Hot Water Systems: Everything You Need To Know

Hot water systems are integral to the daily life and operation of homes and commercial properties everywhere. But, like all complex systems, they can fail, break, or shut down – sometimes without warning. If you are looking to replace or renew a hot water system, we can help! Our team at RD Plumbing Solutions are experts in installation, maintenance, and will be happy to help you choose the best options for your needs and your lifestyle.

Because the running cost of water heating can take up a significant portion of your household or business energy use, deciding what type of hot water heater is right for your home or business is very important. There are lots of factors to consider – how each system functions, how it stores water, how much energy it requires, etc.

This is also the time to determine a budget, as some of these options will be more expensive to install, more expensive to run, or more expensive to maintain. This buying guide is intended to make that decision easier, and give you a clearer idea of what your options are and which one will be the right choice for you.

 

Heating Method

Deciding on your preferred heating method is the first step in determining what type of hot water system will be right for you. There are several options to choose from, each with their own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Some may be more expensive to install, others more expensive to run. Some have specific space or location requirements, and others can be used in a variety of conditions and circumstances.

Before deciding on your ideal heating method, consider where you live, what sort of space you have, what kind of sunlight your property has, and how large your household or commercial business is. All of these will factor into choosing the perfect way of extracting heat.

 

Natural Gas

  • The option to utilise natural gas in heating is extremely popular around the Adelaide metropolitan area, where around 70% of households use this option for their heating needs.
  • Natural gas heating systems tend to be more economically friendly than their electric counterparts, though some systems require a pilot light which can add to cost purely based on the necessity for gas to light the pilot – this is made up for in the significantly lower operations cost in areas where natural gas hookups are readily available. It should be noted that the actual purchase and installation of a natural gas hot water system may be more expensive than an electric one, but it will save you money in the long run.
  • Natural gas hot water systems require proper ventilation, which can mean either installing a flue to release trapped or built up natural gas, or installing the system outside.
  • For commercial businesses, RD Plumbing Solutions is able to provide preventative maintenance to ensure your gas hot water system stays running smoothly, and to minimise downtime and lost work.
  • Can be used both with continuous flow and gas storage water heaters.

 

Electricity

  • Electric hot water systems are cost-effective to purchase and in terms of installation costs, but running costs can wrack up. This is due especially to full-day-operation, which some homes or commercial businesses may need from their hot water system.
  • For non-continuous operation, a much larger tank is required to ensure the proper function of an electric hot water system.
  • Electric hot water systems can be installed both indoors, and outdoors, which makes them practical for a variety of applications, or for homes where a natural gas hookup isn’t available.
  • Can be used both with continuous flow and electric storage water heaters and, depending on your electricity supplier, can be run on off peak as well.

 

Heat Pumps

  • Heat pump hot water systems also run on electricity but can be much more cost effective than other forms of electric water heating. This is because rather than using the electricity to heat the water, the electricity is used to take heat from the air and heat the water tank (similar to how an air conditioner functions).
  • Because they pull heat from the air, this option is best for applications in a warmer climate.
  • Heat pumps work best when installed outdoors, where they have plenty of ventilation. Heat pump units can be a bit noisier than other water heating options, but should not pose a problem if given sufficient space.
  • Government rebates are available in some places to help with costs as well.

 

Solar

  • Solar hot water systems are among the most expensive to purchase and install but tend to be much more cost efficient to operate and maintain.
  • Some solar hot water systems may require a larger storage tank than other water heating systems. This is to ensure you have access to hot water on less sunny days. Some systems also have a built-in gas or electric heating mechanism to help your solar system during a lack of sunlight.
  • If the area where you would install the solar panels isn’t optimal, this option may not be best for you as you won’t be able to collect enough energy to power the system. However, for those of you with optimal collection sites, solar is an excellent option.
  • Government rebates are available in some places to help with offsetting peak electricity costs as well.

 

Continuous Flow or Storage Tank?

Once your heating method is chosen, deciding on whether to purchase a storage tank or a continuous flow heating option is the next step. Considering the size of your household or business here is important. Consider how much hot water you will need on a daily basis, consider when water is most used, and consider how much space you will have for a hot water storage system.

 

Continuous Flow

  • Continuous flow hot water systems only heat water when you need it, and only heat the amount of water you need. This means no heat loss during storage and often lower operation costs.
  • In colder climates, this is often a better choice, as ensuring your stored hot water stays hot in a cold climate will often lead to excessive heat loss and lowered stores of hot water.
  • Continuous flow systems are best used with natural gas heaters, but electric options are also available in continuous flow options.
  • While continuous flow is sometimes referred to as ‘instant,’ because continuous flow systems heat water on demand, it may take a few moments for hot water to reach your tap.
  • Best for smaller households.

 

Hot Water Storage Tanks

  • Storage tanks are available for all water heating methods and can ensure access to hot water at all times. This can be especially useful if using solar water heating so that you will be able to use hot water even without direct sunlight to power your solar panels.
  • Storage tanks tend to be made out of long-lasting stainless steel, but may still require maintenance or monitoring to ensure corrosion doesn’t occur over time.
  • Heat loss can occur with storage tanks, as preheated and stored water will inevitably be affected by its environment. Because of this, it is recommended to place hot water storage tanks in sunlight or to choose this option if you live in a warm climate.
  • Best for larger households or commercial businesses.

 

Hot Water Systems

Choosing a Brand

Once you have decided what type of heating method you want to use, and whether to install a tank or use continuous flow, the next step is to decide what brand of water heater to purchase. There are countless brands to choose from, all with their own unique attributes.

At RD Plumbing Solutions we are particularly fond of Thermann hot water systems. Thermann has excellent products, and are widely regarded as top of their class for water heating throughout Australia. Thermann products feature both continuous flow and electric storage system options, as well as a variety of heating methods. In fact, Thermann features nine different products to choose from. Their products are long-lasting, efficient, effective, and reliable.

 
Thermann Hot Water System

 

Taking Care of Installation

At RD Plumbing Solutions, we specialise in hot water systems and hot water servicing for all types of hot water systems in both residential and commercial spaces. We can perform routine maintenance, help you in an emergency, and ensure that your new hot water system is installed to perfection. Our expert team can even help with gas fitting for new natural gas water heating systems. For more information on water heating systems, our services, and all your plumbing needs across Adelaide, call RD Plumbing Solutions!

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