As hot water heater experts, “How do you choose an electric hot water system?” is a question we are often asked.
We are hot water experts in Canberra Australia. However, regardless of where you live, as with any plumbing system, we always recommend that you try to buy an electric hot water system that is made in or near the country that you live in. If you can’t find a locally made electric hot water heater, purchase your hot water heater from a nationally recognised plumbing merchant or buy a well-known brand. Taking these steps will be of benefit whenever you need electric hot water heater spare parts or service.
If you are choosing a new electric hot water system for a new home the choice is easy and endless. In most countries there are certain energy efficiency bench marks that must be met when building a new home. Therefore, you may only have to choose the size and brand. Each manufacturer will publish the number of people that their hot water system models will serve.
If you are choosing a new electric hot water system as a replacement for an old existing electric hot water system, the first step is to determine what type of electric hot water heater you currently have.
Changing the location of the system, the size of water pipes and the energy source can be very expensive. These costs should be weighed up against the possible gains of changing from one type of hot water heater to another. For example, replacing an electric storage hot water system with an electric storage hot water system has low capital costs, but the running costs of electric storage hot water heaters are high. Changing from an electric hot water heater to a solar hot water heater has high capital costs, but the running costs for solar hot water heaters are low. However, the repair costs of a solar hot water system is 3 – 5 times higher than the repair costs of electric hot water systems.
Before you choose a replacement hot water system, you need to know what type you currently have.
This is a list of the known termiologies for electric hot water systems
Electric hot water storage tanks can also be refered to as
Electric hot water cylinders, Mains pressure hot water systems, Electric hot water boilers, Hot water geysers, Electric hot water systems, Electric hot water heaters, Off peak hot water systems, Hot water vessels, Electric heat pumps and Heat pump hot water heaters.
Storage-type hot water systems are available as Single element hot water systems or Twin element hot water systems.
Instant electric hot water systems are also referred to as Continuous flow electric hot water heaters, Continuous flow hot water heaters, Instant hot water boilers, Boilng water units, Hot water geysers, Single and 3-Phase hot water systems and Open vented hot water systems, tankless hot water heater.
Heat pump hot water systems can also be refered to as
Solar hot water systems, Heat pump hot water heaters and Electric hot water systems, Storage hot water systems.
Off peak hot water systems
These fit into the category of electric hot water storage tanks. They are defined by their capacity, the number of elements they have and the type and timing of power supplied to them by your electricity provider.
In Canberra, single element hot water systems above 160 litres in capacity can be wired to either continuous tarriff or off peak power. Single element systems are likely to have two off peak heating cycles. One in the middle of the day and one in the middle of the night.
Twin element hot water systems will be supplied with both off peak electricity and continuous tarriff electricity. They will have one off peak heating cycling via the bottom element in the middle of the night. The top element will only heat water during periods of high demand. If you currently have a twin element hot water system it is not advised that you replace it with a single element hot water system.
Choosing Continuous tarriff hot water storage systems
A continuous tarriff hot water system will be of the storage or continous flow type. Electricity will be supplied to the heating element as soon as the thermostat detects that the water in the system is getting cooler. This may be through natural heat loss or hot water draw off.
The power supply to electric hot water storage tanks is 240 volt, single phase, and is not compatible with all of house electric continuous flow hot water systems that operate on 415 volt power supplies. In Australia, hot water storage vessels are availble from 11 litres up to 400 litres capacity.
Choosing a Continuous flow hot water system
Continuous flow hot water heater, also referred to as instant electric hot water systems, come in two types. The 240 volt, single phase, electric instant hot water systems have low flow rates and will not supply hot water to more than one fixture at a time. The 415 Volt, 3 phase, continuous flow hot water systems are designed for all of house applications. Most homes do not have a 415 volt power supply. Therefore, changing from any other type of hot water system to a 3 phase electric continuous flow hot water system may not be possible. Replacing a 3 phase continuous flow hot water system with a 3 phase continuos flow hot water system has low capital costs. They take up very little room making them ideal for flats and units. However, they have high running costs and short lives.
Choosing a Heat pump hot water system
Heat pump hot water heaters are available in compact form or split form.
A Compact heat pump has the condenser and compressor attached to the hot water storage tank. A compact heat pump will be installed outside, where there is ample air flow. In the southern hemisphere, it is best to install these on the north or western side of the building where the air will be its warmest. In the northern hemisphere, the south or western side of the building is best.
A split heat pump hot water heater allows the condenser and compressor to be installed remote of the hot water storage cylinder. The hot water storage cylinder can be installed inside. The condenser and compressor unit must be installed outside where there is ample air flow.
Heat pump hot water heaters have high capital costs and low running costs. If you have an electric storage hot water system, it is likely that you can replace it with a heat pump hot water system.
With this information you are ready to choose a new electric hot water system for your home or work.
If you need further help on how to choose a new electric hot water system,
feel free to contact 6 Star Hot Water & Plumbing Canberra.