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Air to Water Heat Pump for Rural Home

14 September 2022

The owners of this residential house in rural Victoria were after a heating solution that would be economical, environmentally friendly, and above all, effective.

The town of Yendon is a small hamlet near Ballarat, and in winter the area can get down to temperatures as low as minus 4º! Owners Sarah and Justin had previously tried different heating systems including wood burning log fire, wheat furnace, diesel powered heating and split system fan forced. Whilst all had varying degrees of success, none provided an effective overall system, nor the required warmth. Over time none had proven cost effective either.

So with plans for a major renovation and extension, Sarah and Justin elected to try an electric air to water heat pump as heat source for a network of hydronic panel radiators and towel warmers placed throughout the home. As the building works included better quality insulation to the walls, floors and window glazing, builders Bocri Building and contractors Innovative Plumbing recommended the efficiency of an electric heat pump system to maximise this and to use renewable energy from the solar panel arrays and battery storage system installed on site.

Dom from Innovative Plumbing says typically air to water heat pumps are better suited to in-slab floor heating systems as they operate efficiently with the lower temperature of floor heating. However with the improved thermal efficiency of the building envelope and by using oversized radiators for greater output with a large 16kW heat pump the system was perfectly viable. The improved thermal qualities of the house worked in sync with the heat pump output to achieve optimal heating and toasty temperatures right through winter, with towel warmers in the bathrooms providing added luxury.

Sarah says the initial cost of the Heat Pump system caused some hesitancy as it cost more up front, but this immediately was overcome as soon as the heat pump was commissioned. The beautiful radiant warmth of hydronic radiators has to be felt to be believed, and the environmental credentials and efficiency was immediately evident. Justin and Sarah are now able to generate entirely their own power requirements, with the solar arrays and 35kW battery storage providing more electricity than needed and the excess being pumped back into the grid. Sarah states that her only regret is that they didn't move to hydronic heating years ago.

The system is controlled by thermostat and two seperate manifolds, one for the existing renovation and one for the extension. The two systems can operate independently or combined as one. A Rialto Wi-Fi Thermostat connects to a home automation system which can be controlled remotely. This automation system also monitors energy use which has enabled sparky husband Justin to see exactly how far ahead they are financially with the new system.

The ROI on the cost of the installation is way ahead of projections and with further solar arrays planned will remain cost positive for years to come. Sarah says that whilst the benefits are obvious, the simplicity of the system and the comfort of radiant heat would have been worth it even without this. It’s a hands off, simple system perfect for a young growing family.

Contractor: Innovative Plumbing & Drainage


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