Hot water systems can account for up to 40% of a household’s energy use and last for around 10 years, so if you are looking to replace your hot water system, choose carefully.
In an apartment building you could either have:
- A central gas system servicing the entire building
- An individual system servicing only your lot
If you have an individual system servicing only your lot and are looking to replace it, it’s important to choose the best one.
There are two basic types of hot water systems. Some systems heat the water and store it in a tank (storage systems); whilst others heat the water instantaneously, without the need for storage (instantaneous or continuous flow systems).
There are a few things to consider before choosing a system like:
- What time of day do you use hot water the most?
- How much water do you need?
- What do you use hot water for?
- What type of energy supply do you have?
If you have access to gas, gas instantaneous hot water systems are more efficient than gas storage systems. Overall, gas systems can be an efficient option, however many households are now moving away from using gas as it’s still a fossil fuel.
If electricity is your main source of energy, heat pumps are the most energy-efficient option. Heat pumps are ideal for households with higher hot water needs and space for a water storage unit. Please note, if you’re considering a split system heat pump, permission from the owners corporation is needed as the connections will most likely need to run through common property walls.
If you’re on the top floor of the apartment block, solar hot water may also be possible. However, you’ll need to get approval from the owners corporation at a general meeting and will need to draw up a by-law specifying the terms and conditions. For more information visit Green Strata’s website. It is also worth considering the roof space taken up with a solar hot water system, which only heats water, as opposed to using the same roof space for solar panels, which can provide power to other appliances (including an electric hot water system).
Use less hot water
No matter the system you have, reducing your hot water usage can have a big impact on your overall energy usage. Here are some of our favourite tips!
- Install water efficient showerheads to reduce hot & cold water usage. Showers typically use the vast majority of your hot water, and water heating often constitutes around 40% of your energy bills. This makes installing an efficient showerhead a good investment for both reducing your water and energy bills.
- Use cold water when washing your hands, shaving or cleaning your teeth
- Take shorter showers, ideally 4 minutes or less. Use a shower timer as a reminder.
- Fix leaking taps and appliances.
- Wash laundry in cold water. This can save you around $100 per year.
- Make sure the thermostat of your hot water system isn’t too high. For a storage hot water system set it to 60°C and for an instantaneous hot water system set it to 50°C. Too high a temperature means that energy is used unnecessarily.
- Maintain your hot water system and have it serviced according to manufacturer’s instructions. This will extend the life of your hot water system.
- Install tap aerators or flow controllers to reduce water flow