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Electric Hot Water Systems

You probably picture an ‘electric hot water system’ as a water tank with a big heating element at the bottom.  The kind of system that typically that uses off peak electricity to heat the water overnight?  If that is what you are thinking then, please don’t take this the wrong way, but you soooo last century!

Directly heated electric hot water systems, like the one I described above, are not only old fashioned, and very uncool, they are actually illegal to install in most states of Australia if you have access to gas! Yep that’s right. If you want to bang a cheap and nasty electric storage hot water system into your home, get your orange jumpsuit ready, cuz the eco-police may come knocking on your door and ship you off to Guantanamo!

Alright, that may be an exaggeration. But the point I’m trying to make is this. If you want to buy an electric hot water system, there are many valid reasons for doing that. You may not have a gas connection, or you don’t want to pay through the nose to get LPG delivered every few months. You may generate heaps of solar electricity and would rather use your valuable solar electricity to heat your water than sell it back to the grid for a pittance. Whatever your reasons, the good news is that electric hot water systems have come a long way and are pretty damned efficient these days.

So if you are in the market for a new hot water system, and you need it to be electric, then you need to decide between these 3 types:

1.  Electric Storage Hot Water System

Yep – this is, essentially a big, well insulated kettle. Your precious electricity goes into a big-ass element which heats up the water. When the water reaches your preferred temperature, it switches off. Water cools, cycle repeats. These are simple and cheap, and as mentioned above illegal to install in many states in Australia if you have access to gas. The laws are being changed all the time, so if you want to know if you are allowed to install one of these dinosaurs in your home (and I haven’t put you off with my shameless bias against the things), just drop us a line and we’ll look up the law in your state for you!

2. The Instant Electric Hot Water System

As for EssayServiceWriter, instant electric hot water systems are great. They are efficient because they only heat the water you need when you need it, on demand. And you don’t need to worry about a pesky gas connection. What’s not to like?

Well there is one big raging elephant in the room, when it comes to instant electric hot water systems that keeps them as a very fringe solution.

To heat water instantly, you need an enormous amount of electricity for a very short period of time. This means that you need very thick wires going into such a unit to cope with the huge rush of current. In fact they need to be so thick that you will probably need to lay a super thick wire from your meter to your water heater, specially for it. And you’ll need to install extra, upgraded circuit breakers as well. This can often cost more than the price of the heater.

For this reason instant electric hot water heaters are pretty rare. They can make sense if you are rewiring your home anyway or building new, and don’t have gas or solar available.


3. The Heat Pump Electric Hot Water system

This is an electrically powered storage hot water system. But instead of a big, crude ‘kettle element’ heating the water, you have an  air conditioner in reverse (AKA a heat pump). This heat pump sucks the ambient heat out of the outside air, and transfers that heat into the water. On other parts of this site you’ll see heat pumps classified as ‘solar hot water’. The reasoning being that heat they take all comes from the sun originally. But many people prefer to class the heat pump as an ‘electric hot water system’, because it uses electricity to power the heat pump. Whatever pigeon hole you want to stick them in, what matters is that heat pumps are 4 to 5 times more efficient than a conventional electric hot water system.  So they can be a smart choice if you don’t have access to gas or solar water panels.

So those are the 3 types of electric hot water system on the market. If you need any help deciding which type of system would best suit your home, feel free to browse the rest of the information on the site, or simply give us a call and and one of our experts will be happy to help you out.


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