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How to choose a Hot Water System

When you’re not sure what you’re doing, choosing a suitable hot water system can be confusing. We’ve put together a guide to help you make that choice.

What are the different types of hot water systems?

Besides the different fuels (gas, electric or solar) you can have either a heat pump, a storage tank, or what is called a continuous flow (instantaneous).

A tank stores the hot water ready for use and is the most common.

A heat pump is a more efficient form of electric storage tank system that works on the same principle as a fridge or air conditioner, by extracting heat from the air and using it to heat the water tank.

A continuous flow starts to heat water when you turn your hot tap on by circulating the water through its heat exchanger. 

With all systems, the time it takes for the hot water to arrive at the tap will depend on how far away the hot water system is from your tap.

  • Small household (1-2 people): Continuous flow HWS (gas or electric) or small gas storage HWS.
  • Medium household (3-4): Gas systems (continuous flow or storage), or a heat pump.
  • Large household (5+): Multiple continuous flow HWS may be an option but gas storage units may be more economical. Large heat pumps are also an option.

What size hot water system do I need?

It depends on the style of hot water unit, how many people and how many bathrooms need to be serviced.

You can find this information on the website of the hot water unit in the product specification.

Which is the most energy efficient hot water system?

Generally a solar, gas boosted system is the most energy efficient, but not always an option due to space, orientation and financial outlay (as it’s more of a long term investment).

Can I replace one type of hot water system with a different type?

Yes, but the cheapest option in terms of installation is same for same.

Can I buy a hot water service and get you to install it?

Yes. But if your old hot water unit was installed in a wall cavity, cupboard or has limited space around it, remember to measure it to ensure the new one will fit into the same space.

Plumbing regulations change from time to time and the way your current hot water unit is installed may no longer meet the current Australian Standards. As licenced plumbers we need to certify your work and this means the installation must be compliant with the current Australian Standards.

It’s a good idea to consult with us first so we can advise you of potential problems. Call now on 03 9311 9511.

What brand of hot water service is most reliable?

The Plumbing Code of Australia requires certain plumbing materials and products to be certified and authorised for use in Australia. This ensures that they are fit for purpose, and protects consumers from poor quality or unsafe products.

Examples of plumbing products that must be approved include:

  • hot water systems
  • toilets and sanitary ware
  • tapware
  • evaporative air conditioners
  • greywater systems.

Plumbing materials and products are regulated under the WaterMark Certification Scheme (WMCS), a mandatory national scheme administered by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB).

Your plumber will check the hot water unit you have purchased has it’s WaterMark Certification prior to installation.

We will only supply hot water units that meet this compliance.

We don’t have an affiliation with any hot water manufacturer which means we can recommend the most suitable hot water unit for your needs. We don’t take kickbacks for recommending one brand over another.

How long does a hot water system usually last?

Hot water service units will last the length of their warranty and beyond. A good example is an Aquamax stainless steel cylinder hot water storage hot water unit that comes with 12 years warranty on the cylinder, we are finding these particular units will last 18 + years.

This does not mean the components with 1 year warranty do not fail within the life of the hot water unit and require regular replacement-depending on how hard the unit is working.

What temperature should hot water be set at?

As a safety requirement and to achieve compliance with current Australian Standards, all new buildings, renovations and hot water installation alterations, must have the hot water temperature set at a maximum of 50 degrees C.

The exception to this is for premises intended for children, the elderly or people with disabilities such as early childhood centres, schools, nursing homes etc which have a maximum hot water delivery temperature of 45 degrees C.

Hot water needs to be stored above 60°C in hot water systems to prevent bacteria growth (such as Legionella), but a tempering valve ensures that the water comes out of the tap at a lower temperature.

Hot water systems installed before 5 August 1998 are unlikely to be tempered, but there are various ways of reducing the temperature of the water outlets, depending on your type of hot water system.

For the best advice, talk to a licensed or registered plumber. They may recommend:

  • installing a tempering valve, which reduces the hot water temperature in the bathroom, but does not affect the temperature in the kitchen
  • installing a thermostatic mixing valve that can be set to deliver hot water at a precise, safe temperature.

Domestic continuous flow hot water systems are preset at 50 degrees C; if you purchase additional electronic control pads you can pre-set temperature to the areas the control pads are installed in (eg reduce the kids bathroom to 45 degrees C).

What should I do if my hot water service stops working?

Call your plumber. It’s handy to have already noted: 

  • the brand
  • type (or model) of appliance 

So your plumber can let you know what they can do for you; especially if you require an estimate of cost.

What do I do if my hot water system stops working and I’m renting?

Under the The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 hot water failure is considered an urgent repair.

The first thing you need to do is contact your landlord to arrange urgent repairs. It is a good idea to confirm any contact in writing. If you request urgent repairs, the landlord must respond immediately. 

If you don’t receive a prompt response, you can engage a plumber to carry out repairs up to $1,800.00 including GST for reimbursement within 14 days.

This does not mean we will bill your real estate agent or landlord. We will issue you with a Tax Invoice and Receipt of Payment for you to submit to your agent or landlord for reimbursement.

For further information go here: https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/housing/renting/during-a-lease-or-residency/repairs-maintenance-and-changes-to-the-property/urgent-repairs/if-the-landlord-does-not-respond-to-your-request-for-urgent-repairs 

Note that this isn’t to be construed as legal advice, please always do your own research or seek advice for your circumstances.

We can get your Hot Water Service installed, call now to book 03 9311 9511.

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