Electric vs Gas vs Solar Hot Water Systems
Hot Water System Guide
FIND OUT WHICH HOT WATER SYSTEM SUITS YOU BEST
One of the biggest culprits for energy consumption in the home is water heating, which can account for around 30% of total energy use.
Water-efficient appliances are a step in the right direction to reduce energy use, but the best energy reductions are found in homes that have a hot water system that suits the exact needs of the people living in the house.
In this article:
- Electric Hot Water Systems
- Gas Hot Water Systems
- Solar Hot Water Systems
- What You Need To Know
ELECTRIC HOT WATER SYSTEMS
Electric hot water systems are relatively cheap to install and heat water using an electric-powered element that sits below the water tank. Installation generally takes no more than three hours and the system will either run using on-peak or offpeak electricity. Off-peak electricity is when discounted electricity prices apply when electricity is used out of peak time.
When electricity is used in on-peak times, it puts a strain on Australia’s electricity networks and this is why off-peak electricity is charged at a cheaper price, encouraging people to use outside of these times.
Off-peak times differ between states, in Queensland it is between 10pm and 7am. It is cheaper to run an off-peak hot water system as the system will heat your water outside of peak times and store it for when you need it. The downside is that you will need a larger tank as you will need to have water stored for the whole day.
GAS HOT WATER SYSTEMS
If your home already has a gas connection, gas hot water systems are a great option as you do not have any extra costs involved in setting up a gas line.
Gas hot water systems heat twice as fast as their electric counterparts, which means you are less likely to run out of hot water when you need it most - this is why they are the favourite pick for large households.
Although gas systems suffer heat loss from the walls of the tanks, natural gas is cheaper than electricity and as such, in terms of operating costs gas is still more affordable.
Gas systems also don’t lose heat in blackouts as the systems ignite with a pilot light so it will work even if there is no power, access to hot water with no power is a huge advantage especially during storm season.
There are multiple options for gas hot water systems which allow you to heat up your hot water instantly as you need it. These are known as instantaneous gas hot water systems.
SOLAR HOT WATER SYSTEMS
Solar hot water systems are by far the most expensive hot water system to install.
The price of these systems can be almost double the price of other hot water systems on the market and where you live and the size of your solar system can vary the pay-off time.
These systems are not suited to older homes as it is a difficult installation process and things such as nearby trees (potential for shade) and potential reinforcement of weaker roofs need to be factored in.
Naturally, the high upfront costs are off putting to many people, but if you can look past this to the future, you will definitely end up saving money in the long run.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
When it comes down to it, there are a number of factors at play when choosing what hot water system will suit your household best.
The number of people living in the home, the time spent showering and if you have a gas connection or ability to install a solar system all play a major part.
If you are in the market for a new hot water system and still aren’t sure, a skilled plumber will be able to assess the efficiency of your current system and work out what size tank and what kind of system will suit your household best.
If you do experience any problems with your hot water system, then you need to call out your local plumber so they can inspect the situation for you and ensure there are no major issues.
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