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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.

Types of Hot Water Systems & Their Benefits [VIDEO]

Posted on Monday, August 19, 2013

Types of Hot Water Systems Video Transcript:

Hi and welcome to better living with Gasworks.

In this episode we take look at one of the most important comfort functions in the home… the hot water system.

Having hot water available on demand is an essential daily requirement for showering, cleaning, washing and bathing. 

And it’s not until we are without it, that we really appreciate the value of a good hot water system.

Unfortunately, when a Hot water system fails, it’s usually without notice and, like so many of life’s inconveniences, at the worst possible time!!

The natural response for many of us is to fix the problem as quickly as possible, which often means simply replacing the unit with the same model or size, by the first plumber who can get there!

But ironically, this little in home disaster is actually a great opportunity to save yourself money and make your more home energy efficient if you take the time to seek expert advice on what type of system to install and whether it is right to suit your needs.

There are many different options to choose from including Electric, Gas or Solar, storage or instantaneous to name a few.

And your decision will depend on a range of factors including your budget, your energy use and the demand needs in your home.  

The traditional electric storage service heats the water, usually overnight, and then stores it ready for later use. With the rising price of electricity, this can be an expensive and inefficient option. 

Solar systems are the cheapest and most environmentally friendly to run as they harness the suns power to heat the water, although they still require an additional electric or gas back-up to take over when there is insufficient sunlight.

A key consideration in choosing Solar is the large up-front costs – although these will generally be recovered over time through reduced energy bills.

A Heat Pump System is another storage type system. Heat Pumps extract heat from the air or ground. They run on electricity and are about three times more efficient than the traditional electric storage system. 

The catch with heat pump is you need the right environment to make them work effectively.

Continuous flow gas systems are very popular and economical to run as they only heat water when it is required. Being continuous, they never run out and have the added advantage of being able to set the temperature of the water to suit the specific need. This is ideal where young children are present as it reduces the risk of burns and it also helps to maintain efficient energy use.

Amongst all of these options is a vast array of models, shapes, sizes, quality, warranty and of course cost.

So which one do you choose? Continuous flow is reliable and convenient, but what if you don’t have gas connected? Solar is a great option, but given the investment required you need to stay in that house for years to make it viable.

One of the best things you can do is take the time to speak with the hot water experts at your local Gasworks Store.

With years of experience in sales and installation, they know exactly what type of system will work better for you and is best suited to your needs and budget.

Or you can jump onto the Gas Works website where you’ll find loads of great information.

And one last piece of advice that could save you the heartache and inconvenience of being caught unaware.

Take the time to check your current unit.

If it is more than ten years old you might want to do some research now, so when the time comes to replace it, you’ll be fully prepared and know exactly what to do and who to see.

Thanks for watching, until next time, I’m Karen Prater for Better Living with Gasworks.

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