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Can Heat Pump Supply Hot Water?

A short answer is: “Yes.”

 

For individuals who want to help reduce heating and cooling costs while minimizing their impact on the environment, an air-source heat pump could be a significant investment.

 

Although air-source heat pumps are typically used for heating and cooling purposes, with the right setup, they can also provide domestic hot water.

 

Many air-source heat pump systems can provide domestic hot water in addition to central heating, but since air-source heat pumps cannot supply hot water on demand like traditional boilers, they require a hot water tank for storage.

 

The air-source heat pump supplies heat for central heating and hot water, and the hot water cylinder is used to store the hot water.

 

Now, let’s explain in more detail how we can use an air-source heat pump to provide domestic hot water using our own system.

 

Can an air-source heat pump be used to produce hot water?

With the right setup, an air-source heat pump can be used to provide domestic hot water for homes. However, due to the longer time it takes for air-source heat pumps to extract and deliver heat, they cannot provide hot water on-demand, so a hot water tank is typically required.

 

An air-to-water heat pump can extract heat from the outside air, and this heat is then transferred via pipes to other equipment.

 

From here, the heat extracted from the outside air is used to heat the house by using underfloor heating or radiators as part of the central heating system.

 

With this hot water cylinder, we can have domestic hot water available whenever we need it for taps, showers, etc.

 

However, without this hot water cylinder, we cannot use the air-source heat pump to provide domestic hot water because the water won’t be hot enough.

 

Unlike traditional boilers/furnaces, heat pumps take longer to extract heat, so they cannot be used to provide hot water on-demand. Therefore, to use an air-source heat pump for hot water, a hot water tank is usually necessary.

 

The hot water tank ensures that you have hot water available when you need it.

 

However, the hot water tank installed alongside the air-source heat pump is typically a water heater and uses one or more immersion electric heaters to raise the water temperature to the desired level for domestic hot water.

 

Our water heater tank is equipped with immersion heaters to supplement the temperature of domestic hot water when needed.

 

If you don’t have space for a hot water tank, you can use a hybrid system of an air-source heat pump for central heating and a traditional hot water boiler.

 

heat pump installation

What is an air-source heat pump?

An air-source heat pump is a device that uses outdoor air to heat or cool a building. It operates by transferring heat from one place to another and can also be used for domestic water with the right setup.

 

For well-insulated homes, an air-source heat pump is an excellent choice as it can help save on monthly electricity bills.

 

They can be used in both warm and cold climates as long as the outdoor temperatures permit.

 

Types of air-source heat pumps

Air-source heat pumps can mainly be divided into two categories:

 

Air-to-air heat pumps


Air-to-water heat pumps


Let’s delve into these pumps in more detail:

 

Air-to-air heat pumps: Air-to-air heat pumps work by absorbing heat from the outside of the house to provide space heating. These pumps are primarily used for heating the indoor air. Therefore, you’ll need a series of fan coils (blowers) to distribute the warm air throughout the house.

 

Unfortunately, air-to-air heat pumps cannot be used for water supply, so another method of providing domestic hot water needs to be considered.

 

Air-to-water heat pumps: Air-to-water heat pumps (just like the one we have) are used to transfer heat from the outside air to water, which is then used for central heating purposes (radiators, underfloor heating, etc.).

 

When used in conjunction with a hot water tank/water heater, air-to-water heat pumps can also be used for domestic hot water, as we use our air-to-water heat pump.

 

Please refer to our article comparing air-to-water and air-to-air heat pumps for more information.

 

Advantages of air-source heat pumps

There are numerous benefits to using air-source heat pumps, including:

 

Significant energy savings: Air-source heat pumps are more efficient than traditional heating systems. For example, compared to using electric heaters or oil systems, using an air-source heat pump can save about 3000 kWh per year.

 

Environmentally friendly: Since these appliances do not rely on fossil fuels to provide heating and cooling for your home, they are more environmentally friendly. They also do not produce harmful emissions like traditional heating systems.

 

Quiet operation: Air-source heat pumps are typically very quiet devices. You’ll hardly hear them running, and most of the noise comes from the outdoor equipment. This is in stark contrast to noisy furnaces and boilers. Refer to our article on air-source heat pump noise for more details.

 

Increased property value: When you decide to sell your house, an air-source heat pump will offer a significant return on investment. This is because they greatly reduce your energy costs while providing an environmentally friendly setup for your property.

 

Low maintenance requirements: If properly maintained, air-source heat pumps require minimal attention. This is in contrast to traditional heating systems, which require frequent adjustments and repairs. Refer to our article on air-source heat pump maintenance requirements for more information.

 

Can function as air conditioners: Air-source heat pumps can effectively heat your space and also efficiently cool it. Thus, they can act as independent air conditioning units during the summer.

 

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI): By installing an air-source heat pump, you may be eligible for government incentives and grants for renewable heat.

 

Replacement for traditional heating systems: If you want to replace outdated furnaces or boilers, an air-source heat pump is a good choice. Installation is straightforward, allowing you to start and run the new pump right away.

 

Long lifespan: The typical lifespan of an air-source heat pump is around 15 years. This is longer than traditional heating systems, which typically last for around ten years.

 

No need for fuel storage tanks: Air-source heat pumps do not rely on fuel storage tanks to generate heat. This is because they use outdoor air as their primary heat source rather than propane or oil.

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Disadvantages of air-source heat pumps

Despite the many advantages of air-source heat pumps, they also have some drawbacks.

 

One of their main disadvantages is the increased installation cost. While the cost will vary depending on your local market and current prices, you should expect to pay around $4,000 or more to install an air-source heat pump in your home, depending on specific circumstances.

 

Refer to our article on installation and operating costs of air-source heat pumps for more information.

 

Compared to traditional heating systems, air-source heat pumps extract and emit heat at a slower rate, so you may need to install more radiators or larger-sized radiators.

 

Therefore, homes using air-source heat pumps need to be adequately insulated to fully benefit from them; otherwise, the heat may quickly dissipate.

 

Air-source heat pumps also typically require new piping systems and upgraded water heaters.

 

Check out our full article on the pros and cons of air-source heat pumps here.

 

Can air-source heat pumps provide hot water?

Air-source heat pumps are primarily used for heating and cooling, but with the right setup, they can also be used to provide domestic hot water.

 

As mentioned earlier, air-source heat pumps extract and emit heat at a slower rate over time compared to traditional gas or oil appliances, so a hot water tank is usually paired with the air-source heat pump to ensure a steady supply of hot water at the desired temperature.

 

In summary, air-source heat pumps can indeed provide domestic hot water, but they need a hot water tank to store the heated water and ensure it is available when needed. The heat pump extracts heat from the outside air and transfers it to the water in the tank, which can then be used for various domestic purposes such as bathing, washing dishes, and more.

 

While air-source heat pumps have many advantages, including energy efficiency, environmental friendliness, and long lifespans, they also have some limitations, such as the need for a hot water tank and the slower rate of heat extraction compared to traditional heating systems.

 

To maximize the benefits of an air-source heat pump for domestic hot water, it is essential to have a well-insulated home to prevent heat loss and ensure efficient operation.

 

Overall, an air-source heat pump can be a valuable investment for individuals seeking a more sustainable and cost-effective heating and cooling solution for their homes, with the added benefit of providing hot water for daily needs. As technology and renewable energy sources continue to advance, heat pumps are likely to play an increasingly important role in creating more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient homes.

 

Further Reading:

Upgrade HVAC system with heat pump: https://www.shenlingglobal.com/blog/upgrade-your-home-heating-system-with-heat-pumps-benefits-costs-and-installation/

 

Explore effectiveness of heat pump: https://www.shenlingglobal.com/blog/exploring-the-effectiveness-of-air-source-heat-pumps-pros-considerations-and-efficiency-tips/

 

Running heat pump with solar panels: https://www.shenlingglobal.com/blog/can-you-run-a-heat-pump-with-solar-panels/

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