Don’t be left without hot water! 

It happens to us all. Waking up on a cold winter’s morning and discovering the hot water system has gone on the blink. Or returning home from a camping trip and there’s no hot water to wash off the unmistakable smell of the great outdoors. There’s nothing worse than an unreliable hot water system! 

Don’t stress. We’ve got you covered. 

If you’re looking for a reliable, eco-friendly, and cost-effective way to heat your water, heat pump hot water systems are the answer. These innovative systems harness the power of ambient heat to provide your home with a steady supply of hot water while significantly reducing your energy bills. It’s a win! 

Get ready to embrace a greener, more sustainable lifestyle without compromising on comfort or convenience.  

What is a Heat Pump and How Do They Work?

Heat pumps function similarly to reverse-cycle air conditioners, but instead of heating the room, they heat water. These systems work by transferring heat from the room’s air to a water vessel, with a fan forcing air onto the evaporator’s blades.  

As a refrigerant flows through the evaporator, it absorbs the heat in the air and is compressed into a vapor, increasing the temperature and pressure. The heated vapor then passes through a heat exchanger, warming the water while cooling the refrigerant. Once the refrigerant has released all its heat, it reverts to its liquid state, and the cycle begins anew at the evaporator. 

This process is highly efficient, resulting in significant energy savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. 

Heat Pump operation

Key Components of a Heat Pump Hot Water System

There are four main components in a heat pump hot water system: 

  1. Compressor: The compressor’s job is to increase the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant (a special fluid that absorbs and releases heat) as it moves through the system. 
  1. Condenser: The condenser is where the refrigerant releases its heat to the water stored in the tank. As the refrigerant flows through the condenser coils, it transfers its heat to the water, causing it to warm up. 
  1. Evaporator: The evaporator acts like a sponge, absorbing heat from the surrounding air. As the refrigerant flows through the evaporator coils, it picks up heat from the air and gets ready to transfer it to the water. 
  1. Expansion Valve: The expansion valve reduces the pressure of the refrigerant before it enters the evaporator, allowing it to absorb more heat from the air. 

Types of Heat Pump Hot Water Systems

Heat pump hot water systems come in two primary types: integrated systems and split systems.  

Integrated Heat Pump Hot Water Systems

Rheem Heat Pump Integrated Hot Water System

Integrated heat pump hot water systems combine the heat pump and the storage tank into a single unit. The main components of an integrated system include: 

  • Tank: The storage tank holds the heated water. 
  • Compressor: The compressor raises the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant. 
  • Evaporator: The evaporator absorbs heat from the surrounding air, causing the refrigerant to evaporate. 
  • Condenser: The condenser releases the absorbed heat to the water in the storage tank. 

Performance and Suitability

Integrated systems are usually smaller than split systems, making them great for homes or businesses with limited room. They work well in moderate to warm climates, but their effectiveness may drop in colder climates. 

Integrated systems are best for homes or businesses that don’t use a lot of hot water, since they usually have smaller storage levels than split systems. However, bigger tanks are available for homes that need more hot water. 

Benefits of Integrated Systems

  • Compact design: Integrated systems save space by combining the heat pump and storage tank into a single unit. 
  • Simplified installation: With fewer components, integrated systems are easier and quicker to install. 
  • Lower upfront cost: Integrated systems are generally less expensive than split systems due to their simpler design. 

Split Heat Pump Hot Water Systems

Reclaim Heat Pump Hot Water System for Domestic applications

Split heat pump hot water systems separate the heat pump from the storage tank, with the heat pump usually located outside and the tank indoors. The main components of a split system include: 

  • Outdoor unit: This unit contains the compressor, evaporator, and condenser. 
  • Indoor unit: The indoor unit consists of the storage tank and any necessary controls. 

Performance and Suitability

Split systems offer greater flexibility in installation as the outdoor unit can be placed away from the indoor storage tank. This separation can lower the amount of noise inside the house and make better use of the room. 

Split systems work well in a variety of settings, including colder ones, because they can keep working even when the temperature outside drops. They are a great choice for homes or businesses that use a lot of hot water because they usually come with bigger storage tanks. 

Benefits of Split Systems

  • Flexible installation: Split systems allow for more options in placement, as the outdoor unit can be installed separately from the indoor storage tank. 
  • Better performance in colder climates: Split systems maintain efficiency even in colder temperatures, making them suitable for various environments. 
  • Larger storage capacity: Split systems often come with larger storage tanks, catering to properties with higher hot water demands. 

Air-source, Water-source, or Ground-source Water Systems 

Heat pumps can also vary based on the source they extract heat from. Though air-source heat pumps are the most commonly used, there are also water-source and ground-source heat pumps. 

1. Air-source Heat Pumps

Air-source heat pumps extract heat from the outside air, even when it’s cold. In warmer months, they can work in reverse for heat exchange, acting as air conditioners by removing heat from your home and transferring it outside. These heat pumps are relatively easy to install and work well for moderate climates like in Brisbane. 


  • Affordable and easy to install 
  • Fast rates of recovery to ensure consistent supply of hot water 
  • Energy-efficient compared to traditional heating and cooling systems 


  • Efficiency decreases as outdoor temperatures drop 
  • May require supplemental heating in colder climates. 

2. Water-source Heat Pumps

Water-source heat pumps use a body of water, such as a lake, pond, or well as their heat source. They work by circulating water through a loop, extracting heat from the water, and transferring it to your home or hot water system.  


  • Stable and consistent heat source
  • More energy-efficient than air-source heat pumps


  • Requires access to a suitable water source 
  • Higher installation costs compared to air-source heat pumps

3. Ground-source Heat Pumps (geothermal)

Ground-source heat pumps, also known as geothermal heat pumps, use the stable temperature of the earth as their heat source. They work by circulating a fluid through underground pipes, absorbing heat from the ground, and transferring it to your home or hot water system. These heat pumps are highly efficient and can provide both heating and cooling to homes. Common in European countries with very cold climates but less so in Australia. 


  • Highly energy-efficient, leading to significant cost savings over time 
  • Can provide both heating and cooling to homes 
  • Stable and consistent heat source, unaffected by outdoor temperatures 


  • Higher upfront installation costs 
  • Requires sufficient land for installing underground pipes 

Choosing the Right Heat Pump Hot Water System for Your Brisbane Property

When selecting a heat pump hot water heater, consider the following factors to help you make the best choice for your household: 

  1. Size: Choose a system with a storage tank that meets your household’s hot water needs. A professional from Salmon Plumbing can help you determine the right size based on the number of occupants, hot water usage patterns, and any specific requirements related to your home’s layout (e.g., long distances between bathrooms). 
  1. Energy efficiency: Look for a system with a high energy efficiency rating to maximise your long-term savings on energy bills. Consider the system’s Coefficient of Performance (CoP) and any energy star ratings to determine energy efficiency. 
  1. Climate suitability: Some heat pump hot water systems perform better in specific climates. In Brisbane, air source heat pumps are an excellent choice due to the warm weather. These systems can efficiently extract heat from the air even during mild winters, ensuring reliable hot water supply throughout the year. They’re not the only choice though, so ask us for further information. 
  1. Installation requirements: Consider the available space for installation, both indoors and outdoors, and ensure there’s adequate ventilation for the heat pump to operate efficiently. The location should also be easily accessible for maintenance and servicing. Keep in mind that outdoor installations may require additional protection from harsh weather conditions or potential damage by animals. 
  1. Rebates and incentives: Check if any rebates or incentives are available in your area to offset the initial cost of the water tank. These financial incentives can significantly lower the upfront cost, making it more affordable to invest in a heat pump hot water system. Be sure to research eligibility criteria and application processes for these programs, particularly if you live in an apartment or townhouse. As experienced local Master Plumbers, Salmon Plumbing will be able to provide details of all current hot water rebates and incentives that may apply to you.
  1. Brand reputation and warranty: Research brands – what is their reputation for quality, performance, and customer support? A reputable brand with a solid warranty can provide peace of mind and ensure you receive assistance if any issues arise with your heat pump system. 
  1. Noise levels: Due to improvements in technology, the noise levels are rarely a consideration in modern heat pumps. However, some heat pump hot water systems can generate low levels of noise during operation and comparisons can be made between the noise levels of different models and brands when making your decision. 
  1. Timers: Heat pumps with built-in timers integrate very well with PV solar electricity systems, maximising efficiency. 

By carefully considering these factors, you can make an informed decision and choose the perfect heat pump hot water system for your home and lifestyle. Salmon Plumbing’s team of professionals is always available to help guide you through this process and ensure you select the best option for your specific needs. 

Benefits of Heat Pump Hot Water Systems

Investing in a heat pump hot water system comes with several long-term benefits: 

  1. Energy savings: Heat pumps are more energy-efficient than traditional gas or electric heating systems, leading to lower energy bills. By transferring ambient heat rather than generating it, heat pumps can provide significant savings on energy consumption and the associated costs. 
  1. Eco-friendly: By using ambient heat instead of fossil fuels, heat pumps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a cleaner environment. This eco-friendly technology helps reduce your carbon footprint and promotes sustainable living practices. 
  1. Low maintenance: Heat pump hot water systems generally require less maintenance than natural gas or electric hot water systems. While periodic inspections and cleaning are necessary, heat pumps do not have burners or heating elements that require frequent servicing. As a result, they tend to have fewer breakdowns and lower maintenance costs over their lifespan. 
  1. Longevity: With proper care and maintenance, heat pump systems can last for 10-15 years, making them a sound long-term investment. Their durability and reliability ensure that you enjoy a consistent supply of hot water without the need for frequent replacements or repairs. 
  1. Quiet operation: Heat pump hot water systems often operate with minimal noise, providing a more peaceful and comfortable living environment. This feature is particularly beneficial if you have the heat pump installed close to bedrooms or living areas. 
  1. Adaptable to renewable energy sources: Heat pump systems can be integrated with solar panels or other renewable energy sources, further enhancing their energy efficiency and eco-friendliness.  

Common Traps to Avoid When Buying a Heat Pump Hot Water System

Choosing the wrong size

If you choose the wrong size heat pump system, it can change how your heat pump works. If your system is too small, it might not provide enough hot water for your family. Running out of hot water frequently will reduce the efficiency of your hot water system through higher energy requirements and can decrease the lifespan of the system. On the other hand, a system that is too big will use more energy than it needs to, which will raise the energy bill unnecessarily. 

To avoid this, talk to an industry professional. Salmon Plumbing can help you figure out what your needs are and suggest the right size heat pump system for your home. 

Ignoring energy efficiency ratings

Ratings for energy economy are important when choosing a heat pump system because they show how well the system turns energy into hot water. Choosing a cheaper system with a low energy efficiency rating may seem cost-effective in the short term, but higher energy usage leads to higher operating costs. What will that cost you in the long-term?  

Poor installation

Your heat pump system’s general performance and lifespan depends a lot on how well it was installed. Poor installation can result in sub-par performance, frequent break downs, and even damage to the system, costing you more money in repairs and replacements.  

To avoid this trap, always choose a reputable and experienced installer. Salmon Plumbing offer expert heat pump installation as well as ongoing support and maintenance, so you can be confident in your investment. 


Salmon Plumbing: Your Trusted Partner in Brisbane

At Salmon Plumbing, we offer expert advice and services that set us apart from other brands: 

  • Comprehensive installation process: We handle every aspect of the installation, including coordinating with electricians, to ensure a seamless experience. 
  • Rebate assistance: We can guide you through the rebate paperwork and help you maximise your savings. 
  • Tailored recommendations: Our team provides personalised advice based on your specific needs, such as household size, hot water usage patterns, and available space for installation. 
  • Brisbane climate expertise: We understand the unique climate in Brisbane and recommend heat pump systems that perform well in our local conditions. 
  • Extensive experience: With years of experience in the industry, Salmon Plumbing has the skills and expertise needed to handle various heat pump water heater installations. 
  • Personalised approach: We take pride in offering personalised services to our clients and understand that each property is unique and requires a customised solution.  
  • Comprehensive support: From initial consultation to post-installation, Salmon Plumbing provides comprehensive support throughout the entire process. 
  • Quality assurance: We carefully select and install only the best heat pump water heaters from reputable manufacturers, ensuring you receive a reliable, energy-efficient, and long-lasting solution. 

Choosing a heat pump hot water system is an important decision, but with Salmon Plumbing’s guidance and expertise, you can be confident in making the right choice.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: Can I install a heat pump hot water system in units or townhouses? 

Yes, you can install a heat pump hot water tank in units or townhouses. Salmon Plumbing is experienced in providing tailored solutions for various types of properties, including units and townhouses. We will assess your specific needs and recommend the best option for your property. 

Q: How difficult is it to file rebate paperwork, and does Salmon Plumbing help in any way? 

Filing rebate paperwork can be confusing, but don’t worry! Salmon Plumbing is here to help. We will provide you with all the necessary information and assistance needed to complete the rebate paperwork. Our team is knowledgeable about the available rebates for heat pump systems and will guide you through the process. 

Q: What factors in my house or area affect your approach to heat pump recommendations? 

Several factors can influence our heat pump recommendations such as the size and layout of your property, the number of people in your household, the availability of space for installation, and any noise restrictions in your neighbourhood. At Salmon Plumbing, we consider all these to provide you with the most suitable heat pump solution for your specific needs. 

Q: If I have solar power, how can I get the most out of both my solar system and heat pump? 

To maximise the benefits of both your solar power system and heat pump, Salmon Plumbing can help you design a setup that allows your heat pump to run primarily during the day when your solar panels are generating electricity. This way, you can make the most of your solar energy production while reducing your reliance on grid electricity. 

Q: If I have a Tesla battery, does that impact the value of the heat pump? 

Having a Tesla battery can enhance the value of your heat pump by allowing you to store excess solar energy generated during the day and use that stored energy to power your heat pump during off-peak hours. This setup can further reduce your reliance on grid electricity and lower your energy bills. Salmon Plumbing can help you integrate your heat pump with your Tesla battery for optimal performance.