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Running Hot

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Replacing a hot water system is often done in a hurry in order to avoid weeks of cold showers when the old system finally throws in the towel. Investing a little time to explore the current options, however, will not only save money it’s also likely to be kinder on the environment.

Water heating in the home can account for around a quarter of typical household energy use. And an older electric system produces about four tonnes of greenhouse gases per year on average – this is similar to the output of the family car.

The two main types of water systems available these days are storage and instantaneous. Instantaneous systems warm the water on demand, while in storage heaters it’s held in a tank for when it’s needed. The three most popular ways to heat the water in either system is with electricity, gas or solar power.

Gas-boosted solar systems are generally considered the greenest option (and most economical in the long run) but won’t necessarily suit all homes. For example, if you rarely see the sun at your place, purchasing a solar powered unit would be very unwise.

Points to consider when investigating your options include: how many people live in your home, how much hot water you use and when you use it (e.g. do you all shower in the morning or evening, do you wash clothes in hot or cold water, etc) and do you have natural gas available in your area. Also, budget and operating costs should be carefully mulled over.

A good hot water system provider can analyse your home and usage patterns and recommend the most appropriate options. Government rebates may also apply so don’t forget to ask. Obtaining several quotes from a few different suppliers is recommended to guarantee you get a good deal.

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