Heat pump Water Heater or Electric Water Heater? 1

Heat pump Water Heater or Electric Water Heater ?


Heat pump water heater is a type of water heater that is currently popular throughout the world, including Indonesia. For the past 10 years, various brands of heat pump water heaters have begun to exist in Indonesia, with various advantages and levels of efficiency. And indeed the level of energy efficiency is one of the advantages of a heat pump water heater so that it has been widely applied for projects that require hot water in large volumes or small volumes in this case a home. In general we can see that the fact is for commercial projects such as hotels and hospitals that need more hot water to use a heat pump water heater. In Indonesia, the relatively high industrial electricity tariffs may be the reason for the procurement of water heater engines began to switch to many of the heat pump water heaters from previously conventional electric water heaters, boilers, LPG gas and etc. Besides the slogan to save energy in all fields make consumers consider and choose the most efficient type of water heater. Consumers certainly are familiar with conventional types of electric water heaters, both in terms of working principles and capabilities because this type is already there and there are many on the market. However, not all consumers at this time understand how and what is a heat pump water heater. Factors of relatively high prices or investment costs are often taken into consideration, whereas in our opinion if calculated between the investment costs and operational costs, the heat pump water heater is more appropriate than conventional water heaters. Especially if applied for commercial needs. When viewed at this time almost all water heater manufacturers have issued types of heat heater water heaters to compete in gaining market share in Indonesia in particular. However, the emergence of several brands of heat pump at this time can sometimes make consumers confused to determine which is better. The existence of several brands for heat pump in Indonesia at present will more or less help consumers in making their choices. Because of its logic, a heat pump with a product brand that has been circulating in Indonesia, automatically matters relating to warranty, service and spare parts will certainly be more guaranteed. Because in our opinion it is unlikely that a company that is well known will produce goods without the support of good service for its consumers.

In Indonesia, heat pump water heater came in around 12 years ago, you should also consider the installation factor, because the process of installing or installing a heat pump is slightly different from conventional electric water heaters, especially for commercial heat pump types. A heat pump water heater applicator that has a lot of experience or project references will certainly be a logical consideration for consumers to choose.


A. Definition of Heat pump Water Heater and Electric Water Heater

When going to choose a water heater for your home or business, surely you will choose a water heater system that not only provides adequate hot water but also has energy efficient performance and a good security system.

In this case we will compare the heat pump water heater with a conventional electric water heater based on our experience and existing references.

1. Electric Water Heater

Water heater by utilizing electricity as an energy source. So the logic is lower / smaller the ability of the heating component (element heater) then it will take longer for the heating process from the initial water temperature to the desired water temperature. If we choose an electric water heater with a large heater element, it must be adjusted to the electrical power capacity in your home.

There are 2 types of electric water heaters that are currently on the market, namely :

  • with a tank (storage tank)
  • without tank tankless

The principle works the same, but in terms of the speed of hot water production, the electric water heater with a storage tank is better. However, from the investment factor, the type of electric water heater without a tank is better.

Heat pump Water Heater or Electric Water Heater? 2

2. Heat pump Water heater

ENERGY STAR states that there is now a type of water heater that in principle transfers ambient heat to the water using a heat pump water heater system, using less than half the energy requirements of conventional electric water heater units. www.energystar.gov

There are several types of heat pump heater water heaters that are currently on the market, namely :

How to work the heat pump water heater you need to know, namely :

  • Air that is around the heat pump will be taken / inhaled by the evaporator component to enter the heat pump unit
  • The air that gets the temperature will be raised with a refrigerant component (freon) or a working fluid that is in the refrigerator, so that it will make the air inside it become higher / hotter
  • After the temperature of the air has risen, it will then be automatically flowed into cold water pipes that have been paired in the heat exchanger (HE)
  • Unmoved hot air will flow into the expansion valve so the temperature will drop before re-entering the evaporator and the cycle will repeat

This process makes heat pump 2 (two) to 4 (four) times more efficient than conventional electric water heaters, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).

Heat pump Water Heater or Electric Water Heater? 3

B. Considerations for the Selection of the Type of Water Heater

In our opinion there are some things you might need to consider before choosing between a heat pump water heater and an electric water heater, between :

a. Volume of Hot Water Need.

Can be calculated based on the number of hot water users from the water heater.

And as a reference the need for hot water for one shower is :

  • Shower: 50 liters / one adult shower
  • Standard bathtub: 100 liters / one adult shower
    (SNI 03-7065 of 2005 concerning Procedures for Plumbing Systems)

Then it can be calculated approximately the volume of hot water demand during Peak Demand Load (PDL).

The heat pump water heater with the need for the same volume of hot water and hot water temperature, the heat pump is superior to the electric water heater. This is caused by :

  • The relatively shorter heating time due to the heating capacity of the heat pump is 3 to 4 times that of the power input.
  • Efficient use of energy in the same volume and period.

b. Electric power available at your place

One of the differences between these two types of water heaters is the power input or power supply in producing hot water. Heat pump water heaters only require approximately 30% – 45% compared to electric water heaters. This is because in the heat pump water heater there is the term Coefficient Of Performance (COP), the amount of COP value is an indication of the value of the energy efficiency of the heat pump engine.

Sarah Widder, from DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory states that:

Heat pump water heaters can save energy up to 63% compared to conventional electric water heaters.

From this brief description, you will be able to easily draw conclusions about these two types of water heaters.

c. Cost Efficiency for Water Heaters

Savings in electricity costs and energy savings are also points that will definitely be considered in choosing the type of water heater.

According to www.energy.gov, that the average electric water heater accounts for an average of 18% of your electricity costs at home.

The famous Energy Star website survey in the article Consumers Affairs Research states :

If every household in the United States uses a heat pump water heater, energy cost savings would reach $ 8.2 billion per year, according to Energy Star. A heat pump water heater can save your home electricity bill with four members for around $ 330 per year.

From this description you can save on electricity bills for water heaters, in addition to that you also have done more or less the Energy Saving program which is slogan by the Government throughout the world.

d. Water Heater Investment Costs

Some consumers assume that the heat pump water heater is more expensive than an electric water heater.

The initial investment of a heat pump with an electric water heater is basically relative, because you have to logically compare the general matters as follows :

  • Equivalent capacity, is the tank capacity
  • Existing technological features
  • Water heater engine brands. The logic is less objective when comparing 2 brands of water heaters that already have a license with those who don’t have a license. Moreover, comparing 2 water heaters with different work systems.
  • Installation of the engine and its piping system may or may not be applied in your area
  • The service life (age) of the machine with the same conditions, there are several factors:

Water heaters for indoor are certainly not the same as water heaters for outdoor in terms of working life. So these two types are less objective if used as a comparison.

The working period of a water heater engine installed in a terrestrial area is certainly not the same as the working life of a water heater engine installed in a coastal area, due to air factors.

A water heater that operates in normal working hours with a water heater that operates longer working hours each day, of course, the two cannot be used as a comparison.

e. Maintenance / Maintenance / Service Water Heater by Technicians

Maintenance / service by related technicians, due to several events many outlets sell products to consumers with the promise of available after sales service. After the unit is installed, there is a problem where consumers are confused about where and where to go.

Returned to the outlet will be received and forwarded to the distributor and there is no relatively accurate time estimate. Because sometimes the unit must be sent out of town or waiting for a service queue.

Contacting a service center, not all products have a technician visit to the consumer program. Sometimes there can be a technician’s visit to a customer’s place, but there is a visit fee especially since the service center is located outside the city.

f. Safety Factor for Consumers / Users

The safety factor is important in the application of water heaters by using electric power because there are 2 things that are related, namely electricity and water. In electric water heaters definitely use the heating element as the main component, and there is the term wet heating element (elements that come in direct contact with water in the tank) or dry elements (elements that are not in direct contact with water in the tank).

For the heat pump water heater, the main process for producing hot water is not using a heating element, but using a compressor with a heat exchanger (HE) wrapped around the outside of the tank. Generally, in every domestic type heat pump machine is equipped with an element heater component, but only as a back up. Back up in the sense that it can be used if :

  • The main components of the heat pump are in maintenance / repair
  • When the demand for hot water exceeds its production capacity, so the compressor component and element heater are operated together.

From this description you can see the difference in the application of the element heater between the two types of water heaters contained in this article, which are related in terms of safety or security.


C. Conclusions


Under the same conditions for 1 ton of water with a rise in temperature from 15 ° C to 55 ° C.

Heat pump Water Heater or Electric Water Heater? 4

Savings and Paybacks for ENERGY STAR Heat Pump Water Heaters

Heat pump Water Heater or Electric Water Heater? 5