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Critical Review - Enviroheat 200/250L Heat Pump Electric Hot Water System

Enviroheat and soon to be rebranded Envirosun by Envirogroup is slowly becoming a recognized household name but their heat pump is far from a backyard designed single run Chinese import. Produced by Haier the world's largest whitegoods manufacturer churning out over $20 billion per year in sales for the likes a Fisher and Paykel, you know it's not their first rodeo. In fact, the unit may be a relative newcomer to Australia they have been a European staple for a number of years now.

The Enviroheat Heat Pump is available in two sizes. A 200L system suitable for 3-4 people coming in under 1700mm for those tight eave heights and a larger 250L system suitable for 4-5 people and scratching in just under 2m. Both are charged with a R134a gas squashed through the super reliable Hitachi Highly compressor, a brand we are sure you relate quality to.

Feature packed with a smart boost function for when the family comes to stay, antifreeze and overheat protection, micro-channel condenser for fast and efficient heat transfer, two anodes for extended rust protection and a base heat exchanger for maximum hot water, that's not where the features stop. A relative game changer in the running and installation cost is the ability to not only plug the unit in to a standard 10amp plug so retrofitting from a gas continuous flow is a super cost-effective option but the unit also has built in timer functions. The ability to run multiple timer options with your Enviroheat Heat Pump gives you the ability to run it while your solar is most effective and run the unit when the air temperature is at its warmest increasing efficiency and reducing running costs. The timer and control board access though is slightly inconvenient requiring a screwdriver to remove the front panel and the screen brightness with the sun behind isn't the easiest to see, sometimes requiring a bit of artificial shade. The way the Rheem Ambiheat has a magnetic front cover is a huge improvement and would be a great addition to the Enviroheat range.

With a 10amp plug, timer and solar option built in the back pocket is where the Enviroheat Heat Pump helps out the most. Converting from a continuous flow unit and not needing a new circuit and no timer install in the board will not just save you upwards of $700 on the upfront installation cost but if you were a family of four converting from the ever more expensive LPG and using your roof solar to help power the unit you would save on average $1250 a year on your hot water bill.

The ability to install the Enviroheat 200 or 250L internally is an added bonus with the ducting kit, but we would recommend with the added cost and unsightliness of ducting, safe trays etc, its often cheaper to install the unit externally. Where externally isn't an option it's still a great and long-term cost-effective option for an internal installation.

Noise wise the Enviroheat 200L and 250L are both one of the better performers and though the figures come out of a lab and cannot be replicated in the real world, we cannot see Envirogroups claim of 46dBa as being inaccurate. It's not a high-pitched fan noise and the compressor isn't overly drowning. With the ability to run the unit and on a timer nighttime noise isn't an issue and we would personally not have an issue with it anyway as it is very comparable to a high-end small air-conditioner.

Build quality seems well done and consistent with every unit. Both of the Enviroheat Heat Pumps have consistent coloring, fitment on panels, button pressures, response times and noise levels across the now hundreds of systems we have installed, which is a sign of a well built and designed system. On the poorer performing and less reliable systems panel gapping and connection locations do vary and is a telltale sign of things to come. Something that so far and as far as we expect won't be an issue with the Enviroheat range. 

These units for their size are relatively light and up to 30% lighter than say a Rheem Ambiheat for the 250L Enviroheat makes transport and fitting the unit a lot easier, but you can tell the quality and softness of the external casing isn't that of say a Stiebel Eltron. The casing though is external and mainly cosmetic and doesn't affect the internal performance and reliability. It does make you question though how it's that much lighter. Are the internals just higher quality and requiring less density or is there just less of it, we don't know but the unit does now come with a 7-year cylinder warranty along with 5-year compressor and 2-year parts and labor which is on the longer side for a heat pump.

Price as always is a huge factor when installing a new heat pump and both the Enviroheat units are extremely well priced as Envirogroup is happy to deal directly with the installer and not just through a wholesaler adding margin, secondary storage and double the transport. From as little as $2349 installed for the Enviroheat 200L and $2649 for the Enviroheat 250L (at time of article) after STC removal they are not a big jump from say a Rheem Stellar 250L electric coming in at just under $2000 and 300% more expensive to run

The big question. Would we install an Envioheat Heat Pump in our own home? Most definitely and for a number of reasons but the biggest one is cost. If you take into account factors such as no new circuit when converting from a continuous flow system, no extra timer is you wanted to run the unit in line with your solar, no middle man adding a cut the base install compared to some of the more high end units can well exceed $1000. Couple that with a long warranty, low noise and adaptability it would be high on our list if we had a few less mouths to feed in the house. So unfortunately for Enviroheat we have a Stiebel Eltron WWK302H installed which is also an exceptional unit. (Review to come)