Living a life of luxury means having the best of everything and for it to be available whenever you decide that you want it. It might not occur to many people, but this applies to something as apparently mundane as the hot water systems homeowners often take for granted. You can have the most luxurious marble bathroom with gold plated taps and fittings, but it somehow seems to lose its “luxury” tag if you decide to have a shower at four in the afternoon after a couple of rounds of golf, only to find that the water is lukewarm.

Luckily for us there is an answer to the problem of erratic water heating, and no – it’s not solar power. Solar power can be good, but there is something even better and that is a heat pump. Better still, a heat pump can supply constant hot water yet it doesn’t come with a luxury price tag, usually costing less than solar to install. It’s also about as environmentally friendly as you can get.

How Does A Heat Pump Work?
It is not really all that complicated. The unit has a fan which draws in warm air from the atmosphere around it and across an evaporator which contains a liquid refrigerant. The warmer air causes the liquid to convert to a gas which is then compressed in a compressor under very high pressure. This causes the gas to heat up considerably and it then passes into a heat exchanger where it gives up its heat to the water in the tank. The gas cools as it loses heat and returns to a liquid state whereupon it is pumped back to the evaporator ready to start work again. The process continues until all the water in the hot water tank reaches around 60 degrees C.

As long as the ambient air temperature is greater than the cold refrigerant the process will always work. There are some models that will actually work if the air temperature is zero or less.

Why Choose A Heat Pump?
Using a heat pump in hot water systems has a number of benefits. They are ground mounted, so there is no need for roof space or strengthening the roof and the installation is usually less expensive than solar. They will work in shaded situations where solar won’t. They will operate efficiently in most climates, but obviously the warmer the better. They use far less electricity than other hot water systems, the only requirement needed being that for the pump and the fan. In fact, if the air temperature is 15 degrees C the heat energy transferred to the water is usually around three times the electrical energy used by the pump and at 30 degrees C it is around five times.

Unlike solar systems, heat pumps can work in wet and cloudy weather, at night and at any time provided the air temperature is sufficient. In very cold climates it may be necessary to use an electric booster which will obviously increase the running cost, but it will still not be as much as conventional hot water systems.

So it can be seen that installing a heat pump will give you constant hot water on demand which, when you live the luxury lifestyle, is not just something to put on your wish list, but is a basic requirement. Luxury living, by definition, means having the best of everything without even having to think about how something works or how much it costs. With a heat pump you can literally set it and forget it – and you have the added benefit of knowing that you are doing your bit for the environment as well.