Hot water systems buying guide

Don't wait until your hot water system goes. Review your options and plan your next purchase now.
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04.Which one is right for you?

Regardless of household size, there’s a probably a gas, solar or heat pump option that’s suitable. Gas-boosted solar systems are generally considered the greenest option (and most economical in the long run) but won't suit all homes. If you have to go for an electric system, aim for instantaneous or off-peak systems if possible. Points to consider:

  • How many people live in your home, how much hot water you use and when you use it (e.g. do you all shower in the morning or evening, do you wash clothes in hot or cold water, etc)
  • Is natural gas available in your area?
  • How much sunlight does your roof get in summer and winter?
  • Local climate - ambient temperatures, frost and so on
  • Your budget, and the purchase and operating costs of a new system (including possible rebates)
  • Your home's design - space and access for potential hot water system locations
  • Your current system - if electric storage, you may qualify for rebates when replacing it with greener options. Or you may be able to incorporate it into a new system, e.g. as a storage tank for a solar system.

A good hot water system supplier can analyse your home and usage patterns and recommend hot water system options. Get quotes from a few different suppliers, to explore different options and brands and make sure you get a good deal.

Small household (1-2 people): If solar access is good, a gas-boosted solar HWS may be the best option. However a gas storage or instantaneous system will probably be cheaper to install.

Medium household (3-4): Gas systems (instantaneous or storage) are a good option here, but heat pumps and solar HWS are also a good choice due to increased economy of scale.

Large household (5+): You’ll need large tanks, and with potentially larger savings to be made, the upfront cost of going solar may be less daunting. For these households, gas storage units may be more economical than instantaneous systems.

Saving energy and water

  • If you have a storage system, make sure the tank and hot-water pipes are well insulated. Limit the water temperature to around 60 degrees celsius if possible. Install it as close to the main hot-water outlets as possible. Turn it off when you go away for more than a couple of days.
  • Take showers instead of baths, and limit them to about five minutes.
  • Get low-flow shower heads and taps, or install flow restrictors.
  • Consider a front-loading washing machine the next time you have to replace yours.
  • For more water saving tips, see our home water-saving guide.

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