Electric or Solar hot water systems, which is right for you
The most important factors to consider when choosing a hot water system are how much hot water you use, the running costs of the system, and your budget. There are several different types of hot water systems to choose from. The most common are electric systems and solar systems.
Electric Hot Water System
Electric systems are commonly used around Australia. While they’re cheaper to buy and install, they may be expensive to run. Different tariffs also apply depending on when you use your system, so taking advantage of off-peak rates can help you save money. You can install electric heaters either installed inside or outside.
Solar Hot Water System
Solar hot water systems feature solar panels, a water storage tank and a gas or electric booster to heat the water on days when there’s not enough sun. Though they’re expensive to buy and install, their low running costs will help you cover the extra upfront expenses over time. However, where you live, the size of your roof and its orientation, and whether you qualify for any government rebates can all affect whether or not solar is a good investment for you.
The Size; Choosing the right size for your home is important
It’s essential to choose the right size hot water system for your home to ensure that it operates efficiently and you never run out of hot water. However, different types of systems are sized in different ways. Storage and solar hot water systems are sized based on the number of people in your home. The right size unit for your home will also vary depending on the amount of water you use. As a very rough guide, somewhere between 40 and 60 litres per person per day is a good starting point. The following factors can also affect your household’s usage:
- How long each family member showers for, and how often
- How many loads of washing you do per day
- Whether you wash clothes using hot or cold water
- Whether you wash dishes in a dishwasher or in the sink
Efficiency & Initial Cost
Heating water accounts for around 25% of the energy used in Australian households, so it’s important to install an energy-efficient hot water system. While solar hot water systems may be more expensive to install, Electric systems are usually more expensive to operate in the long run.
The Effective lifespan of a unit
- The electric hot water system is between 10-20 years.
- Highline solar systems tend to be between 15-30 years (depending on the system and excluding severe weather)
- Split or low line solar systems tend to be between 15-30 years (depending on the system and excluding severe weather)
You may also consider that solar systems may be more expensive to maintain.
Finally, Three things to consider
Keep the following factors in mind when choosing a hot water system:
- Plan ahead. A hot water system is one of those things you often forget is there until it suddenly stops working. When your existing system quits, you’ll need to get a new one installed as quickly as possible. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for researching and shopping around, so it’s a good idea to start comparing hot water systems before you need to make an urgent purchase.
- Government incentives. Depending on where you live, you may be eligible for government rebates or small-scale technology certificates when you install an eligible solar or heat pump system. Check with the relevant department of your state or territory government for more details.
- How to cut costs. In addition to choosing an energy-efficient system, there are several other things you can do to reduce costs. These include installing a low-flow showerhead to help save water, getting the system serviced regularly and washing clothes in cold water when possible.
The next step, call your local plumber
So now that you have all the information you need, it is time to do some research and then call your local plumber to install your new hot water system.