You may be paying more than you want to for the hot water system in your home, perhaps up to 30 percent of your overall household bills. With the several different heating options available, we try to answer the question what is the most efficient hot water system?
What is the most efficient hot water system?
The two basic types of hot water system are known as storage and instantaneous. Both have their pros and cons, and the main difference between them is that the water in a storage system is kept heated until you need to use it, although it has a limited storage capacity. The continuous type of heater doesn’t waste energy by keeping water hot constantly, although it can take a few minutes for the water to heat up when you need it.
Electric Water Heaters
An electric powered element below the tank heats up the water in an electric heating system. They are generally reliable and you can save money on your bill by programming it to heat your water at off peak times. However, they emit a lot of greenhouse gases and over the long term, they can be costly to operate. Cost: $200 to $2,000.
Gas Water Heaters
The water in your tank is heated and kept warm by using a gas burner. Gas heaters are generally more cost effective than an electric system, and they produce fewer potentially harmful emissions. Using LPG bottles can be expensive; to save money your gas heating system should be connected to the main gas, and the system really needs to be located outside the home. Cost: $800 to $1,900.
Solar Water Heaters
Solar panels on your roof use the sun’s heat to warm up the water in your tank. A solar system is environmentally friendly and can save you a lot on your energy bills, potentially up to 90 percent. However, the system may not perform as well on cloudy days, and it can be expensive to install the system initially, typically between $2,000 and $7,000. Cost: $2,000 to $8,000.
Heat Pump Water Heaters
Hot air is pumped into the system by means of a fan, rather like a fridge in reverse. They are several times more efficient than an electric heating system, although they really only work well in a warm environment. Spending the money on a heat pump probably doesn’t make sense if your local climate isn’t suitable.
A solar storage heating system with gas boosters may be your best option if your home is exposed to sunlight and you have a mains gas connection. An instantaneous gas heating system is probably the best option if you don’t live somewhere that receives at least a moderate amount of sunlight.
Of course, the most effective hot water heating system depends largely on your living situation, budget and personal preferences. The most expensive option is an electric hot water system, and this also has the highest levels of potentially harmful emissions; as a general rule, one of the other heating systems described above may be a better idea.
If you do have an existing hot water system installed at home, proper usage and maintenance play a big role in having an efficient water system. However, if a problem does arise, call in an expert right away to handle hot water repairs.