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Choosing a hot water system

Posted on Thursday, April 17, 2014

Water heaters tend to finish their life abruptly and not only are they a sizeable investment initially, they also account for around a quarter of a typical household's energy use. So, it is worth taking the time to think about the solution you would like to move on with when it is time to replace your current hot water system.

If you are looking to replace a hot water system and you have gas, your options are; continuous flow hot water, gas storage or gas boosted solar. If you are looking for a solution that doesn’t require a gas connection your options are; heat pump, electric boosted solar or electric storage.

Hot water systems have a life span of approximately ten years. If you are nearing the ten year mark or building a new home, review your hot water usage before you start to look around for a replacement solution. Below we have detailed what the different systems do, the costs associated, their energy efficiency and environmental impact.

Heat pump hot water system

This is an much more efficient way to heat water than a standard electric storage hot water system. Heat pump systems work similarly to a refrigerator, extracting heat from the atmosphere using a refrigerant gas and a compressor, then storing it until it is required.

Purchase cost: Medium/High
Installation cost: Medium
Ongoing cost: Medium
Energy efficiency: High
Environmental impact: Low/Medium

Gas boosted solar hot water system

Solar hot water systems harness the suns energy to heat water, they are very environmentally friendly but all need a booster for days on low sunlight.

Purchase cost: High
Installation cost: High
Ongoing cost: Low
Energy efficiency: 5 star
Environmental impact: Low

Electric boosted solar hot water system

Solar hot water systems are the cheapest to run but the investment to have them installed is greater, meaning you need to have them for a while to see a return on investment.

Purchase cost: High
Installation cost:High
Ongoing cost: Low/Medium
Energy efficiency: 5 star
Environmental impact: Medium

Continuous flow hot water systems

Continuous flow hot water systems make sense as they only heat water as it is required, meaning you only pay for the hot water you use. 

Purchase cost: Medium
Installation cost: Medium
Running costs: Low/Medium
Energy efficiency: 5 - 7 stars
Environmental impact: Low/Medium

Gas storage hot water system

This system stores hot water ready for use, a 5 star plus rating is the best option in this range. The lower rating units are less upfront cost but much less efficient. 

Purchase cost: Medium
Installation cost: Low
Running costs: Low/Medium
Energy efficiency: 5.5 stars
Environmental impact: Medium

Electric storage hot water system

An element heats the water and it is stored, ready for use in this hot water system.

Purchase cost: Low
Installation cost: Low
Running costs: High
Energy efficiency: 5 star
Environmental impact: High

You can also watch our video about hot water systems here, or pop into your local Gas Works store to find out more about the right hot water solution for you.



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