Hot Water Systems

January 30, 2014
Hot Water Systems

Whether your old Hot Water System has gone bust or you are looking to update your existing Hot Water System in your Bathroom Renovation, choosing the right Hot Water System is extremely important for both the environment and your wallet.

In Australia, hot water heating usually makes up 25% of typical household energy use.

So before you rush out to buy or replace your current model, it’s worth having a look over your current hot water system to see how much energy it uses and compare it with other models and makes on the market.

The three basic considerations for choosing a water heater are:

  • Fuel

  • Type

  • Size

Fuels

Electric:

Electric Water Heaters are currently used by half of Australia’s 8 million households.

An electric Water Heater used at any time during the day is the most expensive fuel option.

An off-peak electric water heater will save money, but is still not an entirely environmentally friendly option.

Currently, the Australian Government is phasing out “Greenhouse intensive electric hot water systems”. Electric Hot Water Heaters produce up to three times the greenhouse gas emissions of low emission technologies such as gas, solar and heat pump systems (courtesy http://ee.ret.gov.au/node/1130)

Restrictions are as follows:

  • Electric Hot Water Heaters can no longer be installed in any new detached, terrace or town house, or any existing property where there is access to piped natural gas.
  • From 2012 onwards, this phase out will be applicable to all existing detached, terrace or town houses.
  • If you currently have an Electric Hot Water system you won’t need to replace it, but in the future consider replacing it with either gas or solar.
  • Electric Hot Water systems are still available in instantaneous and storage options: the latter will save money by storing hot water during off-peak energy tarrif time periods.

Natural Gas:

Natural Gas is a much friendlier hot water heating fuel for the environment.

It is cheaper to run and is ideally suited for people who use a lot of hot water.

Many households though do not have access to Natural Gas pipework.

Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG):

LPG is a Natural Gas alternative.

Often referred to as bottled gas, this gas option can be up to 3 times more expensive than natural gas and electricity.

It is ideally suited for households that don’t require a lot of hot water, or do not have access to Natural Gas pipework.

Solar:

A Solar water heater is the greenest and friendliest option for the environment and your wallet.

Depending on your location, a solar water heater can provide 50-90 precent of your hot water needs.

Solar water heaters are available with instantaneous Gas and Electricity boosts.

A gas boosted solar heater will use 0.4 tonnes of GHG emissions a year as opposed to an electric water heater which produces up to 4.2

Types of Hot Water Heaters

  • Instantaneous Hot Water Heaters - Instantaneous Hot Water Heaters heat the water as you need it. As long as you have access to gas or electricity, you won’t run out of water.

  • Storage Hot Water Heaters - Storage Hot Water Heaters keeps a tank full of water heated between 60-70 degrees. When hot water is used, cold water enters from the bottom of the tank and is reheated. If you use more hot water in than the cold water can be heated up, you will run out of hot water.

Size

As a general rule, keep in mind how many showers, washing and dishwasher loads happen in your household daily.

Anything under 100L is ideal for a single or couple who do not use much hot water.

Anywhere from 150L upwards is more ideally suited for 2-6 people and depending on your hot water needs. A bigger litre tank such as a 350L for example, is suited for a big family who use plenty of water.

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