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HOT WATER SERVICE GUIDE

It really comes under the household category of “I just need you to work”. What happens when you need a changeover? It is something not a lot of us know much about. Nevertheless, an important decision. What are the questions that need to be answered?

What do I need to think about before deciding?

• What sizes do they come in and how do I know which one is right for me?
• Should I choose gas, electric, solar or heat pump?
• Consider that hot water is responsible for 25 percent of the households’ energy consumption.
• What do they cost?
• Are showers normally had at the same times each day?
• Do you have two showers going at once sometimes?
• Will a different showerhead make a difference to our water consumption?
• Seek out a reputable plumber.

What are my energy options?

• Electric
• Gas
• Solar
• Heat pumps

ENERGY COMPARISONS

Electric

As electricity prices soar, it is important to weigh up your options. Older houses are often hooked up to electric hot water as the cost wasn’t so much of a consideration 20 years ago, however, make your choice with this energy price rise in mind.

Energy sustainability has only been a consideration in the last couple of decades so this may also influence your decision. What is best for the environment?

If you do stick with an electric hot water service, make sure it does not heat the water continuously all day, this would be your most expensive outcome. Heat the water off peak, the tariffs are designed to be lower at these times. Take into consideration though, if you do continue with electric hot water, you will need a bigger tank if you only want to heat the water at night time to save the electricity costs.

To install an electric hot water system, it will only take a day.

Gas

Where gas and electric differs is the heating element. In an electric unit, it is heated with a coil, in a gas unit it has a gas burner.

There are many pluses with a gas unit. These include their energy efficiency compared with electricity. They are cheaper to run and don’t require a large tank as the water is being heated constantly.

Gas units are on a flat rate so there are no fluctuations in tariffs.

You must have gas running to the home before a gas unit is a consideration, this may be a problem in remote areas.

Gas and electric units are quite similar in cost.

Installation can be completed within one day.

Solar

With rising energy costs, many people are looking to solar as a long term option for their power needs. The main consideration is the upfront cost. However, many companies offer payment options so what users often find is, the previous cost of their electricity bill covers the repayments on their new solar unit. This is also a great value add to the home.

The government also offer rebates for households switching to solar.

This obviously has a very positive effect on the environment too.

Information regarding solar is very important. There are things available that you need to discuss with your solar provider and how they will impact on your choice of unit.

Solar panels have something called a booster unit. This will promote water heating if there isn’t enough energy coming through your panels due to weather impacts, such as prolonged adverse conditions. This will necessitate some LPG, electricity or gas used to generate the booster.

The impact of this is will generate more running costs so it is essential that the solar company place the panels at the most effective point on your roof to receive the maximum draw from the sun.

Before you decide on solar, you also need to make sure the engineering specifications of your roof are compliant with the panels.

Solar make take a week or so to install.

Heat pumps

These are not often talked about but they are a very viable option both cost wise and environmentally. They work best in hot climates as they draw the heat from outside and pump it into the storage tanks.

It is a system which require regular maintenance so may not be as cost effective as other options. Air conditioning units are also including in the heat pump system so maintenance costs may be higher simply because there are more parts that can go wrong.

3 trades are also needed for installation. Air conditioning mechanic, an electrician and a plumber.

The unit’s noise can also be louder than other units so compare decibel levels.