Has your current hot water system seen better days? If you’re considering replacing your old hot water system, you may wonder what your best options are. Here you can find everything you need to know, whether your hot water system failed, leaving you in a bind, or if you are looking ahead to make sure your home has the right hot water system to suit your needs.
Providing hot water to your household consumes quite a bit of energy. Water heating is the second largest source of energy use within the typical Australian household, coming in second to heating and cooling. In addition, Australian households consume approximately 25 percent of their energy heating water for bathroom, laundry and kitchen use. Therefore, an efficient hot water system can make all the difference to your electricity bills. Unfortunately, many older systems don’t meet minimum energy performance standards, so if you are looking for a new hot water system, this is a great way to reduce your quarterly bills.
Investing in the right hot water system for your home is the best way to reduce your energy costs and maximise your investment. Saving energy and money is possible when you choose an option that meets your family’s needs.
How much hot water does your household need?
The first step to finding your household’s perfect hot water system is determining how much hot water you need. There are a variety of hot water systems available. Typically, you can purchase a hot water system ranging from 25L to upwards of 400L. If you choose a system that’s too small, you’ll run out of hot water; if you choose one that’s too large, you’ll end up paying for water you don’t use.
Determining your hot water usage is pretty straightforward. Usually, one person uses 50L of hot water per day. Of course, this will be more if you have a family member prone to long, indulgent showers. Or if you often wash your clothing using a hot water cycle. If so, look for hot water systems with a larger capacity.
To get a more spot-on idea of the right hot water system for your household, your best bet will be to book a plumbing inspection with trained professionals like The Plumbing Gang.
Types of hot water systems
We all need hot water, but how we get it depends on the amount, budget, and preferences. Heat pump systems or solar hot water systems are a great choice for environmentally-conscious households. Whereas homeowners looking for low energy bills but some more reliability, natural gas hot water systems can be a great choice. Now that you know how much hot water you need, let’s look at each type of water heater on the market, its benefits and disadvantages, cost, and other factors.
Electric Hot Water Systems
Most homes have a standard electric hot water system. They are inexpensive to purchase and install and require an electrician to wire them to your home. Electric hot water systems have a heating element inside a tank, similar to your kettle. They are designed to heat and keep a large amount of water hot, so it is ready for use. Electric hot water systems come in various sizes to suit your needs, starting from 50L up to 250L. They can also be wired to a solar system to produce hot water sustainably. However, you will need to pay for the electricity required to heat the system during the night.
Gas Hot Water Systems
Gas hot water systems combust natural gas or LPG to heat water continuously in a large tank or on demand. Gas hot water systems are more responsive, can heat up faster, and be more energy efficient. However, gas water heaters have a more expensive installation process, as well, and cost money via a gas bill or replacing your gas tank. If you already have a gas connection, a gas hot water system may be a good option if your electric hot water impacts your energy bills. Gas storage systems require a constantly lit flame, which some people can be uncomfortable with for safety reasons. However, a new hot water system is extremely unlikely to cause a house fire. Gas systems have excellent energy efficiency and responsiveness. Still, they also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, so keep this in mind.
Solar Hot Water Systems
A Solar hot water system uses thermal heat from the sun, making them an environmentally friendly and inexpensive option. Solar hot water systems function by installing solar collectors (black plumbing) on your roof, which heat up drastically during the day. Despite their excellent energy efficiency, a solar hot water system has no running costs. Still, it comes with a higher upfront cost of installation. Solar water heaters also require a backup plan at night or during cloudy days.
Hot Water Pump Hot Water Systems
Heat pump hot water systems work like refrigerators or air conditioners but in reverse. Heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air, compress it and redirect it to heat a water tank. Like solar hot water systems, heat pumps offer improved energy efficiency and can help reduce your energy bills. However, heat pump hot water systems will only perform in cold climates if the outside air temperature is too cold to impact your hot water tank.
Storage vs instantaneous (continuous flow) hot water systems
Another factor to consider when purchasing a hot water system is whether you prefer a storage tank system or an instantaneous (continuous flow) water heater. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Most hot water systems work by heating a large amount of water held in a tank and keeping that water at a specific temperature until required. The hot water is then depleted with use and will run out when emptying the tank. This means you may run out if you need to use more water suddenly.
On the other hand, a continuous flow system or instantaneous hot water heaters work but heat the water instantaneously as it passes through the system. Therefore, instantaneous hot water systems are more energy efficient as they are only active when required unless storage tanks are constantly on. Continuous flow systems can come in natural gas systems or as electric instantaneous water heaters.
Can I access rebates or incentives?
Australian households looking to upgrade their hot water system may be able to receive several financial incentives, grants or rebates from both the federal and state governments. These incentives aim to reduce the cost of using more energy-efficient hot water systems such as solar hot water systems and heat pumps. Meanwhile, they help Aussie homes reduce their energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions.
- The Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES): The SRES is a federal government incentive that discounts households on small-scale renewable systems such as solar hot water, solar panels, heat pumps and more. This program is funded by selling small-scale technology certificates (STCs) to registered businesses, which are obligated to purchase a certain number to offset their carbon emissions.
- State and territory incentives: Each state government has different policies related to installing hot water systems. For example, Victorians can access the Victorian Energy Upgrades program, which provides rebates for installing a solar hot water system or a heat pump. These incentives are usually on top of federal programs.
It’s a good idea to research what grants are available to you when choosing a hot water system, as they can significantly reduce the total outlay of installing a hot water system. Check the eligibility requirements and application process for each incentive program as well as speak to a qualified and accredited installation partner to make sure you can get access to all incentives on offer.
What if I just need a repair?
If your hot water system is slowing down and presenting problems, it might not be the end of it together. Hot water systems can get clogged, rusted or just simply need a good clearing out. If that’s the case, The Plumbing Gang are here to help. We can get your hot water system back in shape in no time.
Need help installing a hot water system?
If you are looking to have a new hot water system installed, put your faith in some of the best plumbers in the business — The Plumbing Gang. We can help you to install your hot water system, ensuring a smooth-sailing process and steamy hot showers for a long time to come. Working across Brisbane, Logan and Ipswich.
If you have any questions about which hot water system is best for your home, or need any assistance with all things plumbing, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team.