A guide to buying a hot water system
Although most homes have a hot water system, not all have the right system. There are different factors you should consider when installing or planning to replace your hot water system. With the right information, you can be able to choose the right type, size and brand of hot water system to install in your home. In a normal household, heating water accounts for a 1/3 of the total energy use in a home. Therefore, when you do a thorough research and check out alternatives, you can find a hot water system which is energy efficient thus saving money and its environmentally friendly.
When buying a hot water system, consider the following factors:
1. Heating method
You will have to choose the heating method you prefer. Gas, electricity, solar and heat pump are the available options. You need to research about each heating method, consider your budget, their pros and cons and durability to make a sound decision.
Although it is cheap to buy and install an electrically heated storage tank as they use a lot of energy and can be quite expensive to run the system especially if it runs all day long (utility bills). If you would prefer to have this type of a water heater, you should consider buying a system that runs on off-peak electricity. These systems cheaper because they are cheaper to buy and simpler to make. In terms of running cost, they can be cheaper for small users as electricity companies supply off peak power at reduced rates. They have a larger tank that stores hot water to be used later on. Electric run hot water systems can be installed indoors or outdoors depending on your preference and available space.
Using natural gas to heat your water is another alternative. Whilst they are regarded by many as cheaper to run this is generally not the case. These systems are usually installed outside due to venting requirements but with a flue, they can be installed indoors. It is also possible to use liquid petroleum gas (LPG) bottles but they have a higher running costs. It is advisable to install a gas system that has an electric ignition because it is more economical. However, in case of a blackout, you may not have hot water supply.
This system is comprised of solar panels and a storage tank. You need to be in an area that receives enough sunshine. In addition, the panels should be installed in an ideal location where they can get maximum sunlight. In most cases, the storage tank has a gas or an electric booster to keep the water hot during cold days or when there is less sunshine. These hot water systems are time-consuming and expensive to install but they are economical on the long run due to low running costs. Additionally, government rebates and additional incentives can help reduce purchase and installation cost.
d. Heat pump
This system works by extracting heat from the air and using it to heat the water tank. Although the units of the system are mainly integrated (tank and compressor), they can also be separated. The system should be installed in a well-ventilated area preferably outdoors. Think of them as a solar/electric hybrid . You can save some money during purchase and installation due to incentives and government rebates offered. Heat pumps are cheaper than solar to purchase and install but cost around the same as solar to run. The other advantages of heat pumps is they require no roof panels and usually easily replace an existing electric or gas storage tank.
2. Size of the house
Storage and water usage. This is the second factor you should consider depending on the size of family you have and hot water requirements. If you have long hot showers, wash clothes with warm or hot water and have a large family, you should consider installing a hot water system with a large storage tank or increased delivery capacity.
It is advisable to get a hot water system supplier to evaluate your home and water usage. The expert will then advise on the most appropriate system to install in your home. You should consider getting quotes from at least 3 suppliers to compare and make the right choice. A solar hot water system is the most efficient and cheapest to run in most homes but there are other options:• Small household i.e. 1 – 2 people – consider installing gas or electric systems• Medium household i.e. 3 – 4 people – consider installing gas systems whether continuous flow or storage. A heat pump can also be another alternative• Large household i.e. 5 or more people – gas storage units or continuous flow can be ideal because of their high delivery capacity. However, large heat pumps can also be installed.
But Beware, many “general plumbers” will only advise on whats easy for them, be sure to consider all options.
3. Energy star ratings
This applies to gas systems: You should consider buying and installing a unit which is energy star rated. This is important because it helps you save energy and utility costs. In addition, energy star rated units last longer and incur minimal repair costs. A unit with is highly star rated is usually efficient.
If you are considering buying a hot water system, you should consider all these factors to make the right choice. You can seek professional advice and opinions if you need any. Finally, take your time to do a thorough research because there is a range of factors to consider.