A lot of people have made the shift from conventional heating systems that use fuel and electrical water heaters to heating water with heat pumps since it’s one of the most efficient, energy and efficient methods for heating up water. Let’s find out how heat pumps operate and why they are currently the most effective water heater available on the market today.
Why are people shifting to water heaters?
Short answer: less consumption of electricity results in lower electric bills.
Heating water accounts for 20.9 percent of households’ total energy use. Conventional heating systems such as fuel and electricity-powered water heaters use approximately 3000 to 6000 watts of power, whereas the smallest heat pumps consume just 210k power to bring water up to the desired temperature. A typical household using 700kw per month of electricity could save USD $230.78 annually on electricity bills through the use of an electric water heater that is heated by a heat pump.
If the goal is to be energy and cost-effective, then a solar-powered water heater will be more efficient because the sun’s energy is free, isn’t it? But not really. While the sun’s power is free, it’s also running according to a strict schedule. Because solar heaters aren’t able to operate during the night, this means that they can limit their usage to 12 hours of sunlight.
Solar heat collectors can operate at their maximum efficiency when they’re perpendicular to the sun’s angle. This narrows the 12-hour time frame to just 2-3 hours of maximum efficiency. Weather can also reduce their effectiveness and because Australia is known for its monsoons that span half a year, solar heat production is often severely restricted. A heat pump, on the other hand, can work regardless of the moment of the day and because it can transfer heat more efficiently when it is hot and humid conditions, we can reap the advantages of having a heating pump throughout the year in the Australia.
In comparison, solar-powered heaters and oil-fired gas heaters and boilers are easier to install and maintain.
Roof top maintenance is vital to ensure the effectiveness of solar collectors. Gas- or oil-fired heaters and boilers make use of combustion fuel, so they require regular maintenance by a professional to keep them secure and functioning properly.
Maintenance of the heat pump is the same as air conditioner cleaning. Therefore, it is easy to find experts who can take care of them. They are also often equipped with electronic interfaces, which allow homeowners to examine the heating status at their discretion.
They also offer the additional advantage of cooling the rooms they’re installed in, as they emit cool air that is a consequence of the heat process. This allows you to take advantage of heated water and cooler room temperatures for less than the electricity costs associated with conventional heaters. The term “heat pump” might sound too appealing to be true at this moment, so we’ll discuss the science behind their efficiency.
How do Heat Pumps Work?
A refrigerator working in reverse
A water heater which is a heat pump is a highly efficient energy-efficient device that transfers heat from the surrounding environment to the storage tank by using mechanical energy to generate heat for water. The components of the device are similar to those in a refrigerator therefore you can imagine it as the reverse of a refrigerator.
A refrigerator draws ambient temperature and converts the refrigerant in its liquid form into gas. The gaseous refrigerant is subjected to evaporation and reduces the temperature of the container to the desired temperature. It is possible to experience a similar sensation by placing a few small amounts of ruby alcohol onto your skin and experiencing the sensation of chilling as it disappears.
You might have noticed that the coils on the rear of your fridge produce heat as a result of the cooling, to comprehend how a heat pump water heater operates think of the water tank of your refrigerator placed on the rear, where the coils produce heat instead. Then, it would be able to store the heat inside and release cool air as a result. These are the basic principles behind the processes of a heat pump.
Parts of a Heat Pump
Refrigerant- The medium used for heat transfer, goes through the change of its phase as it goes through the coils of the heat pump.
Compressors responsible to move the refrigerant between the condenser and the evaporator coils. Compresses refrigerant that is gaseous to heat it.
Condenser coil Refrigerant with a hot, gaseous form flows through this coil, which is used to warm the cold water inside the tank for storage.
Expansion Valve- decreases the pressure of the refrigerant liquid to alter its state from liquid to vapor inside the evaporator.
Evaporator coil Refrigerant in its liquid state flows through this coil. It absorbs heat from the air and due to its low boiling point transforms into a gaseous state.
Hybrid Water Heaters
Hybrid heat pump water heaters blend the power of heat pumps with an old-fashioned water heater. When the temperature of the air becomes insufficiently cold to allow the heating element to gather heat effectively the hybrid heater intelligently changes to use backup heating elements. This is beneficial for areas that experience winter colds, such as Baguio and Tagaytay. In addition, the hybrid water heater’s heating element may be used to get new cold water up to the desired temperature if a sudden reduction in hot water occurs.
Ambient heat and refrigerant
We now know how the process of heat transfer takes place, let’s look at how heat pumps can be more efficient in reducing electricity consumption as opposed to electric water heaters. A typical electric water heater runs resistive heating elements to create heat. That’s a lot of energy converted into heat via friction. It could account for up 20 percent to 20 percent of your electricity cost.
A water heater that is a heat pump depends mainly on electricity to supply power to the system to circulate refrigerant and let the air, plentiful in the world naturally transfer heat to the heater’s components to produce hot water. Electricity is the power source for the pump, while the air around and the refrigerant do all the heating for free.
Are heat pumps right for you?
Now that we’ve uncovered the process that drives a heat pump water heater’s effectiveness, acquiring one should be an obvious option. It’s important to remember that even though a heat-pump water heater will lower your electric cost in the long term, however, the initial cost of the unit is much higher than an electricity-powered water heater. You can easily see a Php thirty thousand price increase.
Water heaters are designed to last, with an average lifespan of 15 years on average and should you be able to pay the price, you’ll end up benefiting from an energy-efficient heating system for hot water that eventually pays for itself through maintenance and energy costs reduced. And you’ll be doing the planet Earth one thing by helping the planet.