Do heat pumps work in cold climates?
Yes they do, but when choosing a heat pump hot water system, you need expert advice, because it depends on the brand the location and many other factors. The benefits of heat pump hot water systems over other hot water systems are numerous too, such as requiring less space than conventional solar hot water systems.
Do heat pumps work in Canberra?
Yes, they do and we have years of experience to back up that claim.
With over 30 years of hot water experience in the Canberra region, these are two questions that we are frequently asked.
The answer is always “Yes, heat pumps do work in Canberra and other cold climate regions, but how well they work varies depending on several factors”.
While all heat pumps use the same principal to produce hot water, some do it better than others. Let’s face it, some brands are better than others. Some hot water heat pump brands should never be installed in Canberra or other cold climate regions. We only recommend and install brands of heat pumps that we trust and have proven themselves reliable in these colder climates.
Heat pumps use an electrically powered compressor and refrigerant gas to extract the heat energy in the surrounding air. There is heat energy in the air at temperatures all the way down to minus 273 °C or 0°K. However, there is a limit to when it becomes efficient to extract that heat. Most heat pumps will work in temperatures of minus 7°C to minus 10°C.
The warmer the air around a heat pump, the more heat energy is available for extraction. This means heating times are quicker and less electricity is required to raise the temperature of the water.
As the sun rises from the East and the mornings are generally colder than the afternoons, we would not recommend that heat pumps be installed on the eastern side of buildings as this increases their running costs. We would never install a heat pump on the southern side of a building in Canberra or other colder climate regions.
Some heat pumps have back up booster elements. These heat pumps can deliver hot water even when demand is high, and temperatures drop below the rated heat pump working temperature. The Evoheat 270 has a backup element. Other brands such as Quantum do not have back up elements. Therefore, we would install a 340 litre Quantum in the same situation that we would install a 270 litre Evoheat heat pump.
Timers on heat pumps increase their efficiency. The timer can be set to allow the heat pump to make hot water during the warmest time of the day. Given mornings in the colder climates can be significantly cooler than the afternoons, it is best to have the timer set to come on after 11am. Both the Quantum and the Evoheat heat pumps have inbuilt timers. For other models, an electrician can fit a timer on the electrical input circuit.
Hot Water Storage Capacity
The storage capacity of heat pumps is important. Modern hot water storage tanks can keep water hot for many days without any additional heat input. The larger the amount of hot water you can store, the longer periods of cold weather you can withstand before you run out. Just because you have a small house or small family does not mean you should select a small storage capacity. Coupled with a timer, a larger storage system can increase your winter efficiency. You should aim for a tank capacity that will provide two days’ worth of hot water storage.
Heat Pump Recovery Time
The faster your heat pump can recover the better. This is crucial in winter as the days are short and the warmest period of the day can be limited to a few hours. You do not want a heat pump that takes 10 hours to recover to full temperature.
Do heat pumps work in Canberra? Do heat pumps work in cold climates? If you would like more expert advice or an installation, we can help.