Tuesday 15th December 2020’s Clean Energy News topic is about how to choose the right hot water system for your home.
If you are building from scratch or replacing an ageing or broken hot water system you may be questioning how to choose the right hot water system for your unique circumstances. To make the best decision there are five main factors to consider – types of systems available, budget, number of people/size required, home design and efficiency. Considering the cost to most families for hot water is about a quarter of the power bill, making the right choice can save you considerable sums of money over the long term. Another factor to consider is that water heating is the largest source of green house gas emissions from most homes and right now the majority of hot water is from non-renewable gas. Reducing your hot water use and using renewable energy to provide your hot water are great ways to reduce your environmental impact and save money.
1. Types of Systems Available
The main types of hot water systems available in Australia are storage systems or continuous flow/instantaneous systems. Each of these types can be powered from different sources such as gas, electricity and solar.
Below is a list of systems you would generally see on the market:
gas (natural or LPG) — storage or instantaneous
solar — electric or gas (natural or LPG) boosted
electric — storage or instantaneous.
Heat pumps operate like a fridge or air conditioner but in reverse. They extract heat from the surrounding environment to heat the water and are by far the most efficient systems available.
Gas systems generally have a smaller tank, and are cheaper to buy than most systems but are expensive to run.
Solar hot water systems use roof mounted solar to heat water from the sun. The heated water flows into a storage tank and may be boosted with gas or electricity. These systems are expensive to buy but can provide up to 90% of your hot water for free and without greenhouse gas emissions.
Electric hot water systems heat up water just like the kettle in your kitchen. They can be powered from a solar system or from grid supplied electricity. When powered by the main grid, these systems are the most inefficient and they produce the most greenhouse gas emissions of any hot water system.
2. Budget considerations
When considering the cost of a system, it is important to consider both the upfront cost and the running and maintenance costs. The long term savings of a system may make it economically sensible to pay more now to experience the benefits later. Currently if you have a big roof and you don’t need to replace your hot water system, the best option is to get the biggest solar system you can and use a timer or diverter to ensure your hot water system is being heated during daylight hours. If you need to replace or are building so need to buy a new system to install, heat pumps are eligible for rebates that reduce the install cost and the reduce the amount of solar power required to run them, maximising the returns from your solar to other appliances and to your feed-in tariff.
Electric systems that are emission intensive are being phased out from most states in Australia. They are cheap to buy but expensive to run.
3. System size requirements
The number of people who live in a house and the types of appliances used determines the capacity and demand of your hot water system. Large households with access to a large roof space are best suited to a heat pump storage system or a solar powered electric storage system. If you can’t have solar, then a heat pump storage system on an economy tariff like tariff 33 will reduce your running costs for an already energy efficient system.
4. Home design factors
The size and design of your home will impact on the type of hot water system that will work for you. If you have limited space then a continuous flow system may be the best option as these systems do not use large storage tanks. Also, the installation should be located as close as possible to hot water taps in the home and if the water has to travel long distances to the taps, pipe insulation should be considered.
As discussed above, electric systems that are emission intensive are being phased out from most states in Australia. Gas systems are also emission intensive so if being environmentally sustainable is important to you then the options really are heat pumps, solar and electric systems powered by solar.
These five considerations are the main factors that will help you determine the right solution for your situation however; you may have other factors to consider that have not been covered above. If this is the case, we would be happy to help with personalised obligation-free advice. give one of our energy experts a call.
If you are interested in learning more about hot water systems, call one of our team of experts on 07 3387 3470 or book a call back here.
Join in the conversation and feel free to ask questions that you would like us to answer during the episode in the comments below.
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