Solar Geysers vs Heat Pumps

There is general consensus that all South Africans need to switch over to an alternative energy source to heat their geysers.

In the typical home, the geyser makes up 40 percent of the total electricity bill. With solar or heat pumps aiming to save homeowners 70 percent of their geyser spend, this can translate into about a 30 percent saving on their total electricity bill every month.

The problem facing most South Africans is which technology to go with. There are so many options when it comes to solar geysers and heat pumps, here we shares a few points that homeowners need to consider before making the choice between solar geysers and heat pumps…

Solar geysers

As most of us already know, a solar geyser uses the sun's energy to heat the geyser. Any solar water heating system is made up of two main components, the geyser and the solar collector. The solar collector is responsible for generating heat and the geyser’s function is to store that heat so that it can be used at the consumer’s convenience.

The most efficient configuration for a solar geyser is called a thermo siphon configuration - this setup means the geyser sits above the collector, usually on the roof, and the heat will rise naturally into the geyser.

If, for some reason, you can’t have the geyser on top of your roof then you can have the geyser sitting inside your ceiling and the panel on top of your roof. In this circumstance, homeowners can then make use of a pump to circulate the water between the geyser and collector.

Depending on a homeowners' usage habits, how big the family is and what hot water is used for, the estimated savings for households can add up to a potential of 22 percent on their total electricity bill, according to Eskom.

The main questions to ask when installing a solar geyser are whether or not the system is frost resistant and if the guarantee on the system is at least five years.

Heat pumps

A heat pump works like an inverse air conditioner. It takes heat particles from the atmosphere, compresses them, pumps them into your geyser and circulates the water round.

Heat pumps are efficient in how they use electricity and a 1kw input of electricity generally translates to a 4kw output of electricity. This means that the savings on your geyser spend will be similar to that of a solar geyser.

Aesthetically speaking, heat pumps look like air conditioners, so there is little resistance from consumers when placing a heat pump on the wall.

A heat pump is a better option for a family that is consuming hot water throughout the day or an office environment where the draw off is constant.

We believe both solar geysers and heat pumps are great options and the only certainty is that you should be investigating which one suits your lifestyle best.

Article adapted from Property 24

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