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In the know

Heat pump or solar – what’s the difference?

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.  Unfortunately though, we often see clients who have called us in to help them after they have been fobbed off with a system that is not ideal for their needs, simply because their original supplier only offered one specific technology and their sales person did a great number on them.  The result is often insufficient hot water and a poor realization on electricity savings, and an unhappy client.

  • 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 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 2/3 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.

Heat pump

How do I know if a solar system or heat pump is better for my needs?

The volume of hot water usage will determine whether a heat pump or solar will work better for you – remembering that solar is limited to sunlight hours, so if you drain your geyser at night, it will need to kick back to electricity to re-heat your water so that you don’t have a cold shower in the morning.

Both solar and heat pump technologies have vast energy efficiency and environmental benefits and are complementary technologies on saving energy. Your choice will depend on the capital you have available for the initial purchase, the projected savings and thus payback period you require, your motivation for updating your method of heating water, your usage as well as the site and technical aspects of the installation. Consulting with a reputable supplier that is able to offer you a range of products across both heat pumps and solar systems will help you to weigh up the alternatives and make the right choice.

With so many new products on the market with varying levels of quality, performance, technical expertise and installation experience, its often very difficult for a consumer to know what the right system is for their needs, and whether they are dealing with a reputable installer who will not only give them a thorough assessment of the right system for their needs, but also provide the after-sales service, support and product warranties that they need.  One Energy is a national franchise group of over 30 branches which is growing rapidly based on the quality of solutions, technical back-up, installation methodologies, full maintenance plans and very competitive finance options for clients who don’t have the capital upfront.

Get a service plan and extended five year warranty

One Energy’s Heatsure maintenance plan means you’re covered for your annual service inspection to ensure your extended 5-year warranty at no extra cost, you have access to a 24-hour response time in the event of any loss of efficiency of the system at no extra charge for any parts covered under the warranty, and you will have the benefit of a planned and controlled service plan to ensure maximum savings.

Get the service and quality you deserve

Call us today and find out how we can assist you to dramatically reduce your electricity costs, significantly reduce your impact on the environment and put your hard-earned money to good use on more important things!  For every month that you delay, you’re wasting thousands of Rands that you could be putting back in your pocket every month.

PS:  It’s really important to use a reputable supplier with a national network, proven workmanship, quality products, skilled installation professionals and a full service and maintenance offering to keep your system working at optimal level – and that you know is going to be around for years to come. Beware of cheap systems and questionable installation methods – they will leave you disappointed with inferior savings results and more often than not, cold water and no back-up.  Service and quality really does matter when it comes to having hot water 24/7. Most of all, you want to be sure that your supplier complies with industry regulations, that your installation is 100% safe, sound and optimised for your needs, and that your supplier will be around for years to come to fulfill on warranties and servicing requirements of your unit.