How can I make my water heater more efficient?

The decisions you make surrounding your hot water storage systems can affect your gas and electricity prices, so here are some of the ways to make this essential item more efficient.

Firstly, you will need to consider what kind of water heating system suits your family best, based on the size of your household and the energy source you have, whether that be electricity, gas or solar power.

You want to make sure your household has enough hot water to complete all your daily tasks.

Gas and electricity comparison

If you are tossing up between these fuel types, it is best to do a comparison to find out which will be the best option for your household.

Electric models have a lower upfront cost but may be pricier than their counterparts in the long run, with higher operating costs.

However, you can receive discounted electricity prices if you use a night tariff, making the running costs lower.

Gas water heating systems give you more options to consider. There are both continuous flow and cylinder models to choose from.

Continuous flow heaters give you limitless hot water, which may seem wonderful but can lead to a higher consumption of this liquid, so it might be more expensive.

However, gas heaters can be placed outside, which is great if you are working with a small space and both continuous and cylinder models have lower operating costs than electric models.

Plus, there is no need to worry about power cuts, since gas cylinders will still operate without the need for electricity.

Once you have decided whether gas or electric heaters work best, make sure you take a look at the different models as some may be more efficient than others.

What about solar power?

Solar powered water systems are the cheapest in terms of operating costs. However, they do come with a substantial upfront cost and it may also be necessary to have a backup system if the sun's rays do not produce enough energy to heat enough water.

How to make hot water systems more efficient

Once you have picked the perfect water heater, there are a few things you can change that will help to lower your electricity or gas prices.

For example, wrapping your hot water cylinders in insulation will result in savings as this prevents any heat from seeping out.

You may also want to insulate any pipes to keep the heat from escaping. One thing to be aware of, though, is that you can't use cylinder wrap on a gas hot water system as this could be dangerous.

Reducing the temperature on your hot water system may be another way to reduce your costs. Make sure you lower it to no less than 60 degrees Celsius, however, as this is enough to prevent the growth of Legionella bacteria.

Posted by Tim Wolfenden.