The $33 hot water heat pump, fact or fiction?

Have you come across the promise of a $33 hot water heat pump installation?

Here’s the backstory.

When the state and federal governments started offering rebates for hot water heat pumps, manufacturers cottoned on quickly. Some decided to produce heat pumps as inexpensively as possible. Unfortunately, this often meant sacrificing quality.

Installers then saw an opportunity: if the product was cheap enough and they kept installation costs low, they could offer heat pumps practically for free. Why $33? Because that was the minimum co-payment required from households at the time.

Because they are offering the products at very low margins, installers who sell $33 hot water heat pumps are motivated to complete as many installations as possible, as quickly as possible. Many have no intention of ensuring quality or providing post-installation support. Some don’t even know how to properly install a heat pump.

This led to…

Shoddy installations

Poor installations aren’t just unsightly—they can be costly.

Your unit might fail within a few months, and the manufacturer might deny warranty coverage.

Your installer might vanish, ignoring your calls.

Even if installed correctly, the unit might not be suitable for your home, climate, or household needs.

You might miss out on the benefits of a hot water heat pump and end up with a cold shower headache instead.

Meme: Cold shower.

Worst case? You have to replace the unit with a new one, losing eligibility for government rebates.

The bottom line

Government incentives for hot water heat pumps are a great thing and absolutely should drive behaviour in the private sector. The problem is when these behaviours result in outcomes that go against the intention of the incentives.

Cheap products and poor installations undermine the financial and environmental benefits that quality units and installations provide.

Because of their history of poor performance and installation, we don’t recommend households get a $33 hot water heat pump. Read our guide on quality hot water heat pump brands in Australia.

If you want to know how much a quality hot water heat pump could cost for your house, get an instant cost, savings and rebates estimate.

This article is part of our series on hot water heat pumps. See all the other articles here.