Can I buy or convert to a heat pump hydronic system?

Can I buy or convert to a heat pump hydronic system?


Heat pump hydronics in Australia is possible but face a few challenges:

  1. It’s an expensive solution – unlike in Europe the systems and installation tend to be priced at a premium as a “luxury” system. Installing a system during a renovation may cost approx. $30k. 
  2. It can be hard to find a good, knowledgeable company which wants to install heat pump hydronics. Most hydronic companies in Australia just want to install gas boilers, which is what they’re familiar with.
  3. Efficiency is lower than good standard air-air heat pumps, i.e. reverse cycle air conditioners.


Converting from gas-powered to electric/solar powered hydronics can be tricky, because the water is heated to a different temperature, so all the radiators may need to be changed. There are also other considerations, such as whether the water running through the system contains anti-freeze, anti-rust, etc. 

Underfloor hydronics may require insulation under the concrete slab, as well as on the sides of the slab, as heat can radiate down and out of the sides. There is a lag to the space being warmed, while the slab itself heats up. 
In terms of using solar for hydronic heating, climate can come into it as well - if you are mainly heating during a cold, dark night, solar can't help you! That said, if it's a well-insulated home, you can potentially warm it during the afternoon and have the heating turned off after sunset. Some places, like Canberra, might be better suited to this - with their cold, clear days and higher solar radiation. 

The main advantage of hydronics is the “quality” of the heat as it’s radiant. But a similar result can be obtained in other ways, e.g. building or renovating to a PassivHaus standard.


    • Related Articles

    • Solar hot water or heat pump?

      Both heat pumps and solar hot water systems have low running costs. But if you’re looking for a hot water system, we recommend installing a heat pump for a number of reasons: Better use of your roof space - Solar hot water systems use up valuable ...
    • Should I Get an Integrated or a Split Heat Pump System?

      For most households, both systems result in similar economic and environmental benefits. So, choose whichever system fits best into the space in your home & property. Features Integrated Heat Pump System Split Heat Pump System Design Evaporator + fan ...
    • What's the best way to heat?

      There are several options when it comes to heating your home. You can choose from systems that are designed to heat your entire home, such as hydronic, ducted gas, ducted air conditioner, electric under-floor, to systems that are designed to heat a ...
    • Should I buy a second-hand solar system?

      - It is recommended not to buy a used solar system. - The only way it would make sense to use second hand solar panels is if you were paid to.  Because the “solar rebate1” which lowers the cost of rooftop solar by providing Small-scale Technology ...
    • Is a HWHP an environmentally friendly system?

      • Yes – 70% more environmentally friendly than traditional electric storage systems. Heat pumps decrease more than just your electricity bills. • If you switch to a heat pump from a traditional electric system, the pump can lower your hot water ...