Now that it’s creeping closer to those chilly winter months, a hot shower is a staple necessity for any home after a long day at work. To make sure that you aren’t left out in the cold – literally – it is always wise to ensure your hot water system is working to its full potential and is the correct size for your home. And, if the thought of cold showers is enough to give you a mighty scare and you are thinking it might be time for an upgrade, here are a few things to consider before upgrading or installing a new hot water system.
Hot water system types
The first thing to consider is types… what type of hot water system you need for your home? It can vary greatly, depending on your circumstances, needs and location, however, a few of the options that are available are listed below.
Electric hot water
An electric hot water system is usually the cheapest upfront cost, however the most expensive in the long term when it comes to running costs. Some systems have a tariff system, meaning that it heats your water in off-peak times to reduce your running costs, however, this water needs to last you all day… which can sometimes pose an issue when you’re the last one to hop into the shower at the end of the day. Also, if they aren’t powered by renewable energy sources like solar or wind, they are not great for the environment.
Gas hot water
Gas hot water systems are a great option for the environment, as they produce less greenhouse gas emissions and, although location dependent, can also have lower usage rates compared to an electric system. They are only really an option however if you are connected to a gas main – the use of gas bottles increases the costs immensely, as well as decreasing reliability. They are generally located outside though or are inside with a dependable exhaust vent to ensure everyone’s safety.
Solar hot water
A lot of people have heard of the benefits of solar hot water, and they are right. Solar can decrease your hot water system’s energy consumption by up to 90%, meaning a decrease in your electricity bills and a big tick when it comes to the environment. They are however the most expensive up front, with costs being double or even triple other hot water options when it comes to purchase and installation costs. They can also be a little touchy on overcast days, but most models have a backup gas or electric system to ensure you have enough hot water.
Heat pump hot water
Another option is a heat pump system, which is one of the most energy efficient (meaning less long term energy costs, as they are up to three times more efficient than most electric systems) however it is also one of the most expensive types of system to install. A heat pump hot water system relies on the heat from either the ground or air around it to heat water, meaning it really needs to be used in warmer climates to work effectively (ironically, it doesn’t do well in the cold!).
What about instantaneous vs storage?
The next thing to consider is instantaneous vs storage systems – which one? Each has its benefits, however depending on your home and needs one may be a more suitable option than the other.
Instant hot water
The first option is instant hot water, which is exactly that… a continuous system that does not store water, it heats the water as it is needed. Depending on your home, installation costs can be quite high (if a gas line needs to be installed or an upgrade to your home’s power capabilities) and, as these kinds of options are not connected to an off-peak tariff system, on-peak running costs can be quite high.
Storage hot water
The generally cheaper option and also very easy to install, a storage hot water system is a common choice however it is not that energy efficient. A lot of energy is used to ensure the stored water stays consistently at the right temperature, and it only holds a particular amount of water (which can run out!) and, when it is empty, it takes time to refill and heat again. Not ideal on a cold night!
Hot water system brands
Finally, brands – which brand is the best? Ultimately it comes down to individual circumstances, as a family of 4 are going to have varying needs to a working couple who are regularly away on business. In saying this, some brands do offer better system variety and energy efficiency than others.
Rheem is one of the most well-known and trusted brands when it comes to hot water systems, and for good reason. They manufacture a whole range of systems and are known for catering to a variety of needs, including solar storage, electric, gas, heat pump and gas continuous flow systems. The size of the systems greatly vary, and they also offer a selection of steel options for added durability. Rheem is known for their easy-to-use and reliable systems, as well as being great value for money and offering solid warranty services.
Rinnai is also a well-known hot water system brand, producing a range of both commercial and domestic system options including electric, solar and heat pump storage varieties. They have also created two lines of continuous gas water heaters – known as Hotflo and Rinnai Infinity – and provide a range of accessories to help you manage your usage, make your system look better or provide a little extra security. They are known for their reliability and value for money, and their systems are easy to use no matter the type.
Bosh offer both heat pump and electric storage systems, but they are more known for their patented ‘Optiflow’ technology, which is a component to their gas continuous hot water systems. It offers a Bluetooth connection so you can track your usage and check/change the water temp from your phone, and Bosch claims your hot water will be more responsive than with other systems. They are efficient systems with good value for money and decent warranty arrangements, however aren’t always the quietest of options!
Finally, Dux common hot water brand that offers an enormous variety of systems, including electric, gas, heat pump, gas continuous flow and solar boosted options. They have a large range of sizes however aren’t known to have the most effective systems out of all the available brands. Their gas continuous flow options do however have a 6.7-star energy efficiency rating, which is higher than most comparable systems currently available.
It ultimately depends on your household size and location as to what hot water system is best for your needs, however as a general rule :
- Rheem is one of the best brands of hot water system to purchase, as if offers reliability and effectiveness and is also reasonably priced compared to most other brands
- If your home gets a lot of sun and you are connected to a gas main line, a solar storage system with gas boosters would be an ideal option as it offers the lowest carbon footprint and has the lowest running costs
- If your home does not receive a lot of sunlight, a continuous flow gas system is the next most cost effective option (take a look at the 6.7 star Dux option!)
- Continuous systems ensure you will never run out of hot water, as opposed to storage systems which only hold a specified amount of hot water that can be used
- If possible, avoid electric systems as they have high running costs and are not great for the environment
- Remember, just because the upfront costs may be a little higher for some systems, does not mean that you won’t save money in the long term
If you have any questions regarding hot water systems, or think it might be time for an upgrade before the cold weather hits, contact us on 1300 667 332 or complete an online contact form today https://www.trendplumbing.com.au/contact-us/
Disclaimer : This information is general in nature and should not be read in isolation. Every household has varying hot water needs and you should ensure you speak to a qualified professional when considering any hot water systems for your home.