Choose the right appliance
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There are different hot water systems available to suit your family's needs. Because hot water usage may account for up to 20% of your home's annual energy use, it's important to choose the most appropriate system so it can save you money and help the environment.
These are available in electric or natural gas models. They store hot water in an insulated cylinder ready for immediate use. The thermostat keeps the water at a set temperature — when you use hot water, it is drawn out of the tank and replaced with cold water. The change in temperature activates the element or burner, which reheats the water to the temperature set by the thermostat.
Natural gas hot water systems have an Australian Gas Association (AGA) star rating — the more stars, the more energy efficient it is.
Natural gas continuous flow hot water systems heat the water as you use it. This system can give you an endless supply of hot water and can be connected to control panels that will deliver the water at the temperature you require. Continuous flow systems are very efficient.
Solar hot water
The majority of your energy costs during the summer months are used on hot water, so it makes sense to reduce this by using a natural resource — the sun — to heat your water.
In summer a solar hot water system should supply most of your hot water needs. However, in cold or overcast weather you will need to use another energy source, such as electricity or natural gas, to act as a booster to ensure a plentiful supply of hot water.
Consider using a gas-boosted solar system to reduce greenhouse emissions by around 75% when compared to an electric hot water system.
An electric-boosted solar system may be connected to an off-peak electricity plan if the tank size is more than 250 litres.
Check with your local council as a government rebate may be available for the purchase and installation of a solar hot water system.
Electric single element models can take advantage of ActewAGL's off-peak tariff. Water is heated for up to eight hours at night and five hours during the day, so you can have hot water all the time.
The following guide gives you the recommended hot water system size to get the most benefit from the electric off-peak tariff.
Up to 2 bedrooms
Up to 3 bedrooms
A heat pump hot water system extracts energy from the atmosphere during the day, night or rain, and operates on the same principles as a refrigerator. Refrigerant transfers heat that is extracted by energy collectors. The only electrical energy that is used is for the compressor — and that's around 1/3 the power required by conventional water heaters. No booster element is used and this system is a winner in reducing greenhouse emissions.
Visit an ActewAGL Energy Shop to obtain advice on a hot water system to best suit your needs.
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