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Everything you need to know about finding a Hot Water System Specialist

Hot water is a necessity in every Australian household.  Most hot water is used in showering or bathing but it is also used in the kitchen and laundry.  Buying the correct hot water system for your household means that you will always have an adequate supply for your everyday usage and thus avoid the frustration that occurs when the hot water runs out.

©Pipe Perfection Plumbers

Considerations

When buying a hot water system, it is important that you choose one that fills your needs.  Do not focus solely on the purchase price – also consider how much it will cost to run over its total lifetime.  If possible, look for an energy efficient system.  Also look at things such as how easy the system will be to install, how easy it is to run and maintain, and what kind of warranty is offered. 

It is a good idea to ensure that the system is located as close as possible to all of the major areas in the home to use hot water – the bathroom, the kitchen and the laundry.  If you cannot find a suitable central location, then install as closely to the kitchen as possible.  This will help to minimize the lengths of pipe, keeping the cost of installation lower and preventing heat loss from the pipes.  It will also help to reduce the amount of time that you have to wait for hot water to come through from the taps, minimizing water wastage.  Finally, make sure that the hot water system is sheltered in order to prevent heat loss from the tank itself.

Types of Hot Water Systems

The two main types of hot water systems that are available are storage water heaters and continuous flow (or instantaneous) water heaters.  Both of these systems are suitable for the average household.  Storage water heaters heat the water which is then stored in an insulated tank for use throughout the day.  They are most economical when run on solar energy, natural gas, or off-peak electricity.  However, you can also run them on LPG, peak electricity and solid fuels.  If you have a mains pressure system, the hot water will come through at the same pressure as the cold water does, meaning that more than one hot water tap can be turned on at the same time without any loss of pressure.  Constant pressure systems deliver the hot water at a lower pressure than mains pressure systems and are normally located in the roof space of a home.  The amount of pressure depends on the vertical height between the tank and the point of use.

Continuous flow or instantaneous water heaters heat the water as it required, removing the necessity for a storage tank.  This also means that it is impossible to run out of hot water.  Because they are significantly smaller than storage water heaters, they can be installed internally or externally on a wall or in a cupboard.  These heaters are connected to the mains water supply and deliver heated water at a slightly reduced pressure than cold water.  Adequate amounts of hot water can be delivered to one or two points within the home at one time and some units have electronic controls to deliver precise temperature control.  However, it is vital that these hot water systems are correctly sized according to how they will be used.  Continuous flow heaters operate the most economically on natural gas but they can also use LPG or general tariff electricity.

Hot Water System Options

  • 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 informatoin 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 litres 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 litres 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.

©Pipe Perfection Plumbers

Services/Hiring a Hot Water Systems Specialist

Hot water system suppliers can assist with:

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.

How Much Does a Hot Water System Cost?

Gas fitters or plumbers which charge anywhere from $150 to $200 per hour for a hot water installation. This may vary depending on where you live and how far they have to travel.


 

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