The geyser is by far one of the biggest electricity guzzlers – in fact up to 70% of your home electivity usage can go to water heating. Installing a heat pump or solar water geyser can dramatically reduce your energy consumption, save you thousands of Rands over the years on your electricity bill and make a significant contribution to ‘greening’ your home or business. Furthermore, if you have plans to generate your own electricity by means of a solar PV system, you need to work towards getting your property ‘PV-ready’ and reducing your electricity usage – the geyser is a primary starting point.
There is no right or wrong answer and the decision depends on a number of important factors that a reputable supplier will take you through when conducting your needs analysis.
Solar water heaters use the radiation from the sun to generate heat. The size of the solar panel will determine how much energy can be collected from the sun. In our experience a high efficiency, properly sized solar system will typically provide up to a 40% – 50% saving on the energy required for hot water. It’s important to note that even if a high efficiency, properly sized solar water heater gives a saving of 50% on your water heating bill, this will not result in a 50% saving on your total electrical bill – unless the geyser is the only electrical device in your house.
Heat pumps work slightly differently. The heat pump uses a small amount of electricity to extract a lot of energy from the surrounding air. So a heat pump is also using the energy from the sun but only indirectly and it can work day and night. A heat pump will save around 75% on the electricity required to heat the water you use. A heat pump requires virtually no change to your lifestyle and routine as it is not limited by the availability of the sun for heating, however it can only work if there is an electricity supply. Heat pumps can work 24/7. The main advantage of a heat pump is the ability to re-heat a geyser a few times per day and that it can work day and night, rain or shine. However, remember that your heat pump uses electricity to heat your water.