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Expert Advice from CDL Plumbing & Drainage on The Differences between Gas, Electric and Solar Hot Water Systems in 2023

Most people find it hard to understand the differences between the 3 most common types of hot water systems, but if you count Heat Pumps as electric then there are now 4 types of hot water system to choose from in 2023, so what are the differences between them? In this article, CDL will explain the differences between all four hot water system types with the pros and cons.

Hot water systems play a crucial role in providing comfort and convenience in households across Australia and the world. If you think your hot water system is faulty, beyond repair or just old and inefficient then read on. There are several types of hot water systems available, each with distinct characteristics and benefits. CDL will attempt to explore and compare four popular hot water systems used in Australia presently (2023):

This is quite a large page so I recommend the following 4 water system types be in expandable text boxes

Electric Heat Pump Hot Water Systems

Electric heat pump hot water systems are an energy-efficient alternative to conventional electric systems. Instead of directly heating the water, they work by extracting heat from the surrounding air and using it to warm the water in the storage tank. This process consumes less energy compared to traditional electric systems, resulting in substantially reduced operational costs and environmental impact.

Heat pump hot water systems are suitable for various climates, including colder regions. However, their efficiency may decrease in extremely low temperatures. Like electric systems, they can also be affected by electricity prices and may contribute to greenhouse gas emissions if the electricity comes from non-renewable sources.

Solar Hot Water Systems

Solar hot water systems harness the sun's energy to heat water, offering an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative. They consist of solar panels (collectors) installed on the roof or ground, which absorb sunlight and transfer the heat to a storage tank. These systems are highly efficient in sunny climates, like most parts of Australia.

While the initial installation cost can be higher than traditional gas or electric systems, solar hot water systems can substantially reduce energy bills over the long term and help mitigate the household's carbon footprint. However, their performance might be affected during cloudy or rainy periods, necessitating backup heating sources.

Gas Hot Water Systems:

There are 2 types of gas hot water system, storage (tank) and continuous flow (tankless).

Continuous Flow

Continuous flow gas hot water systems, also known as tankless systems, heat the water on-demand as it flows through the unit. When you turn on a hot water tap, the system activates to heat the water instantly.

The system uses a gas burner to heat the water as it passes through a heat exchanger. As the hot water is heated on-demand, there is no limitation to the flow rate. You have a continuous supply of hot water, making them ideal for households with high hot water demands.

Installation is generally more complicated than storage systems and may require specific gas and water connections. They are usually mounted on the wall in kitchens or under stairs in cupboards, saving floor space.

Tankless systems can be more energy-efficient compared to storage systems since they only heat water as needed, reducing standby energy losses.

Storage Tank

Storage gas hot water systems consist of a tank that holds a certain amount of water (typically 50-400 litres). The tank is insulated to keep the water hot until it is needed. In these systems, a gas burner or element heats the water inside the tank to maintain a constant temperature.

The hot water in the tank is available for use at any time. The flow rate is limited to the capacity of the tank, so once the stored hot water is used up, you will need to wait for the tank to refill and heat more water which will take time.

Installation is relatively straightforward, and they can be placed both indoors and outdoors which is a bonus. The efficiency of storage systems can vary, as there may be some heat loss due to the insulation.

Electric Hot Water Systems

Electric hot water systems are widely used across Australia for their ease of installation and accessibility. These systems typically include a heating element within the storage tank, which heats the water to the desired temperature (similar to gas storage tanks). Electric systems are well-suited for smaller households with moderate hot water requirements.

They are more affordable in terms of initial purchase when compared to gas, but they tend to have higher operational costs, especially as electricity costs are rapidly rising but they can take advantage of off-peak times.

Also, electric hot water systems can contribute to higher greenhouse gas emissions if the electricity is generated from fossil fuels which some people are concerned about.

Which System Is The Best?

To answer this simply, none of them. The real answer lies in whats best for you, from your budget, your needs and your priorities. All systems will have pros and cons that will vary depending upon each individual family or businesses situation.

Understanding the above systems will help you a lot in choosing and talking to hot water experts like CDL will help you a great deal, especially when choosing manufacturers and models.

Switching to a different system can often be worthwhile, but sometimes just upgrading our existing system is the best solution as installation costs will be much lower.

Presently in 2023 heat pump hot water systems are in vogue due to them being very eco-friendly and having the assistants of govt grants in some areas at certain times.

How Do I Choose The Right hot Water System?

Usually by talking to a reliable and trustworthy plumbing and hot water company that have no specific loyalties to any specific type of system like CDL Plumbing & Drainage. We will discuss with your needs in detail and suggest and advise on the best system that suits you now, and into the future. If you want to see some more tips on how to make the best decision then take a look here, otherwise give CDL a call for the best advice in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie areas.

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CDL Plumbing & Drainage are expert plumbers and gas fitters servicing Newcastle & Lake Macquarie from our Gateshead HQ. We have over 15 years of experience and specialise in all domestic and commercial plumbing, able to take on large-scale drainage projects. Fully qualified (Level 4), licensed & insured with free quotes. We have 2 teams of friendly and reliable plumbers with fully equipped vans.

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