Which is the Most Economical Hot Water System?
Depending on where you live and the number people in your household the most economical hot water system will fall into two catergories.
There are Two Types of Hot Water Systems
Systems that store hot water until it is used and systems that heat water as it is needed. People have speculated as to which kind of system is the most cost effective. One argument is against the use of fuel to heat and store water, as it is not always needed. Alternatively, the other argument asserts that using fuel during off-peak times is more cost effective. With the increase in fuel options and the decrease of savings for off-peak usage, these arguments lose some of their validity and consumers should put more thought into what works for them.
Store or Heat?
Water systems that heat and store hot water would be preferable families who need a consistent amount of hot water daily. However, this system does not mean that you won’t run out of hot water. Ensure you know how much hot water that you need before selecting and choosing your hot water system.
Types of fuel that can be used for Economical Hot Water Systems
- Electricity – This is most common. In many homes, most electrical systems also heats the water overnight to take advantage of off-peak cheaper rates. They come in various sizes and by the litre.
- Gas – Gas hot water systems are made in both instantaneous or storage systems. These are common in areas that have access to natural gas. Running them from bottled LPG can be costly.
- Solar – Solar is becoming a more attractive option as fuel costs increase. Solar is cost effective because once the solar units are installed, converting the sun to electricity is free. Many of these systems run in conjunction with other systems to ensure hot water is readily available regardless of the weather.
- Slow combustion wood – these systems heat hot water using a wood fire that you may use to heat your home. This method allows you to receive double benefit of one resource.
- Geothermal and Oil – these systems are used widely overseas but aren’t very common in Australia. In colder climates these options also provide heating for your house.
Solar Vs Traditional
There are many advantages to solar hot water, both environmental and economic. The government actively encourages Australian homes to install solar hot water systems by providing grants and such, partially to take some of the load off our power usage but also because it is more environmentally friendly. Installing solar hot water doesn’t mean that you won’t have hot water on a cloudy day.
Many solar hot water systems are installed with a back-up system, such as instantaneous gas hot water heating. This means you’ll never be without hot water. If your solar panel is on your roof facing north, then you should benefit from cheaper hot water all year round. Many households use simple solar heating systems to heat their swimming pools, usually because of how cheap it is. You will often see black tubing on the roofs of houses. These are usually holding water that is being heated naturally by the sun before flowing into swimming pools to heat them.
Although solar power may be the cheapest option to run, it is also one of the more expensive systems to install. If you stay in your house for more than five years a solar system could be a worthwhile investment.