Hot water systems play a pivotal role in our daily lives, providing us with the warmth and comfort we crave when stepping into a shower or washing our dishes.
And if you’re anything like us, you’ll absolutely hate that feeling of a cold shower when your hot water system fails, breaks or runs out of puff!
Still, choosing the right hot water system can be a daunting task. In this article, we’ll whisk you through a journey ‘round the pros and cons of the four main types of hot water systems:
Gas (storage and instantaneous)
Electric (storage and instantaneous)
Solar hot water systems
Heat pump hot water systems.
So, grab yourself a cuppa and join us on a deep dive into the wonderful world of hot water. Let’s get going.
Factors to consider when choosing a hot water system
1. Initial installation cost vs long-term savings
Gas: Gas hot water systems typically have a higher upfront cost due to installation requirements and gas infrastructure. However, their lower operating costs can lead to long-term savings on energy bills.
Electric: Electric hot water systems are often more affordable to install but may have higher operational costs in the long run due to electricity prices.
Solar: Solar hot water systems have a higher initial cost due to the installation of solar panels and a storage tank. However, their reliance on free energy from the sun can result in significant long-term savings.
Heat pump: Heat pump hot water systems have moderate upfront costs, but their high energy efficiency can lead to considerable long-term savings.
2. Efficiency and energy consumption
Gas: Gas hot water systems are known for their high energy efficiency, resulting in lower gas consumption and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Electric: Electric hot water systems can have lower energy efficiency compared to other options, leading to higher electricity consumption and potentially increased carbon emissions.
Solar: Solar hot water systems harness renewable energy from the sun, making them highly efficient and environmentally friendly.
Heat pump: Heat pump hot water systems utilise ambient air temperature to heat the water, making them energy-efficient alternatives.
3. Reliability and performance
Gas: Gas hot water systems provide reliable and instantaneous hot water, ensuring a constant supply even during peak demand periods. Storage options may have limited hot water capacity.
Electric: Electric hot water systems offer consistent hot water supply but may have a slower recovery rate for storage systems.
Solar: Solar hot water systems can provide ample hot water in sunny climates but may require a backup heating source during cloudy periods or high demand.
Heat pump: Heat pump hot water systems are reliable and offer steady hot water supply, but their performance can be affected by ambient temperature and humidity.
4. Environmental impact
Gas: Gas hot water systems produce greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to environmental pollution.
Electric: Electric hot water systems rely on electricity, which may be sourced from fossil fuel power plants, leading to carbon emissions.
Solar: Solar hot water systems are the greenest option, utilising renewable energy and significantly reducing carbon emissions.
Heat pump: Heat pump hot water systems are energy-efficient, resulting in lower carbon footprint compared to traditional electric systems.
Now, let’s explore the pros and cons of each hot water system type.
Are gas hot water systems worth it?
Instant gratification: Gas instantaneous hot water systems provide hot water on demand (with instantaneous and storage setups both available), ensuring no more cold showers or waiting around for water to heat up.
Reliability: Gas hot water systems offer consistent hot water supply even during high-demand periods, making them ideal for larger households or families.
Energy efficiency: Some gas systems offer higher energy efficiency ratings, translating to potential cost savings and reduced environmental impact – however, it’s important to recognise that these are certainly not the most efficient systems on the market, nor are they beneficial to the environment (using up nasty fossil fuels to heat your hot water)
Upfront costs: Gas hot water systems require installation by licensed professionals and may involve additional infrastructure costs, making them a more substantial upfront investment.
Storage capacity: Gas storage systems have a limited hot water storage capacity, meaning that if the stored hot water runs out, you may need to wait for the system to heat up more water.
Are electric hot water systems worth it?
Affordability: Compared with other options, electric hot water systems are often more budget-friendly in terms of upfront costs.
Ease of installation: Electric systems are relatively easy to install, requiring minimal additional infrastructure.
Versatility: Electric hot water systems are available in both storage and instantaneous options, catering to different household needs.
Energy consumption: Even though they are some of the most popular hot water systems in Victorian homes, electric hot water systems tend to have higher energy consumption compared to gas, resulting in potentially higher electricity bills.
Slower recovery rate: Electric storage systems may have a slower recovery rate, meaning that if the hot water runs out, it can take some time for the tank to heat up new water.
Environmental impact: If the electricity source is predominantly from fossil fuel power plants, electric systems can contribute to carbon emissions.
Is solar hot water worth it?
Renewable energy: Solar hot water systems harness the power of the sun, providing a sustainable and environmentally friendly solution.
Long-term saving: Despite higher initial costs, solar systems can result in substantial long-term savings as they rely on free energy from the sun.
Reduced carbon footprint: By using renewable energy and steering away from nasty fossil fuels, solar hot water systems significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Initial investment: Solar hot water systems have higher upfront costs due to the installation of solar panels and a storage tank.
Weather dependence: Solar systems depend on sunlight, so cloudy or rainy weather can affect their performance. Backup heating sources may be required during periods of low solar radiation.
Are heat pump hot water systems worth it?
Energy efficiency: Heat pump hot water systems are highly energy-efficient, as they extract heat from the air and use it to heat the water.
Cost savings: The energy efficiency of heat pumps can lead to significant long-term savings on electricity bills.
Environmental friendliness: Heat pumps produce fewer carbon emissions compared to traditional electric systems, contributing to a greener future.
Integration: Heat pumps can also facilitate a number of other all-electric or energy-efficient facilities in the home including year-round hydronic heating/cooling
Ambient temperature sensitivity: The performance of heat pump systems can be affected by ambient temperature and humidity, resulting in reduced efficiency in extreme conditions.
Higher upfront cost: While heat pump hot water systems cost more to install upfront, the long-term savings are significant and the system is likely to pay itself off within a manageable number of years
Installation space: Heat pumps require adequate space for installation, including proper ventilation and clearance around the unit.
So – what’s the best hot water system?
As you’ve probably guessed, the answer lies in understanding your unique needs and preferences.
When choosing the best hot water system for you, it’s important to consider factors like budget, energy efficiency, convenience, and environmental impact – as well as how much hot water your household uses on a daily and weekly basis.
Are you a budget-conscious homeowner seeking upfront savings? A green warrior fighting for an impressive, all-electric home, huge bill savings and a better planet? Or are you, perhaps, a bit confused by all the options out there?
If you’re unsure where your priorities lie, working with a trusted, experienced hot water team like G Store will help you make the right decision that will save you precious money, time and energy for decades to come.