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Need Hot Water? How you Choose Hot Water System in your home can save you Money.
Water heating accounts for 25 per cent of the energy used in an average home and is responsible for 23 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions from home energy use.
Reducing your hot water use and using renewable energy sources to heat water are great ways to save money and reduce your environmental impact.
We have put together a quick overview of what you need to consider when you choose a hot water system for your home.
More Information: At the bottom of this plumbing article, are some Fact Sheets for you to download and print.
When you Choose Hot Water Systems for your home, there are generally two things you need to consider:
- Which type of Water Heater you want (Storage or Instantaneous)
- The Energy Source that will be used to heat the Water Heater
Choose from the 2 Types of Hot Water Systems
There are two basic types of water heater – storage systems and instantaneous (or continuous flow) systems. Each system can use a variety of energy sources to heat water.
1. Storage water heaters
Water is heated and stored in an insulated tank for use when it is required. These systems can operate on mains pressure or from a gravity feed (constant pressure) tank. Warranties offered for tanks typically range from five to 10 years. Hot water is stored in the tank, and heats up as it is used in the home.
To avoid running out of Hot Water, it is important that you choose the correct size hot water heater for your household usage.
2. Instantaneous water heaters
Instantaneous systems heat only the water required and do not use a storage tank. They can operate on natural gas, LPG or electricity. Because instantaneous systems heat the water as it is used, they cannot run out of hot water.
Instantaneous water heaters can be fitted with a temperature control, to set the desired water temperature at the point of use (eg in the shower).
Energy sources For Heating Water
Solar hot water systems are storage systems and, depending on your climate, can provide up to 90 per cent of your hot water for free using the sun’s energy. Solar hot water systems cost more to buy and install than other hot water
systems, but can save energy and reduce your bills.
To provide hot water on cloudy days or when demand exceeds supply, most solar water heaters come with a gas or electric booster
Natural gas water heaters generate far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than electric storage systems using mainland grid electricity. Gas storage systems have quicker heat recovery times and generally use a smaller tank than a comparable electric storage system.
Electricity can be used for standard storage water heaters, for heat pump systems or for boosting solar systems.
Electric storage water heaters – Standard electric storage water heaters use a heating element inside the tank to heat the water, just like an electric kettle
Electricity is not used to directly heat the water but to move the refrigerant around the system. This is why the electricity use is much lower than for storage systems.
Heat pumps work most efficiently in warm, humid climates.
How to Choose Hot Water System – What to Consider
Of the many different types of water heaters on the market, the best hot water system for your
home will depend on your situation. Consider the following:
Household size – The number of people living in your home and your water consumption patterns (ie whether you all shower at the same time of day; run the dishwasher, washing machine and bath at the same time) will determine the size of the system you need and help to identify the best system and energy source for your needs.
Cost – The purchase cost and operating costs of your hot water system both need to be considered. The energy used by your water heater will impact on your energy bill for years to come so consider carefully before buying.
Government rebates are also available on some energy efficient systems.
Space available – In existing homes it may not be possible to install some systems due to lack of space or a difficult layout.
Existing water heater – Some existing hot water systems can be easily converted to more sustainable types. For example, the best replacement for the old style ceiling mounted gravity service is often a roof-mounted solar
system, as plumbing usually requires minimal alteration.
Available energy sources – Your choice may also be limited by the available energy sources. Natural gas is not available in some areas and solar energy may not be ideal in cooler climates or shaded areas.
Government rebates may be available to assist with the purchase cost of heat pumps. Refer to www.livinggreener.gov.au/rebates-assistance for more information about rebates
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