Hot Water System Installation, Repairs and Quotes by Qualified, Experienced Heating Engineers
Hot water systems use a variety of heating methods to provide consistent hot water in your home, including gas, electric, solar or heat pump units. Zambezi Plumbing and Gas are experienced to work on all models of Hot Water Systems and our plumbers carry a comprehensive range of spare parts.
Choosing a suitable Hot Water System can be overwhelming so here are some things to consider:-
ELECTRIC OR GAS, SOLAR OR HEAT PUMP…
The first decision you’ll need to make when choosing a Hot Water System is the heating method: electricity, gas, solar or heat pump?
Electric Hot Water Systems
- An electrically heated storage tank system is usually relatively cheap to buy and install, but is usually the most expensive to run, especially if it’s on the continuous (full day) rate.
- Systems that run on off-peak electricity are much cheaper to run, but need a larger tank as the water heated overnight has to last you all day. And off-peak electricity isn’t available to all homes.
- A four-person household typically needs a 125–160L tank for a continuous system or 250–315L for off-peak.
- Can be installed indoors or outdoors.
- Electric instantaneous water heaters are also available.
Gas Hot Water Systems
- Natural gas is a good option if you have the connection for it. It’s cheaper than electricity and because gas rates don’t vary through the day, gas hot water systems can heat water as needed.
- A four-person household needs a tank of about 135–170L. You also have the option of an instantaneous system.
- Usually installed outdoors due to venting requirements but can be installed indoors with a flue.
- Have an energy efficiency star rating.
- Some have a pilot light, which uses a small amount of gas. Electric ignition is more economical, but in a blackout, you can lose your hot water supply.
- Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) bottles are an alternative to natural gas – but expect to pay significantly more in running costs.
- They range in price from about $900 to $2000 (not including installation).
Solar Heating Systems
- Consists of solar collector panels and a storage tank. A four-person household typically needs about four square metres of solar collector area (two panels) and a 300–360L tank. You need a large tank to allow for days with less sunlight (or more hot showers than usual).
- If your panels can’t be installed in an ideal location, they may be less efficient and you’ll need a larger collection area.
- The storage tank usually has an electric or gas booster element to keep the water hot on days with less sunshine.
- Comparatively expensive and time-consuming to install, but a well-chosen system will pay for itself in the long run due to very low running costs.
- They range in price from about $2000 to $7000 (not including installation).
- A much more efficient form of electric storage tank system that works on the same principle as a fridge or air conditioner, by extracting heat from the air and using it to heat the water tank.
- Units are usually integrated (tank and compressor together) but can also be split (separate tank and compressor).
- They need to be installed in a well-ventilated area.
- The compressor on the unit can be noisy, like the outdoor unit of an air conditioner, so you can’t install them too close to a neighbouring home.
- They tend to work best in warm and temperate regions, but there are models designed to work well in cold climates too, and most systems have a booster element for days of cold weather or high demand.
- You’ll typically need a 270–315L tank for a four-person household.
- They range in price from about $2500 to $4000 (not including installation).
The next decision after the heating method, is whether you go for a system with a tank, or one that heats water as needed?
Storage tank systems, store a certain amount of heated water that is used throughout the day. Their biggest advantage is making use of cheaper off-peak energy tariffs to fill your water tank.
Hot Water Storage Tanks
- Most electric, gas, solar and heat pump hot water systems use a tank.
- Mild-steel tanks can corrode over time; maintenance every few years can help prevent this. They usually have five- to 10-year warranties.
- Many tanks have one or two “sacrificial anodes”. This is a metal rod inside the tank which attracts minerals and other impurities that would otherwise corrode the tank; the anode corrodes instead, ‘sacrificing” itself. Get a plumber to check the system and replace the anode every five years (or as per manufacturer instructions); doing this can add years to the life of the tank.
- Stainless steel tanks are more expensive, but generally last longer and don’t require as much maintenance as mild-steel tanks. They usually carry a 10-year warranty, but still require occasional maintenance (such as replacement of valves and seals).
- Local water quality may dictate which type is best for you; check with the installer.
- Tanks are insulated, but there is always some heat loss over time, so it’s good to install them in a sunny spot or in an insulated space.
Instant systems (continuous-flow) heat water instantly and as it’s required. Thanks to their instantaneous nature, they’re generally cheaper to run and more efficient than storage units, which can lose heat over time.
The most important aspect in choosing a continuous-flow system is the Flow Rate. The more water outlets you have in your home, the higher your flow rate should be.
Continuous Flow/ Instantaneous System.
- Also, often referred to as “instantaneous”, a continuous flow Hot water system heats only as much water as you need, when you need it. They aren’t truly instantaneous – it can take a few seconds before hot water starts flowing from the tap, especially when there’s a fair distance of pipe between the Hot Water System and the tap.
- Most models use gas, but electric models are available.
- As there are no heat losses as with water stored in a tank, they’re often cheaper to run than storage systems.
- Electric models will use the full electricity tariff for whenever they are in use, so running costs may be higher than for an off-peak tank, but less than a continuous tank system.
- The size you need (flow rate in litres per minute) depends more on the number of hot water outlets the heater has to serve than on the number of people in the household. As a general rule, for a two-bathroom house you need a flow rate of about 22–24 L/min. We are more than happy to help you find the right capacity for your home.
Our qualified technicians may suggest replacing the hot water system rather than replacing parts. This would be because it is not cost effective to replace a part or if the hot water system is old and corroded. They will be able to advise you on the most suitable hot water unit dependent on your individual circumstances they are as conscious as you are about saving you money.