Water heating costs account for about one third of the average Australian household’s heating costs. For this reason, you should choose your heating system carefully.

Here is information to help you choose the right hot water system for your needs.

Types of Hot Water Systems

A hot water system can be classified based on either its design or heating method. The popular heating methods include gas, electric, solar or heat pump. On the other hand, popular designs include storage and instantaneous/continuous.

Differences between Each System

Hot Water Systems

Electric Water Heater

Electric systems

These systems heat water using an electric-powered element. The heating element normally sits at the bottom of the storage tank in a storage system. In a continuous system, the heating element is typically coiled around the pipes to enable it to heat water quickly. While these systems are generally relatively affordable (cost anything from $200 to $2,000, exclusive of installation costs), they are often expensive to operate, particularly the instantaneous systems.

Fortunately, you can reduce your heating costs by programming your electric system to do most of the heating during off-peak periods. Of course, you would need to have off-peak electricity and a large storage tank in order to enjoy this benefit.

Gas systems

Available in both storage and continuous flow formats, these systems use a gas burner to heat water. Due to venting requirements, they are usually installed. Their prices range from $900 to $2,000 exclusive of installation costs. To enjoy the full benefits of these energy star rated systems, you would need to be connected to mains gas. This is because, if you use LPG bottles, your heating costs will be much higher and you could run out of hot water at some point.

Hot Water Systems

solar collector panels

Solar systems

Consisting of solar collector panels and storage tanks, these systems harness sunlight to heat water. Since they use renewable energy, they are the most energy efficient hot water systems. However, the purchase cost is relatively high, starting at around $2,000 to $7,000 exclusive of installation costs. Fortunately, the Australian governments offers a raft of incentives and rebates for solar systems.

Heat pumps

Consisting of a compressor and a storage tank, these systems extract heat from the air and use it to heat the storage tank, which means they are some of the most energy efficient hot water systems. However, they are only viable in warm environments. Additionally, they are expensive, with costs ranging from $2,500 to $4,000.

The Most Efficient Type

According to figures from the Smarter Choice Initiative, a project of the New South Wales Government, the most efficient type of hot water system is a solar system with gas boosters. The annual running costs for such a system amounts to about $180 for a medium sized household. In comparison, such a household would spend $901 annually to run an LPG system and 1,111 annually to run an instantaneous electric system.

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