Is your hot water system on its last legs? Been wondering what hot water system you should buy to replace it?
Hot water is a life necessity, we all know that. So if your hot water system decides to kick the bucket, chances are you don’t have time to sit and do careful research into which system is best for you. This is why it’s important to get a good understanding of the different brands, types and models available on the market. This will help you determine which one you like best.
Should I Keep the Same Type I Had Before?
There are two sides to this. Going with the same model would make for potentially easier installation because all the connections would be in the same place. On top of this, there is no doubt you will be used to the way in which your hot water has been delivered to you all these years.
However, there are definitely reasons to upgrade to a newer model. For one, your current model may not be made any more due to being phased out. This is particularly common with some electric and storage hot water systems, due to their inefficiencies. The plus side to this is that upgrading to a gas or solar system will save you a heap on your energy bills down the line.
Secondly, it could be as simple as the fact that you’ve outgrown your current one. Maybe it’s been with you since you bought the house and was adequate to feed 2 people then, but now you’ve got 3 kids and the hot water system simply isn’t big enough. That could’ve been the reason its conked out to begin with. Hot water systems come in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from 12 Litres to 400 Litres, so there’s something for everyone.
You never know what you’re missing out on if you don’t test the market and see what you can upgrade to.
Whats Types of Systems are Out There?
There’s a strong selection of hot water systems on the market these days and the right one for you depends on your household, location, climate and family size, among other things. The main systems are:
Within these different energy sources, you then have the different types of delivery methods. These are:
- Continuous flow/instantaneous
For a basic understanding, continuous flow systems will heat the water as need by sending it through pipes that are extremely hot. Storage systems will hold water in a large tank at the desired temperature, replacing and reheating it as it gets used.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of each…
You’ll find in your research that gas systems are by far the most common out of the four types. They’re available in either continuous flow or storage systems and have always been cheaper to run than electricity, due to cheaper rates. On top of this, gas rates do not vary during the day like electricity. Installation is usually quick and easy for your local Jim’s plumber, and they have the ability to be installed indoor or outdoor. As for the cons, there isn’t a whole lot with gas. As stated, it’s far healthier for your wallet, and is very reliable in the long term – that’s really all there is to it.
Electric hot water heaters are generally on the cheaper end to buy and install, and are very reliable long term in terms of functionality. However, they are being phased out due to poor efficiency ratings. There’s a good chance that your energy bill will skyrocket and you won’t be doing the old environment any favours. Electric systems would only need to be considered if you were unable to have a gas supply line to your house, and solar was out of the question. Speaking of which…
Solar is by far the most expensive to buy and install, but don’t let this scare you off. As with normal solar panels, solar hot water systems pay for themselves over the long term. By using the sun’s rays as a source of free energy, you’re doing lots of favours to your bank account, and the environment. Solar systems are a little different to gas and electric in terms of their delivery method.
There are two main types, split system, and close coupled. Split systems will utilise a ground-mounted tank that stores the water at ground level. After it’s been heated through the solar panels on the roof, the water is sent here for storage until you use it. Conversely, close coupled will have the tank and the panels conjoined together on the roof, with no ground-mounted setup. This is a very basic explanation. Solar systems are rather complex, but the general principle is there.
As for which is better, most would lean towards the close coupled systems because they are cheaper and installation is less involved. However, split systems are more reliable and have the ability to be boosted by a gas or electric continuous flow system so that you get hot water no matter the time of day.
Heat pump hot water is probably the least talked about system out there. They are an efficient and very innovative technology that makes use of one of Australia’s best natural features – hot air. Heat pumps work like a fridge, extracting heat from the air around it and converting it to energy that is used to heat your water. Because of this, they do work better in warmer climates. However, they can still turn colder air into hot water, sometimes down as low as -10 Celcius. On the other hand, they do suffer from a couple of disadvantages. They are fairly big and bulky units, requiring a large, open, well-ventilated area for installation. No internal installation for these guys. They can also be on the noisier side when it comes to hot water systems, which you won’t find with other kinds.
What Brand is Best For Me?
This is a tricky question. Hot water has become a highly competitive market, with a lot of so-called ‘leading’ brands. You’ve got the big names like Bosch, Rinnai, Rheem and Dux, or lesser-known brands like AquaMAX, Chromagen, Wilson and Stiebel Eltron that still bring a lot to the table in terms of design and functionality. Some like to specialise in certain types, while others cover a broad spectrum of systems. All the top brands in Australia offer decent warranties, usually between 5 and 10 years depending on the model. On top of this, they’ve all put a massive emphasis on improving their energy ratings over the years, with some as high as a whopping 7 stars. So it’s fair to say that brand wise you can’t go too wrong in Australia.
So, What Hot Water System Should I Buy?
To summarise, you’ve got a lot of choice for hot water systems, which is a good thing I assure you. One thing to ensure is that you get it installed by a professional. By doing this you will avoid problems with functionality in the long term. It’s an important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Remember you can always talk to your friendly local hot water expert at Jim’s Plumbing.