water Expansion Valve.

  • High Performance Tempering Valve.

What valves come with the system?

During the heating cycle the cold water expansion valve and PTR can release between 0-2L of water. This is why the Australian Government have made it a requirement for the PTR and ECV to be drained off to an appropriate drainage point. Different States and Territories have regulations for what an appropriate drainage point is define as.

The release of water is required because as it is heated, it expands and the valves release excess water to relieve pressure. If the PTR or cold water expansion valve is leaking continuously and not when the unit is heating, then please contact your plumber as one of the valves might be faulty and needs replacing.

Should the PTR or (ECV) be leaking? If so, how much?

During a heating cycle, Hydrotherm heat pumps can produce up to 5L of condensate water. If the condensate water is not disposed properly, the following will occur:

  • Condensation water will attract termites.

  • The excess water can damage the house structure as well as cause superficial damage.

  • The condensate water will damage the Hydrotherm system by constantly running onto it.

These reasons are why the Australian government have stipulated for the condensate to be appropriately drained off.  Warranties will also be null and void if it is found that the condensate water is not drained appropriately.

How much condensate should be draining?

All our models come equipped with an 1800W backup electric element. The element will only engage under the following conditions.

  • If the ambient temperature is less then -5°C or higher then 43°C

  • If Hybrid or Hybrid+ heating modes are selected. The heat pump will still do the majority of heating to 60°C with the element boosting to either 65 or 70°C

  • If there is a fault with your system, you can select Element mode to provide hot water while servicing/repairs are arranged. Element mode heats 75% of the tank volume to 70°C. 

Do they have backup electric elements?

If you go away for a short period of time (1 week or less) then we recommend leaving the system as is. For longer periods away we suggest turning on ECO mode. Under ECO mode the system will not heat until the tank sensor reads 48°C. Under normal conditions this should trigger the system to recover every 4 - 5 days due to latent heat loss. This will minimise energy consumption while still ensuring legionella control is maintained.

What should I do if I go away on holiday?

All models include a Four-Way-Reversing-Valve for active defrost function. If the system detects the evaporator is reading below -2°C for more the 30 minutes, the Four-Way-Valve is activated. The refrigerant is reversed back through the evaporator and closed loop circuit to heat the pipes and melt the frost. Once the evaporator temperature is above 18°C the Four-Way-Valve is shut off and normal heating commences.

Do they have frost protection?

A tariff is an electricity pricing structure offered by energy retailers. Different tariffs have different prices per kWh as well as different times of use per day (i.e. the hours per day they physically supply power). Each State and Territory in Australia has a different tariff system.  If you have any questions with regards the tariffs in your area please contact your energy supplier.

What are energy tariffs?

Generally there are three different tariffs that energy providers offer:

  • Continuous Tariff: This tariff is what the majority of the household appliances are connected to, such as lights, televisions, fridges etc. This supplies power 24/7 and is therefore most expensive tariff, systems are compatible on this tariff. If you have a Solar PV system, you can only run your system from the Solar PV system if it is connected to this tariff.

  • Off Peak Tariff: This tariff is just for electric hot water systems. This gives you 8 hours of power a day between 10pm and 6am.  It is not recommended for heat pump to go on this tariff.

  • Shoulder Tariff: This tariff is designed for hot water systems, pool pumps and other intermittent appliances. This tariff supplies a minimum of 18 hours of power a day, occasionally cutting the power between 7am-10am and 5pm-8am. We recommend this tariff unless your household has high hot water usage, in which case the Continuous Tariff is recommended. 

What tariff can heat pumps be connected to?

The easiest way to check what tariff your system is connected to is by looking at a previous power bill. It will indicate different tariffs by breaking up the energy usage in a table which is normally found on the second page. There should be a contact number to phone for changing over the tariff or for further information if need be. It can take up to 6 weeks for the tariff to be changed over, so ensure you contact them at the earliest point possible if you’re in a hurry or planning to install a heat pump.

How do I know what tariff I’m on & how can I change it?

Our heat pumps are supplied with a standard 10Amp plug and can be run on dedicated circuit GPO. However some local councils or energy providers may require the system be hardwired. If hardwired the junction box must be rated for outdoor use and have an isolator switch. All electrical work must be carried out by a qualified electrician. Ensure you discuss with your installing plumber, as they do often work closely with electricians.

Do they need to be electrically hardwired?

If the power has tripped at the fuse box, the hot water system circuit will need to be turned on again manually (as with any hot water system). The system’s inbuilt safety function will then delay the heating for 3 minutes as a power failure has occurred. As for the settings on the system, the will be stored as there is an inbuilt battery which saves all the settings.

What do I have to do if there is a power failure?

The main reason to go with a heat pump over solar (on the roof) is due to the payback period. Our heat pump have a payback period of 6-18 months whereas solar will have a buy back period of over 5 years.
This is due to:

  1. The initial installation for a solar on the roof is very expensive. This is due to factors such as the cost of reinforcing the roof, several installers, crane hire and more plumbing materials.

  2. The unit requires a large amount of expensive gas or electric boosting during the winter periods and rainy/cloudy summer days.

  3. The higher supply cost of a solar hot water system compared to a heat pump. 

Heat pumps versus Solar on the roof hot water system?

The biggest reason for purchasing a heat pump is the large difference in operating costs. Heat pumps are generally 70-80% more efficient than an electric hot water system which is why they are eligible for government incentives. The current availability of Federal & State rebates make heat pumps very competitive in the Australian hot water system market. This often results in owners having only a 6-18 month payback period and then savings for the next 10-15 years.

Heat pump versus an Electric hot water system?

There is little difference between the installation of an electric hot water system and a heat pump. The one factor potential customers should be aware of is location selection (please see the QUICK INSTALL GUIDE for specific requirements). In terms of the plumbing itself, the only main difference in the plumbing is the requirement for the condensate line to be drained off. This is a Government legislation. This can cost no more than $100 in materials and labour and there shouldn’t be a significant difference between the prices of the different installations.

Are heat pumps more expensive to install then Electric?

In the past, the cost of gas in Australia has been relatively inexpensive, meaning gas hot water systems were cheap to run. However over the past decade the cost of gas has increased and they are not as affordable to run as they previously were. Gas companies also charge a high connection fee which does not apply to heat pumps as almost every household already is connected to the electricity grid. 

Heat pump versus Gas hot water system?

Our heat pumps uses approximately 0.8kWh. In comparison, an electric hot water systems use approximately 3.6kWh of electricity. Both systems heat at almost the same rate. Therefore instead of being charge for 3.6kWh you will only be charged for 0.8kWh, dramatically reducing your bill and energy consumption.

How do heat pumps save me money?

The average savings will depend on some key factors, including your current hot water usage rate, the type of hot water system you have and what tariff that system is connect to. Our heat pumps can save between 60-80% of your hot water energy usage, which can account to hundreds of dollars a year. 

What is the average savings to hot water energy costs?

A standard installation cost is described as a ‘like for like’ scenario, where the old unit can be pulled out and the new unit can be put straight into place with all the plumbing and drainage easily accessible. The installation cost of a heat pump should reflect that of an electric installation and should include a full valve kit, Form 4, piping, lagging, labour and it may also include the removal of the old system. This is, however just a guide, please ensure you speak with the plumber and finalise the cost as every install differs. The typical cost for a like for like scenario is typically $800 to $1,200.

What is the standard installation cost for a heat pump?


The Answers You Need

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