If you’re about to embark upon the task of choosing the best hot water system for your home, this post gives you a quick-fire overview to guide your choices and give you access to tips to help you know which hot water system is best for you.
There are three main types of hot water systems to buy for a household.
Each has its own advantages, and ultimately, they all perform the same function. So, how do you know which is best?
There are lots of factors you’ll need to consider first. Budget aside, energy consumption plays a major factor in people’s final decision when choosing the best hot water system.
The installation and purchase costs for an electric hot water system are relatively low. However, you will need to evaluate the running costs as if done so continuously; this might not be the most cost-effective choice. If you have a meter that is configured to include both peak and off-peak rates, it might not be so bad. This is because the water gets heated overnight, and during this ‘off-peak’ period, it is the lowest cost of the two tariffs.
The size of your family will determine how big of a tank you should opt for when buying an electric hot water system.
Gas is widely accepted as an energy-efficient source, and if you have a connection for natural gas in your home, this could present a very appealing option. Natural gas is typically lower in cost than LPG, and you shouldn’t have to worry about your hot water running out mid-way through a shower, which is often the case with LP gas.
If you are buying a new gas hot water system for your home, you will generally get to pick from an electric ignition or a gas pilot light. There are a few pros and cons for each; with a pilot light, there is only a very marginal amount of gas being used, but out of the two, the electric ignition is considered to be more economical. However, you might have to deal with losing your supply of hot water in the case of a blackout if you choose the electric ignition option. All gas hot water systems come with energy efficiency star ratings, making it easy for you to see at a glance which performs the most economically.
As a final note about gas hot water systems, the holding tank size is usually determined by your family size. However, instant hot water systems will give you a near-instant supply while being able to save you space as they negate the requirement for a large tank. This is why they are a popular choice for people with apartments.
It goes without saying that you’ll need to be in an area with lots of access to sunshine for a solar hot water heating system to work efficiently. You can purchase a bigger tank for days that are not-so-sunny or if you have a greater demand for hot water, such as a larger family.
You’ll actually find that the majority of solar hot water heating systems are equipped with either an electric or gas booster element to help you maintain the heat of the hot water on those days with less sunshine than normal.
Overall, the lower running costs of a solar hot water system will compensate for the slightly higher purchase and installation costs. For some, the desire to operate their homes in an eco-friendliest way outweighs the importance of the initial costs, and for others, there are sometimes government grants that will contribute towards some of these costs as well. When you consider that a solar hot water system could give you up to 90% of your hot water for free, without pumping any harmful emissions into the atmosphere, it presents a very compelling option.
The truest answer to this question can only be determined when you weigh-up your individual hot water needs. However, generally speaking, for an average-sized household with typical needs, an instant hot water system presents the most energy-efficient option, when you compare the different types of electric and gas hot water heating systems.
As a final word, you might want to also consider the advantages of a heat pump hot water system as well. It does not need any solar panels to function, but it does use renewable energy for the heating of the water.
As you can see, there are now numerous options available for hot water systems in the home. With unpredictable energy prices, considering the overall energy efficiency of a system is a key factor. Combine this with any purchase and installation costs, as well. If you are concerned with the environment, and you want to make sure you use the eco-friendliest or sustainable solution, then a solar hot water system could be right for you.
Weigh up the pros and cons for each, and speak to your local plumbing and gas specialists to make sure you have the right information you need in order to make the best decision.