Ever wondered what hot water system is the cheapest to run? Is it electric, gas or solar?
Basically, there are two types of hot water systems;
- systems that store hot water for use, and
- instantaneous water heaters that heat water as it is needed.
The debate has always been which is the most economical? Heating and storing water that it may not be needed or using fuel (gas, solar, electric, etc) during off-peak times was economical. With the increase in fuel options (gas, electric, solar, etc) and the decrease of savings for off-peak usage the old arguments have been turned upside down and consumers now have a myriad of choices.
Storage tanks or instantaneous hot water
Hot water tanks that heat and store hot water can be great for families who have a consistent amount of hot water. If daily hot water usage increases however hot water can run out, taking time to heat back up. Before installing this type of system, it is important to determine the hot water usage of your household. Ask one of our service technicians to assist you to calculate your hot water usage.
Heating hot water
The methods available to heat hot water are as follows:
- Electric – traditional and in many homes, most electrical systems heat water overnight to take advantage of off-peak rates. They come in various sizes.
- Gas – gas hot water systems can come in instantaneous or storage systems. These are common in areas that have access to natural gas as running them off bottled LPG can be expensive.
- Solar – becoming more and more popular, solar is cheap to run because the sun is free. Many run in conjunction with other systems to ensure hot water is always available.
- Slow combustion wood – these systems heat hot water using the wood fire that you may use to keep your house warm. By using this method you are getting double use of one resource.
- Geothermal and Oil – not common here in Australia.
Solar hot water vs gas / electricity hot water
There are many great advantages to solar hot water, both environmentally and economically. Some people think that if the sun isn’t shining that they won’t have hot water. This is not the case – read our article “How reliable is solar hot water“.
Back-up systems installed alongside a solar hot water system (eg, an instantaneous gas hot water system) to pick up any shortage that they may be.
Important is the placement of your solar panels. If your solar panel is on your roof facing a northerly aspect then you will benefit from at least some free hot water every day all year round.
Although solar power may be the cheapest option to run day to day it can also be one of the more expensive systems to purchase. If you are looking to stay in your residence for more than five years you may find that a solar system will return the investment that you put into it. Contact our experienced solar hot water technicians for more information on the costs of installing solar hot water at your home.
- Hot water products – gas hot water »
- Hot water products – solar hot water »
- Switching to solar hot water »
- How reliable is solar hot water »
- Compare hot water heaters »