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Water heaters are essential to our health and daily life.

Living without a hot water heater during the cold winter can be difficult. Hot water is needed for showering, laundry, and washing dishes in the kitchen. Especially after a busy day, hot showers can be pretty relaxing and comforting.

It is difficult to function without hot water systems in places where it is cold all year round, especially for small children and the elderly. Without one, you would have to heat water manually, wasting energy, time, and effort.

But with many options, choosing the right hot water system can take time and effort. Even if you have an existing water heater, it’s always worth looking into cheaper, more energy-efficient alternatives.

Choosing a hot water system should be based on several factors, including size, energy efficiency, and cost. You first need to determine the size of your hot water system on the number of people in your household. You must also consider energy efficiency ratings to save on utility costs and compare prices and features to choose one that fits your budget and needs.

Want a more in-depth explanation? Let’s jump in!

How To Choose The Right Size Hot Water Heater

You must look at many aspects of purchasing a new hot water system. This mainly includes the type of heater that fits your needs, how much hot water is required daily, your water flow requirements, and running costs. Broadly, it would be best if you focused on the following:

Person Testing Water Heater Garage

1. Identify Your Usage Needs

Before choosing the kind of water heater you should install, you first need to determine the hot water requirement of your home. For example, a ten-minute shower requires approximately 45 L of hot water. Thus, you can roughly estimate the volume of hot water needed for your family size.

To arrive at a reasonable estimate, you should also account for water usage of any appliances that require hot water, such as your washing machine.

2. Time Required For The Water To Heat Up

The heating time depends on the hardness of the water and the kind of heater you have. For example, heat pumps and solar heaters provide slower heating than electric models.

Thus, electric heaters are a great choice if you require instantaneous heating, as in the case of a restaurant. For home usage, however, relatively slower heating is acceptable, thus allowing homeowners to go for cheaper water heating solutions.

Different Types Of Hot Water Heaters

Water heaters are mainly classified as electric, solar, gas, and heat pumps based on the energy source and heating method. While selecting a hot water system, you must first decide what type is most suitable for you. We will now take you through each type.

1. Electric Water Heater

Water Heater Blue Tool Box

Electric water heaters are the least expensive to buy but have the most expensive running costs.

A heating element is located at the bottom of the unit, and the hot water is stored in an insulated tank. Installation takes no more than two to three hours. Also, you can install an electric hot water system indoors and outdoors.

An option is to reduce electricity costs by running electric systems on off-peak electricity. This, however, would necessitate the installation of a larger storage tank to hold the hot water for a longer period. Additionally, not all households have access to off-peak electricity.

Typically, a 130-160 litre tank is needed for a four-person household and around 250-300 litres for an off-peak system. Electric hot water systems are excessive, and if you have an existing one, then it might be the right time to switch to a low-cost, energy-efficient alternative.

2. Solar Hot Water Systems

Solar water heaters are more expensive to purchase and install but have the lowest operating costs. A typical solar hot water system includes a storage unit and solar panels.

A four-person household requires about four square metres of storage space for solar panels and a 300-350 litres storage water tank.

The installation time is higher and must be done by experts only. Before installation, the house is thoroughly inspected. In areas with less sunlight, the storage tank usually has a booster element to store the hot water for longer.

Solar Hot Water Heater

3. Natural Gas Water Heater

Turning Valve Water Heater

Gas hot water systems use the heat generated by the combustion of natural gas to heat water. These systems are less energy efficient than solar hot water systems. Still, they are a good option if you have a natural gas connection because they are much cheaper than electricity.

Installation takes about an hour and is usually done outside due to the need for venting. Switching from an electric hot water system to a gas system can be costly because it may necessitate the installation of a gas line and exhaust heat venting. A four-person household typically requires a storage tank of 140-170 litres.

Gas hot water systems may not be a good option in the future because gas prices are constantly rising. Also, there can be government directives to reduce carbon emissions, which may also impact sales.

4. Heat Pump

Water Heater Storage

A heat pump is more efficient than an electric storage water heater and works by transferring heat from one place to another and using it for heating water. It typically draws heat from the ground in the winter and indoor air in the summer for heating and cooling.

A heat pump hot water system can also be purchased as a stand-alone unit with a built-in storage tank or used with an existing storage water heater. A four-person household typically requires a 250-300 litre storage tank.

They perform best in warm and temperate locations all year, as they will cool if kept in a cold space.

Continuous Flow Or Storage Tank: The Better Bet?

The next decision you need to make is the requirement of the flow of hot water and the space considerations. While a continuous-flow water heating system may be convenient but expensive, storage tank-based hot water heater requires a lot of space.

Continuous Flow System

In a continuous flow hot water system, you heat only as much water as is needed and only when required. Mostly continuous flow systems are based on natural gas and electricity.

These are usually intended for a single shower. You can decide the size of the hot water system depending on the number of hot water outlets and the number of people in the house. Continuous-flow water heaters are suitable for smaller households that require less hot water.

Storage Tank System

Storage systems are advantageous for large households with high hot water requirements. Most hot water systems use storage tanks. They are typically available in mild steel or stainless steel.

Stainless steel tanks are more expensive but last longer and require less maintenance than mild steel. Most storage tanks are insulated to prevent heat loss. To determine which tank size to purchase, you should consider the number of people in your household and the average time of showering or washing.

Usually, a person uses about 50 L of hot water a day. You’ll need more water if you take a long hot shower or wash your clothes frequently in hot or warm water.

Get the Best Hot Water System for Your Needs

Not all water heaters can be installed using DIY skills. And we suggest that you take help from expert plumbers in such cases. To ensure your hot water system stays in good shape, ensure it is serviced regularly by a professional.

To have your water heater installed by licensed, experienced professionals, book an appointment with Woolf Plumbing & Gas today. You get exactly what you are paying for with a 25-year workmanship warranty, no advance payments, and zero hidden costs!

Ashley Woolf

Ashley Woolf

Find them on their website: Woolf Plumbing & Gas, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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