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Old hot water system

Stop Wasting Money on Your Old Hot Water System

Let's cut to the chase. There's a good chance you're wasting money on an old hot water system.

It doesn’t matter if you have an outdated and inefficient electric hot water system that could do with an upgrade, a natural gas storage tank unit that has seen better days, or even more recent technology like heat pumps or a solar hot water system. With the way technology constantly improves, even your 10-year-old water heater is likely letting you down in some way.

As a long-term investment, having the right hot water system for your home is crucial. And not just for the hot water itself. More than 90 per cent of your lifetime hot water expenses will be running costs and daily use. So you want to truly maximise those savings with an efficient hot water system.

Plumber Near Me has crunched the numbers to help you gain a real grasp of why hot water system upgrades and maintenance are essential.

Maintenance is More Than a Simple Tune Up

When approximately one-quarter of your energy usage goes towards water heating, you want to keep those expenses as low as possible. Regular maintenance is a great way to maintain low running costs. This applies to everything from gas hot water systems to electric instantaneous water heaters and even heat pump hot water systems.

There are some hidden factors that all combine to slowly drag performance down. Most homeowners wouldn’t even know where to look, either.

For example, the build-up of soot in gas water heaters has been known to increase energy consumption by up to 10%. Similarly, even a thin layer of limescale inside a storage tank can make gas systems suck up an additional 7% of energy as the thermal efficiency lessens.

What you can do…

A thorough clean with chemical descaling agents is often the only solution, while a hot water specialist can also safely flush the whole system out.

Other important areas of focus include insulation. Lagging is a crucial element in reducing heat loss from pipework, joints and even the hot water unit itself. Older systems are often poorly insulated, especially when compared to modern, highly efficient models.

Inadequate insulation could be wasting up to an additional 10% of energy. And when you pair that with other minor problems, the maths – and your electricity bills – quickly add up.

Energy Bills: Running the Numbers

As previously alluded to, heating water accounts for between 15% and 30% of household energy use on average. Whether that equals $250 or $1000 each year, it’s still something you can control – mostly.

Electric hot water systems are the worst of the group when it comes to energy usage. Those numbers are balanced out when solar is involved, so just remember when we say electricity we mean straight from the power grid. Heating water with off-peak electricity can be one effective way to lower your bills.

A 2014 survey by BIS Shrapnel revealed that 36% of Australian homes had an electric storage tank. Gas was the dominant fuel at 45%, with both continuous flow hot water and gas storage units being among the most popular.

Solar panels as a heating method sat a little further back at 13%. However, recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show an increase to 19% or 1 in 5 Aussies who capitalise on solar hot water.

Solar and Gas Hot Water Systems Energy Ratings

Cast your mind back to 2010 and you may remember this piece of news: the Australian Government announced electric hot water systems would no longer be allowed in new builds. It also planned to phase them out for existing homes, although that idea was never accepted.

Regardless, it begs the question as to whether you are wasting money on an old unit to heat water.

Even gas and solar hot water systems have improved considerably over the past decade, too, generating fewer greenhouse gas emissions and helping to reduce carbon footprint. The Rinnai Infinity 16 ENVIRO is one product that claims to stand above the rest with a 7-star equivalent energy rating.

On average you’d expect a quality gas instantaneous to have a 6-star rating which is elite combustion efficiency. You can also ask your technician about combustion efficiency as they can run tests on the exhaust gases and determine if a unit is performing as it should be. Or, they can let you know if there’s a better alternative.

Solar hot water systems are a tricky prospect as there are no clear-cut energy ratings. However, that’s where some expert advice and research can help.

One Final Note on Your Hot Water System Replacement

Like everything, always research ahead of any hot water replacement. You want to know the facts, figures and what new hot water system best works for you.

Think of how many people are at home, how much hot water you’ll need, the number of bathrooms, your climate and your location. It all matters.

Plus it all helps when the time for change is here. Don’t just pick up your phone and ask for the same hot water unit make and model. Just because it has done the job for 15 years doesn’t mean you need to stick with it when you need a new hot water system.

Spoiled for choice…

You don’t have to be bound to a brand name or style of the hot water system. No longer feel like you’re getting what you need from an electric hot water system? Switch to a gas continuous flow system if you want something that takes up less space or costs less to run. Stick to a storage tank if your demand is high. Perhaps solar power is an option to offset long-term costs.

The choice is yours. From natural gas storage systems to electric continuous flow systems and heat pump-powered units, there is plenty of variety in the world.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.