Choosing your hot water system

Our home hot water system is not something we tend to think about much – until it stops working … we just turn the hot water tap on in the shower and expect a stream of steamy water to wash over us moments later. Let’s be honest, cold showers aren’t much fun!

Interestingly heating water for home use comprises approximately 25% of household energy use in Australia and the hot water system you choose is an investment you’ll live with for many years to come, so you want to be sure that it’s the right decision for you.  Things to consider include:

  • is the size right for your home?
  • is it a brand that your local professional plumbers can service and access spare parts?
  • is it reliable?

That’s why professional advice is something that you should seek when looking to purchase a new hot water heater.

Now, back to the beginning, what do we mean by making sure your water heater is the right size? We don’t just mean that it has to fit in the space you have available (although, it does) but, the size of your water heater directly correlates to the number of people living in your home. 

There’s little point selecting the largest and most expensive hot water heater in the Shoalhaven if it is just you and your other half living in a two-bedroom home. Equally, if you have a household of six people living in a five-bedroom house, you want to make sure your water heater is big enough to get everyone out of the front door each morning smelling fresh and with a smile on their face!

Let’s put some numbers to this discussion …

On average one person uses about 50 litres of hot water a day. This includes how long you shower in hot water, whether you use your dishwasher a lot, whether you use hot or cold water in your washing machine, whether your appliances heat their own water and so on.

Naturally, your carbon footprint should also be a consideration and can save you money in the long run. You’ve probably seen the energy star ratings on a whole host of white goods and the same is true for gas or electric hot water heaters.  These are called Minimum Energy Performance Standards and are a way of rating the energy efficiency of any specific device. Whilst not currently mandatory for hot water heaters there are some manufacturers who have chosen to measure, and publicise, the efficiency of their products. These manufacturers are usually a good place to start! 

Of course, selecting your hot water heater is only the first step. It then needs to be installed. And this is a critically important process because if done incorrectly can put you and your family at risk. Installing an electrical water heater badly can lead to fire or electric shock. Similarly, a gas heater installation must be completed by a professional plumber to ensure it’s compliant and leak-free.

Importantly, as we talked about in a previous blog post, ‘Are your hot water systems ready for winter?’, preventative maintenance and scheduled servicing are the best way to ensure that you’re safe and getting longevity from your hot water system. Naturally, it is imperative that you use a professional plumber to perform these tasks! 

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