How To Choose a Home Hot Water Heater
You need to replace your hot water system. You are thinking through your choices. Here are your options.
Like For Like
The cheapest option is replacing your hot water system, like for like. If you’ve got a Rheem storage unit you get another Rheem storage unit installed. The advantage of this is that the plumbing connections are normally in about the same spot. Your plumber can just disconnect the old tank, drain it out, wheel the new one in, connect it and fill it, and it should be as easy as that.
These days people want to replace storage hot water systems with continuous flow units. This is mainly because people don’t ever want to run out of hot water and they are highly efficient. Continuous hot water systems heat the water as it is needed. The water comes into the unit, goes around a heating jacket and heats up on demand. You could run the hot water tap 24/7 and it wouldn’t run out. They are also smaller. They are usually just a box that’s mounted on the wall rather than quite a big storage tank. They are more efficient because they use less gas. This makes them a cheaper option than a storage unit in terms of running costs.
The downside to continuous flow hot water systems is that you generally have to run a new gas line from the gas metre to the hot water unit. That’s because when they burn gas, they burn a lot more gas through a thicker gas pipe. The efficiency comes about because they only burn gas when it’s needed.
Sometimes people have the gas metre on the same side of the house as their hot water unit, and so it’s not that hard to install a new gas line. In other circumstances, like a small apartment block, you have to go up the wall and through the roof and all around to get the gas there. That is more expensive. A lot of people still do go with this option because they’d rather spend the money now and have the benefits later on.
Continuous Flow Hot Water Frees Up Space
A continuous flow unit does allow you to free up space down the side of your house. You might be able to walk down the side of your house easier. Some people will change from a storage hot water unit to a continuous flow because maybe they’re building a deck out the back and want the space. They’d rather have something that’s a bit smaller and easy to deal with rather than this big unit in the way.
Most new houses will be built with a continuous flow hot water unit because of the benefits of using this hot water unit.
Solar Water Heater
Solar water heating is increasingly popular. There are costs upfront for the installation as you have to run plumbing from the storage tank down the bottom, up on to the roof. You also need to install the collector on the roof. The collector is the solar panel that heats the water using the sun’s energy.
In the past, we’ve mostly installed solar in new homes. As interest grows and power costs rise there will be increasing numbers of people wanting to change over. Sometimes people think they won’t work well in cold climates but they work just fine because of the booster that tops up the temperature.
The Heat Pump
There is one more option, which is a heat pump. They draw the heat from the air and heat the hot water and they work even if it the outside air isn’t that warm. We’ve installed these and been impressed with how well they work. They’re maybe not the cheapest to install at the moment, but they are the way of the future because of the move away from fossil fuels.
Check out your hot water unit and how old it is. If it’s old, start thinking about getting it replaced. That way you’ll have time to think through your options and make a plan. If you wait for the awful cold shower day it becomes an emergency and you lose the opportunity to make strategic changes that will help your budget in the long term.