Heat Pump and Solar System Savings
The popularity of renewable energy technology for water heating has sharply increased with the increasing awareness of sustainable living and the ever increasing cost of electricity.
However, as with many products on the market, one can find considerably contradicting claims with regards to the different technologies used for water heating.
Many of these claims and advertisements are nothing more than marketing “scams” and have no facts behind them.
What is a heat pump?
A domestic hot water heat pump is a very efficient water heating device. It uses a small amount of electricity to produce up to four times more heat energy.
So by connecting a heat pump to your existing hot water cylinder you can divide your hot water electrical consumption by four.
Unlike a solar geyser, a heat pump is not directly dependant on the sun and therefore it can operate day and night, winter and summer, ensuring the highest possible saving and piping hot water 24/7.
How long have heat pumps been around?
Heat pumps have been around for decades (some of the hostels at Stellenbosch University for example have used heat pumps for hot water for more than 25 years) and are very widely used in Europe for central heating systems.
Their popularity has increased drastically due to the increase in the price of electricity in recent years and this increase in demand has decreased the price considerably.
How does a heat pump work?
A heat pump works like an air conditioning unit in reverse. It extracts heat from the ambient air surrounding it, enabling it to heat the refrigerant which is then compressed causing it to get even hotter.
This is then run through a heat exchanger where the energy is drawn off to heat the water and then the refrigerant is allowed to expand again, thus cooling it down and enabling it again to absorb heat from the surrounding air.
So electricity is only used to run a fan and compressor and the heat energy is provided indirectly by the sun.