Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a look at everything you need to know about hot water systems. There are many factors to consider when choosing a new hot water system and a few things you need to know if you want it to last as long as possible. We’ll be covering it all including an overview of the different types of hot water systems you can buy, a comparison of hot water systems with a storage tank and those with continuous flow, how to determine your daily hot water use so you choose the right model for your household, as well as maintenance that you yourself can perform to keep your hot water system running properly.
There are four power sources for hot water systems to choose from. First, there are traditional electric and gas units. A traditional electric hot water system runs off your home’s normal power source, whether from the mains power grid or your own solar power system. A gas hot water system can either be run from a natural gas main or an LPG gas tank. The other two options are solar hot water storage tanks and air source heat pump water heaters. Generally these units are more expensive to install than traditional hot water systems but their long term advantages are much greater.
There are two main types of hot water systems, storage or continuous flow (sometimes called instantaneous). A continuous flow hot water system can be run off of gas or electric and simply heats water as you need it. There is a lot more to consider when it comes to storage hot water systems. They feature a tank of varying size which is made from either stainless steel or vitreous enamel. Which material you choose will affect your hot water system’s initial cost, lifespan, water purity and the amount of maintenance you will be required to undertake. Hybrid systems are also available which offer the advantages of both storage and continuous flow systems but without the need for a huge tank. Solar hot water systems generally feature a gas or electric booster which are often mistakenly labelled hybrid systems.
If you do choose to buy a storage hot water system you will need to work out the right tank size for your needs. Most hot water systems you come across will offer both the tank size in litres as well as a rough guide for what size household it would suit. While these guides can be helpful, choosing the right tank size really comes down to what your consumption patterns are. For example, even if you live in a large household, if your hot water use is staggered or your family only take short showers you may not need as huge a tank as is recommended.
Most people never even think about their hot water system until it has stopped working. Regular maintenance and a bit of knowledge will help you spot problems before they start to affect your access to hot water and can extend your hot water systems lifespan by years. The two biggest things you need to know about are the sacrificial anode and the temperature pressure release valve. It’s a good thing to ask your plumber to show you when you have your hot water system installed or serviced. Once you know where to find them and how to check them it will only take a few minutes to do but could help you save a lot of money and some easily preventable property damage.
There’s a lot to know about hot water systems but it isn’t hard to learn. Next time you need a new one or have moved into a house with an old one installed, spend a little bit of time familiarising yourself with the basics. You’ll save yourself a lot of hassle down the track and potentially a lot of money. If you’re concerned about the safety or effectiveness of your hot water system, knowing the basics will give you a better idea of what is going on. If you’re ever in doubt it’s best to call a plumber as soon as possible and they’ll be able to help you out with anything you need, from information to emergency repairs.
Pascoe’s has plumbers available throughout Perth who can help you with all your hot water needs. To speak to someone today simply call us on 13000 PASCOES or book online for a free quote.