Winter is coming. And what more painful way to realise this than a broken hot water system and cold showers for days?
Hot water is a crucial component of any household. In fact, a household’s hot water system is known to account for approximately 25% of total energy usage in Australian homes.
With this in mind, it’s important to recognise that replacing your hot water system with an energy-efficient alternative is a great place to start when investing in a more energy-efficient home. Consider which hot water system is the most efficient for your particular needs and circumstances will help you save huge amounts of energy and reduce your utility bills in the long run.
So – ready to take the plunge?
In this article, we’ll explore the different types of hot water systems available, the factors that make a hot water system efficient, and ultimately, which is the most efficient hot water system for Victorian homes.
What kinds of hot water systems are available?
There are several types of hot water systems available in Australia, including:
- Heat pump hot water systems
Gas hot water systems use natural gas or LPG to heat water, while electric hot water systems use electricity (generated by whatever source you have in place – solar, or otherwise). Both gas and electric hot water systems come in both “storage” and “instantaneous” models, terms that articulate whether or not the water is heating instantaneously (more energy-efficient and great for small homes or usage needs) or kept warm in a subsequent storage tank, ready for use (these systems require additional heating capacity to keep the water at a consistent temperature while in storage).
Quite obviously, solar hot water systems use the sun’s energy to heat water, while heat pump hot water systems use electricity to transfer heat from the surrounding air to the water.
Naturally, particular models are more efficient and environmentally-conscious than others. While legacy electric and gas systems are some of the most commonly found hot water systems in Victorian homes, they are certainly far from the most efficient.
What factors make a hot water system efficient?
Several factors can affect the efficiency of a hot water system, including:
- The type of fuel used (e.g. natural gas or solar)
- The insulation of the storage tank
- The size of the hot water system
- The quality and reliability of the specific system you choose
Naturally, when looking for a new hot water system you’ll also need to consider things such as:
- Size of the household and water usage requirements
- Climate and available energy sources in the area
- The upfront cost of the system and ongoing maintenance expenses
- Energy efficiency and potential cost savings on energy bills
- Environmental impact and sustainability of the system
- The lifespan and warranty of the system
- Ease of installation and compatibility with existing plumbing and electrical systems
- Available rebates, incentives, and financing options
- Safety features and compliance with relevant regulations and standards
- Noise level and visual impact of the system on the property
And while the “best hot water system” for you is unlikely to be the same as the person next to you, considering a system’s efficiency is one of the factors most commonly underrated by all homeowners choosing to switch out their old system for something of vastly higher quality.
Which is the most efficient hot water system?
According to the Clean Energy Council, the most efficient hot water systems for Australian homes are solar hot water systems and heat pump-facilitated hot water systems.
Solar hot water systems use solar collectors to capture the sun’s energy and heat water, while heat pump hot water systems transfer heat from the surrounding air to the water. Both of these systems are highly efficient, as they use renewable energy sources to heat water and can significantly reduce energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions.
On one hand, solar hot water systems have the potential to save households up to $800 per year on their energy bills. These systems are highly effective in Victoria, where there is generally an abundance of sunlight throughout the year. What’s more, solar hot water systems have a longer lifespan than other hot water systems, with an average lifespan of 20 years if properly serviced and maintained.
Heat pump hot water systems are also highly efficient, with the potential to save households up to $600 per year on their energy bills, plus even more if you pair a heat pump-facilitated system with a new solar PV panel system with battery storage.
Heat pump hot water works by extracting heat from the air outside and using it to heat water, making them highly efficient even in cooler climates. Heat pump hot water systems are also relatively easy to install and maintain, with low operating costs compared to gas or electric hot water systems.
Which hot water system is cheaper to install?
…and therein lies one of the greatest challenges facing customers looking to replace their existing hot water system: short-term cost vs. long-term value and savings.
When choosing a hot water system, it’s vastly important to consider the balance between short-term costs and long-term value and savings. While some hot water systems may have a lower upfront cost, they may be less energy-efficient and have higher ongoing maintenance expenses, resulting in higher long-term costs.
On the other hand, investing in a higher-quality, more energy-efficient system may have a higher upfront cost but result in significant cost savings on energy bills over the life of the system.
Therefore, it’s absolutely essential to consider the overall value and savings that a hot water system can provide over time rather than just focusing on the initial cost. Work this way and you’ll have the option of increasing the overall value of your home in the long-term, as well as enjoying incredible savings on bills, resources, and more.
Still wondering which hot water system is right for you?
With over 15 years of expertise in the art of energy-efficient hot water systems, we’ve got the solution for your specific needs and interests.