Heat pumps have several advantages over a hot water heating system. This guide briefly explains both systems and outlines the benefits heat pumps have over hot water heating.

How Heat Pumps and Hot Water Systems Work

A heat pump uses refrigerant to collect heat outside in the winter and pump it indoors, releasing it where it can be distributed through the duct work of the home with the use of an air handler.

A hot water system heats water in a boiler – still called boilers though most of those currently manufactured don’t heat water to the boiling point. The water is then pumped through pipes to radiant floor systems, baseboard panels with heat exchangers or units more like traditional radiators. The heat from the circulating water radiates into the room to warm it.

Heat Pumps Cost Less than Hot Water Systems

In most cases, the equipment and installation cost less. Heat pumps require an outdoor unit called a condensing unit and an indoor air handler that contains the coil. In existing homes, the ductwork is usually already present. In new home construction, duct work is fairly affordable to install. Retrofitting a home with a hot water heating system can be very expensive, especially if in-floor tubing is to be installed.

Heat Pumps Are More Efficient than Hot Water Systems

Heat pumps are currently the most efficient type of heating system readily available throughout the country. They produce lower utility bills than either hot water systems that are powered by electricity or gas/propane. The reason for this is that the refrigerant in a heat pump multiplies the efficiency of the electricity used. For example, in an electric hot water system, each unit of electricity can produce up to one unit of heating, but never more than one. Most gas-powered systems are only 80% to 90% efficient.

In a heat pump system, that same unit of electricity can produce 2.5 to 4.0 units of heating, depending on the efficiency of the heat pump. That’s like saying they are 250% to 400% efficient. Heat pumps don’t heat with electricity. They pump refrigerant with electricity and the refrigerant collects and carries heat.

Heat Pumps Cost Less to Repair than Hot Water Systems

Hot water systems can be very costly to repair when pipe needs to be replaced or a floor has to be torn up to get to a leak. In addition, when a water leak isn’t caught quickly, the water can cause very expensive damage to flooring, walls and anything else it contacts.

Heat Pumps Heat and Cool

A heat pump is a central air conditioner that does double duty by reversing the flow and action of the refrigerant. With a hot water system, you will need a separate system for cooling your home, usually requiring the use of duct work and an air handler.

Heat Pump Advantages Increase Their Popularity

As you can see, heat pumps offer many advantages over a hot water heating system. These reasons account for the rapid rise in the use of heat pump HVAC systems throughout the country.

Join the Discussion and Share Your Opinion!