Can a Heat Pump Heat Water for a Whole House?

September 8, 2021

Mitchel Plumbing Gas

Can a Heat Pump Heat Water for a Whole House?

The question of whether a heat pump can provide enough hot water for an entire house is a common one among Brisbane homeowners. With the increasing shift towards sustainable living, heat pump technology has come under the spotlight for its potential to offer an energy-efficient alternative to traditional water heating methods. At Mitchell Plumbing and Gas, we're committed to providing detailed, analytical insights into how heat pump systems can serve your whole-house water heating needs.

Heat Pump Capacity and Efficiency

Heat pumps work by extracting heat from the air and using it to heat water, a process that is significantly more energy-efficient than traditional gas or electric water heaters. In Brisbane, where the climate is conducive to heat pump operation year-round, these systems can operate with a coefficient of performance (COP) of between 3 and 5. This means that for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity used, the heat pump can produce between 3 to 5 kWh of heat energy.

To heat water for an entire house, the heat pump's capacity must align with the household's demand. The average daily hot water usage per person is about 50 liters. For a family of four, a heat pump water heater with a capacity of at least 300 liters would typically suffice, considering daily usage and the recovery rate.

Comparative Analysis: Heat Pump vs. Gas Water Heaters

When deciding whether to replace your gas water heater with a heat pump, it's important to consider the efficiency gains. Gas water heaters have an energy factor (EF) of around 0.5 to 0.7, meaning that they convert 50-70% of the energy they consume into hot water. In contrast, heat pump water heaters can convert up to 300-500% of the energy they consume into hot water, thanks to their higher COP.

Cost and Energy Savings

The initial installation cost of a heat pump system is higher than that of a traditional gas water heater. However, the operating costs of heat pumps are significantly lower. In Brisbane, where electricity prices might average around 25 cents per kWh, a heat pump water heater could cost less than half as much to operate as a gas water heater. Over time, these savings can amount to thousands of dollars, with payback periods that can be as short as two to four years, depending on usage patterns and system efficiency.

Impact on Property Value

Installing a heat pump can potentially add value to a house due to the growing demand for energy-efficient homes. While exact figures vary, some estimates suggest that for every dollar saved on annual energy costs, the value of a home increases by $20 to $25.

Supply Reliability

A concern for some may be the reliability of hot water supply. Heat pumps are equipped with storage tanks similar to conventional water heaters, ensuring that hot water is available when needed. Even during peak times, a properly sized heat pump system should not run out of hot water, provided it is correctly specified for the household's needs.

Lifespan of Heat Pumps

The longevity of a heat pump is another consideration. While traditional water heaters typically last 10 to 15 years, heat pumps can last up to 15 years or more, with some manufacturers offering warranties for up to 10 years, signaling confidence in the longevity of their products.

Noise Considerations

Modern heat pump water heaters are designed to be quiet, but they do generate some noise during operation. The level of noise can be compared to that of a modern refrigerator. When customers inquire, are heat pump hot water systems noisy, we provide them with data indicating that the sound level is typically between 40 to 60 decibels, which is considered acceptable for residential environments.

Expert Installation in Brisbane

For Brisbane residents, the installation of a heat pump system should be carried out by licensed professionals like those at Mitchell Plumbing and Gas. Proper installation is key to ensuring the system operates at peak efficiency and provides sufficient hot water for the entire household.


In summary, heat pump water heaters are more than capable of providing hot water for an entire house, and they offer a host of benefits over traditional gas water heaters. They are energy-efficient, can lead to significant cost savings, and may increase the value of your property. With the right size and installation, a heat pump system is a smart investment for Brisbane homeowners seeking a reliable and sustainable hot water solution.

For personalized advice and installation services, Mitchell Plumbing and Gas is at your service, ready to ensure that your home enjoys efficient and reliable hot water year-round.

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