Hot water is a requirement in every Australian home, which makes hot water systems a must in every household. There is a big variety of hot water systems that are available to buy in Australia.
Hot Water System Types
- Natural gas – can be used in both storage water heaters and continuous flow heaters. Natural gas systems are rated according to their energy efficiency and come in both internal and external models. Gas storage heaters have a smaller capacity than off-peak electric ones as they are able to heat the water up at any time of the day or night as opposed to within a certain time period only. For more information see gas hot water systems.
- Off peak electricity – has similar running costs to a natural gas system but is only available where the hot water system has a storage capacity 160 liters or more. The hot water is generally heated overnight for use throughout the day. It cannot be used by continuous flow systems and is available for both internal and external use.
- Solar energy – can provide up to eighty percent of your hot water free of charge, making it a very environmentally friendly option. They are the cheapest systems to operate but do have a high initial purchase price. All solar hot water systems come with a “booster” source of power (such as gas or electric) to provide hot water during times when there is little sun. Mains pressure and constant pressure is available. For more information see solar hot water systems.
- Peak electricity – is used for electric continuous flow units and storage water heaters that are smaller than 160 liters in capacity. They can be expensive to run but are very popular in areas where space is limited such as in units and apartments. For more information see electric hot water systems.
- LPG – is used in areas where natural gas is not available. It is suitable for both continuous flow and storage hot water systems.
- Solid fuels – this includes wood, coal, briquettes and so forth, so the cost of the fuels can vary widely. Solid fuels can be used on their own or in conjunction with off peak electricity or solar in constant pressure systems. They cannot be used with mains pressure systems unless a heat exchanger is used and cannot be used in continuous flow systems.
- Heat pumps – is high efficiency and uses around seventy percent less electricity than other electric hot water systems. They work by extracting heat from the atmosphere using a refrigerant gas and a compressor and using that heat to heat water stored in a tank at ground level.
Services/Hiring a Hot Water Systems Specialist
Hot water system suppliers can assist with:
- Advising on a suitable hot water system
- Installation (see hot water system installation)
- Service and repairs (hot water system service and repairs)
- Supply of the hot water unit
- Minor plumbing
Ensure that they are able to help you to choose the correct system for the number of people in your household. They should also allow for possible changes in the use of the hot water system in the future brought about by such things as an expanding family, the introduction of new appliances such as dishwashers and so forth. A reputable plumber can install or replace al types of hot water systems, including electric, gas and solar.
Ensure that the system comes with a warranty, and that the supplier is willing to provide installation in a reasonable time-frame. It is also useful if your supplier can provide emergency repairs or be able to direct you to someone that does.