Hot water in your home: how to choose the right hot water system

Tod Tait
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If you come from a large family, or you’ve ever lived in a flatting situation, you’ll likely know the pain of being the last in line for the bathroom. After all, who doesn’t love a long hot shower? And despite what they say, there are only so many icy cold morning showers you can take – especially through the winter months!

So, what is the best way to keep that hot water flowing? There are several options for heating the water in your home, and while energy efficiency is on everyone’s mind, the right solution does depend on your particular property and living situation.

Let’s take a look at the most common water heating systems, and some important points for you to consider in your decision:

Gas hot water systems
If you already have a home where gas is connected for other appliances (such as heating or cooking), then a gas hot water system is ideal. As the unit can be fitted outside, they are a good option for smaller homes, or those with limited space. The biggest benefit of all, of course, is the ‘limitless’ hot water (your days of cold showers are over!). However that doesn’t mean that using more hot water is necessarily a good idea. While they are more energy efficient than electric systems, gas hot water systems are not necessarily the most economical, as their higher heat-loss ratio than electric systems makes them more expensive to run. You’ll pay a fixed charge for reticulated gas supply (if you don’t already), otherwise, using LPG bottles can become costly.

Electric hot water cylinders
Hot water cylinders are a common choice for Kiwi households. Generally they offer good water pressure and are sufficient for meeting the hot water needs of low to moderate-use family homes. While the cost of installation is relatively low, the cost of using them in the long run can often work out to not be the most economical of options. This is because their high use times are generally when electricity prices are at their peak. That being said, it’s possible to put them on a controlled, or night-rate electricity supply to ensure a lower price.

Heat pump water heating
The versatility of heat pump hot water systems is appealing – they can double as an underfloor central heating system. With low running costs, they are an increasingly popular choice, especially for households who use moderate to high amounts of hot water. The payoff is a relatively high upfront cost, and you’ll need to check in with your local council before undertaking installation.

Solar water heating
As more of us turn towards more eco-friendly options for powering our home, solar heating has risen in popularity. Solar water heating systems are great for households who use moderate to high amounts of water. Not only great for the environment, they’re also kinder on the pocket. While initial installation costs are high, the lifetime running costs are very low. The biggest downside is the dependency on the sun’s heat – after a few cloudy days you’ll be enjoying some brisk short showers! Having an electric or gas system as backup is often a good idea, and unfortunately, not all properties will be suitable for solar hot water heating.

If you’re considering installing a new hot water heating system in your home, it’s worth chatting to an expert who can talk through these options and advise the best solution for your property. If you’d like more information about hot water heating system installation, or how to get the best out of your current system – get in touch.