What is the “right” hot water system?
And does “right” differ from person to person?
If your answer to this question is yes, you’d be on the right track. Here’s why.
When it comes to buying a hot water system, there are several factors to consider, including efficiency, upfront/long-term cost, sustainability, and the impact of your particular needs, context and requirements on the system you choose.
In this article, we’ll take a close look at the kinds of systems most popular in Victorian homes, as well as those that are quickly becoming a favourite of home-owners looking to increase their energy-efficiency and reduce overall costs.
We’ll arrange our tips in steps, so you can digest our expertise in bite-sized chunks, ready to apply whenever you choose!
Let’s begin with one of the most common questions our award-winning Hot Water team is asked:
What types of hot water systems are available?
In short, four main types of hot water systems are available on the market today:
- Gas hot water systems
- Electric hot water systems
- Solar hot water systems, and
- Heat pump hot water systems
There are two main types of both gas and electric hot water systems: storage, and instantaneous. In essence, both of these hot water system options heat the water in the same way: electricity is sent through an electric element which generates heat. In turn, this heats the hot water stored in the unit.
But what’s the difference between electric storage and instantaneous systems?
The most common hot water system in Victoria tends to be electric storage systems. These work by heating an entire tank of hot water, then storing it in the system’s associated water tank until it’s needed.
Instantaneous systems, on the other hand, use a much higher-powered element to heat water when it’s needed – aka “on demand”. Since the water is only heated when needed, no heat is lost through the tank walls.
If you have a small house or holiday dwelling, instantaneous systems can be a great solution. Otherwise, we tend to recommend a storage system.
Solar hot water was once seen as the single-most efficient and environmentally friendly way of heating your home’s hot water. However, since the time when this thinking was dominant, heat pump hot water systems have most certainly taken over as the preferred option for efficiency.
Hot water heat pumps work like a fridge, but in reverse: hot air is collected by a refrigerant, sent through the system, then passed into the water storage tank.
What’s most impressive about heat pumps is their incredible efficiency. Standard electric heating has around 100% efficiency – this means that it takes 1kW of electricity to create 1kW of heat energy. The highest quality heat pumps, such as those stocked by G Store, average around 500% efficiency – a huge saving!
Want to learn more about the different kinds of hot water systems available? Visit this article at our Learning Centre.
Let’s now consider some of our Hot Water team’s top tips on making sure you pick the hot water system that’s right for your specific needs.
TIP 1: Assess your hot water needs
The first step in choosing the most efficient hot water system is to assess your hot water needs.
You might like to consider factors such as the number of people in your household, the size of your home, and your preferred water temperature. Other considerations like when in the day your peak time(s) of usage is will help your Hot Water team deliver on a range of options to suit your requirements.
Importantly, your peak time(s) of usages (as well as the average amount of hot water you/your household uses each day) will help you determine the size, output and storage requirements of the hot water system you choose.
TIP 2: Consider energy efficiency
The energy efficiency of a hot water system is measured by its energy factor (EF) or coefficient of performance (CoP).
Essentially, the higher the EF or CoP, the more efficient the system. Systems with a high EF or CoP will use less energy to heat the same amount of water, generally resulting in lower energy bills and a reduced environmental impact.
TIP 3: Investigate solar hot water options
Solar hot water systems are among the most efficient hot water systems available, as they use free energy from the sun to heat water. According to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), solar hot water systems can have an EF of up to 90%, and can reduce household greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%.
TIP 4: Investigate heat pump hot water system options
As we’ve already mentioned, heat pump systems are also a highly efficient option – perhaps the best on the market today.
They work by extracting heat from the air or ground to heat water, which is much more efficient than generating heat directly. According to ARENA, heat pump systems can have a CoP of up to 4, meaning that they can produce 4 units of heat for every unit of electricity consumed.
TIP 5: Compare investment vs. cost
While efficiency is no doubt important, it’s also crucial to consider the costs of different hot water systems.
But make sure you take a long-term mindset: is it really a “cost”, or a longer term “investment”? There’s a difference!
Our team can help you compare the upfront and long-term investment levels of different systems, including the cost of installation, running costs, and potential savings on energy bills. Remember that it’s worth checking for any government rebates or incentives that may be available to help offset the costs of a new hot water system.
Our award-winning team can also help you assess which incredible incentives you’re eligible for – just give us an obligation-free call today on 1300 766 940!
Got an old, broken or failing hot water system? Don’t leave it to the last minute to make a call on what to do next.