Your guide to hot water systems

If you're looking to lower your gas prices, you might want to start by examining the type of gas hot water system you have in your home, whether you rely on mains gas (reticulated gas) or bottled LPG.

Gas hot water systems are a great choice to heat H2O, however, and produce around 25 - 33 per cent less greenhouse gases than electric water heaters, according to the Department of Industry.

Is gas hot water the best choice for your household?

Gas hot water systems have a lower upfront set up cost than solar or heat pump hot water systems. However, one thing to keep in mind is that unless you have natural gas already connected to your home you will need to get a mains gas connection or use bottled liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Bear in mind that depending on your usage, LPG could be more expensive than natural gas.

If you live in a sunny area, you may want to consider a gas-boosted solar system as this will reduce the amount you need to spend on your gas prices while also lowering your greenhouse gas emissions. 

What are the types of gas hot water systems available?

There are two main systems and both work differently. One kind may suit your household better than the other - it is all about your individual circumstances.

Here is a small guide explaining how each one works and which homes will benefit the most from having one set up.

Instantaneous system

Also known as a continuous flow system, this machine does not have a storage tank and instead heats water only as required. This means you will not face losses from a tank.

Instead, this unit features a gas burner that heats water as it passes through a coiled pipe known as a heat exchanger. The gas burner is triggered when the hot water tap is turned on so you are only heating a small amount of water rather than continuously keeping an entire tank warm.

Storage heaters

This kind of unit has a gas burner located under a storage tank that is used to heat water. The pilot flame is continuously on and lights the main burner only when its needed.

These types of systems lose heat through their walls so they need to regularly burn gas to keep the water warm. A few tips if you have this kind of system include installing insulation around the tank to reduce the amount of heat loss and to lower the temperature by a few degrees.

Bear in mind that they do need to be at least 60 degrees Celsius to kill any dangerous bacteria or germs.

Posted by Paul Doyle.