The 17 Things

Efficient hot water systems such as solar hot water systems, electric heat pump systems, gas storage systems and instantaneous gas have the potential to deliver substantial savings on energy bills. From allowing you to wash dishes at the correct temperature to taking a warm relaxing shower they also impact health and comfort.

No 12: Efficient Hot Water System

The 17 Things

What Is It?

Space heating and hot water heating are the main users of energy in the home. So efficient hot water systems have the potential to deliver substantial savings on energy bills.

The two main types of hot water systems are storage and instantaneous systems. These can be powered by electricity, gas or solar; they include solar hot water systems, electric heat pump systems, high rated gas storage systems and instantaneous gas.

Storage hot water systems heat the water and store it in a tank. Hot water is used from the top and replaced by a cold layer at the bottom. The heater at the bottom reheats water when the thermostat detects a drop in temperature. Storage hot water systems are insulated but still lose energy and the water will constantly need to be reheated to reach the set temperature. You may be left with no hot water when the hot water is used faster than the cold water can be heated up. Solar systems can have the tank located either in the roof (close-coupled) or on the ground (split).

Instantaneous hot water systems heat water as you go and only the amount required. When you turn on the tap, cold water flows through a heat exchanger. The size of the system you need depends on the number of hot water outlets the system is connected to.

Solar-plat-plate

An flat plate solar hot water system.
Image credit to ©iStock.com/ vittavat-a

Solar hot water systems use solar collectors to absorb energy from the sun. Water is heated by the sun as it passes through the collectors. It then flows into an insulated storage tank for later use. There are two main types of solar hot water system corresponding to the two main types of collector: flat plate and evacuated tube.

For flat plate solar hot water systems it’s important that they system is orientated generally north and not shaded during the day by nearby trees or buildings.

In frost-prone areas, the water can freeze and damage the flat panels, so ask for frost-tolerant panels (rather than heating the water directly they use a heat-exchange fluid to heat the tank)

solar_tube

An evacuated tube solar hot water system.
Image credits to Spec-Net www.spec-net.com

Evacuated tube solar hot water systems are able to catch the sun from many different angles due to their tubular construction so this is is not as important for these systems.

Hot water heat pump systems are based on the same technology used in refrigerators and reverse cycle air-conditioners and require up to 80% less energy year-round than conventional hot water systems. They work by extracting low-grade heat from the air, concentrating it and dumping it into the water in a storage tank.

An efficient gas hot water system will have a gas energy rating label that indicates the system’s efficiency and shows an estimated annual energy consumption of the system. A model with a high gas energy rating will cost less to run. There are two types of gas hot water systems – gas storage systems store water in a tank until you need it, while instantaneous gas systems only heat the amount of water you need.

How will it help me reduce my running costs and increase my comfort?

Hot water is important to achieving health and comfort in the home – from allowing you to wash dishes at the correct temperature to taking a warm relaxing shower.

According to Sanctuary magazine, updating your hot water service in your home is one of the best ways to save money on energy bills and lighten your environmental impact. Most solar or heat pump hot water system installations involve the replacement of existing conventional gas or electric water heaters.

Heating water accounts for about one-quarter of an Australian household’s energy use. As electricity and gas become more expensive, efficient and lower emission hot water systems will help reduce running costs. For a property’s hot water system to be energy efficient it also needs to be the correct size for the house and its occupants, well positioned and appropriate for the climate.

A solar hot water system can supply 50–95% of your household hot water demand. The percentage depends on where you live; from about 50% in Hobart to around 95% in Darwin.

What professional should I talk to about this?

The Centre for Liveability Real Estate always recommends you consult further with any relevant specialist design or building consultants or assessors before making any decision regarding your specific property based on the Liveability Property Marketing Features™.

Choosing the most efficient hot water system which delivers the best performance for you needs depends on a variety of factors such as how much hot water you use, how much time you spend using hot water, the size of your house, how many people are living in your house, the energy sources available in your location and the cost of energy available to you.
The cost of a water heater is more than just how much the unit costs to buy. You also need to be mindful about the cost of installation and the maintenance and running costs. And don’t forget to ask about the warranty as well as there may be a different warranty on particular parts of the hot water system such as the compressor.

If you’re looking to purchase a hot water system, speak with your local retailer about which system is right for you and be sure to check the star-rating label. Your local energy retailer, department store and even hardware store can also provide specific information about the range of efficient hot water systems available.

If you are adding the system during the design and planning stage, licensed plumbers and electricians are skilled in helping you find the right efficient hot water system for your home. Your builder, architect or building design professional will be able to assist you, or the hot water system may be included in a new home build or renovation by HIA GreenSmart builders and designersMaster Builders Green Living buildersBDA and BDAV (VIC only) building designers.

 

Is there anything I need to know before I meet with them?

Recognising the labelling on your gas and electric heat pump system is important to ensure you are purchasing the most efficient system you can.

Being clear about what you want to achieve is important, as is having a clear understanding of the basics, so you can have confidence they know what they are talking about.

Understanding the climate zone of your property and its orientation will also help as some efficient hot water systems may not be appropriate for your home. For example, depending on your home’s orientation, there may not be enough access to the sun to allow optimal output for a solar hot water system.

For solar hot water: “A four-person household typically needs about four square metres of solar collector area (two panels) and a 300–360L tank. You need a large tank to allow for days with less sunlight (or more hot showers than usual).” (Choice.com.au)

You may also be eligible for an energy rebate to assist with your efficient hot water purchase. See Liveability’s list of current energy rebates for more information.

What is the price range I can expect?

The price depends on the system you are looking for and what’s available. Your local retailer will be able to assist you with finding the price for the system you want.

Generally, solar hot water systems can range from $1500 to $6000. Heat pumps (water heating only) can range from $2800 to $4500.

You should check if the hot water system you want to purchase and install is eligible for a government rebate or incentives from your retailer. Check out our list of Current Energy Rebates.

Where can I find more information?

There are several good sources for further reading, but the single best place to start is the Your Home: Australia’s Guide to Environmentally Sustainable Homes, with its excellent introduction to hot water service. The ATA’s Efficient Hot Water booklet also provides a great overview of energy efficient hot water systems.

CHOICE has a comprehensive guide to buying hot water systems, which provides details about the different systems available, and how they work.

To find the star of a particular gas or electric hot water system, see the Australian Government’s E3 Energy Rating website, which allows you to search by brand and product number. The Australian Government’s Your Savings website also provides information on how to read energy labels. There is also a consumer guide to heat pump systems.

The Energy Rating app is a great tool to find the running costs of your household appliances anytime or anywhere, on an iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, Android™ and Windows Phone. When comparing different appliances or equipment it’s important to look at comparative energy consumption, which is shown in kilowatt hours, rather than just the number of stars.

Information about current energy rebates you may be eligible for can be found on Liveability.

If I already have this feature, is there anything I need to know about using it effectively?

Check the thermostat setting on your hot water system is set at 60°C.

If it’s set higher you will be wasting energy but any lower could pose a health risk as harmful bacteria may thrive. Considering that hot water is used to clean our dishes, the laundry and our bodies, meeting the minimum water temperature is essential to the health of all occupants.

Healthhabitat’s Housing for Health – The Guide notes that hot water should be stored at no less than 60°C to prevent growth of harmful organisms; the hot water temperature of the shower, bathtub and hand basin should be tempered to a maximum of 50°C to prevent scalding; and a minimum hot water temperature of 45°C is required at all hot water outlets allowing for temperature loss between the hot water system and the outlets.

Instantaneous hot water systems should be set to no more than 50°C. Setting the temperature on some types of hot water systems requires a plumber or electrician. Make sure that the temperature is not too high as it can then cause severe burns, particularly to children and the elderly.

Does this work better when combined with any of the other 17 Things™?

Efficient hot water systems work best when combined with No. 15 Water Efficiency Devices, mainly showerheads with high WELS star ratings. This ensures that you only need to heat a minimum of water because of the efficiency of the devices. So you reduce your running cost on both levels. Water saving showerheads can be easily fitted to existing shower arms. Incentive programs differ between states and some energy retailers often run exchange programs, so check with them before purchasing a showerhead.

Will this feature be recognised when I sell my property?

Yes; Liveability Real Estate Specialist sales agents and property managers have been upskilled to identify an additional 17 Things™ on top of a standard property appraisal. So if you have invested in any of the 17 Things™ this means your property will be appraised and marketed with real skill and with the best marketing resources for online and print media.

You can book a free property appraisal with a Liveability Real Estate Specialist any time you’re ready to sell or even if you’re not planning to sell for a couple of years. Each of the 17 Things™ has appraisal benchmarks (relevant to existing and new homes) which have been set by relevant industry partners to make sure we deliver a high standard of property marketing. So your Liveability Real Estate Specialist will work through this appraisal checklist with you as they move through your home. It’s a great chance for you to let them know about all the property features you have invested in.


Any questions?

We’re here to help! Just send us your enquiry.

What Is It?

Space heating and hot water heating are the main users of energy in the home. So efficient hot water systems have the potential to deliver substantial savings on energy bills.

The two main types of hot water systems are storage and instantaneous systems. These can be powered by electricity, gas or solar; they include solar hot water systems, electric heat pump systems, high rated gas storage systems and instantaneous gas.

Storage hot water systems heat the water and store it in a tank. Hot water is used from the top and replaced by a cold layer at the bottom. The heater at the bottom reheats water when the thermostat detects a drop in temperature. Storage hot water systems are insulated but still lose energy and the water will constantly need to be reheated to reach the set temperature. You may be left with no hot water when the hot water is used faster than the cold water can be heated up. Solar systems can have the tank located either in the roof (close-coupled) or on the ground (split).

Instantaneous hot water systems heat water as you go and only the amount required. When you turn on the tap, cold water flows through a heat exchanger. The size of the system you need depends on the number of hot water outlets the system is connected to.

Solar-plat-plate

An flat plate solar hot water system.
Image credit to ©iStock.com/ vittavat-a

Solar hot water systems use solar collectors to absorb energy from the sun. Water is heated by the sun as it passes through the collectors. It then flows into an insulated storage tank for later use. There are two main types of solar hot water system corresponding to the two main types of collector: flat plate and evacuated tube.

For flat plate solar hot water systems it’s important that they system is orientated generally north and not shaded during the day by nearby trees or buildings.

In frost-prone areas, the water can freeze and damage the flat panels, so ask for y frost-tolerant panels (rather than heating the water directly they use a heat-exchange fluid to heat the tank)

solar_tube

An evacuated tube solar hot water system.
Image credits to Spec-Net www.spec-net.com

Evacuated tube solar hot water systems are able to catch the sun from many different angles due to their tubular construction so this is is not as important for these systems.

Hot water heat pump systems are based on the same technology used in refrigerators and reverse cycle air-conditioners and require up to 80% less energy year-round than conventional hot water systems. They work by extracting low-grade heat from the air, concentrating it and dumping it into the water in a storage tank.

An efficient gas hot water system will have a gas energy rating label that indicates the system’s efficiency and shows an estimated annual energy consumption of the system. A model with a high gas energy rating will cost less to run. There are two types of gas hot water systems – gas storage systems store water in a tank until you need it, while instantaneous gas systems only heat the amount of water you need.

How will it help me reduce my running costs and increase my comfort?

Hot water is important to achieving health and comfort in the home – from allowing you to wash dishes at the correct temperature to taking a warm relaxing shower.

According to Sanctuary magazine, updating your hot water service in your home is one of the best ways to save money on energy bills and lighten your environmental impact. Most solar or heat pump hot water system installations involve the replacement of existing conventional gas or electric water heaters.

Heating water accounts for about one-quarter of an Australian household’s energy use. As electricity and gas become more expensive, efficient and lower emission hot water systems will help reduce running costs. For a property’s hot water system to be energy efficient it also needs to be the correct size for the house and its occupants, well positioned and appropriate for the climate.

A solar hot water system can supply 50–95% of your household hot water demand. The percentage depends on where you live; from about 50% in Hobart to around 95% in Darwin.

What professional should I talk to about this?

The Centre for Liveability Real Estate always recommends you consult further with any relevant specialist design or building consultants or assessors before making any decision regarding your specific property based on the Liveability Property Marketing Features™.

Choosing the most efficient hot water system which delivers the best performance for you needs depends on a variety of factors such as how much hot water you use, how much time you spend using hot water, the size of your house, how many people are living in your house, the energy sources available in your location and the cost of energy available to you.
The cost of a water heater is more than just how much the unit costs to buy. You also need to be mindful about the cost of installation and the maintenance and running costs. And don’t forget to ask about the warranty as well as there may be a different warranty on particular parts of the hot water system such as the compressor.

If you’re looking to purchase a hot water system, speak with your local retailer about which system is right for you and be sure to check the star-rating label. Your local energy retailer, department store and even hardware store can also provide specific information about the range of efficient hot water systems available.

If you are adding the system during the design and planning stage, licensed plumbers and electricians are skilled in helping you find the right efficient hot water system for your home. Your builder, architect or building design professional will be able to assist you, or the hot water system may be included in a new home build or renovation by HIA GreenSmart builders and designersMaster Builders Green Living builders, and BDA building designers.

 

Is there anything I need to know before I meet with them?

Recognising the labelling on your gas and electric heat pump system is important to ensure you are purchasing the most efficient system you can.

Being clear about what you want to achieve is important, as is having a clear understanding of the basics, so you can have confidence they know what they are talking about.

Understanding the climate zone of your property and its orientation will also help as some efficient hot water systems may not be appropriate for your home. For example, depending on your home’s orientation, there may not be enough access to the sun to allow optimal output for a solar hot water system.

For solar hot water: “A four-person household typically needs about four square metres of solar collector area (two panels) and a 300–360L tank. You need a large tank to allow for days with less sunlight (or more hot showers than usual)” (Choice.com.au)

You may also be eligible for an energy rebate to assist with your efficient hot water purchase. See Liveability’s list of current energy rebates for more information.

What is the price range I can expect?

The price depends on the system you are looking for and what’s available. Your local retailer will be able to assist you with finding the price for the system you want.

Generally, solar hot water systems can range from $1500 to $6000. Heat pumps (water heating only) can range from $2800 to $4500.

You should check if the hot water system you want to purchase and install is eligible for a government rebate or incentives from your retailer. Check out our list of Current Energy Rebates.

Where can I find more information?

There are several good sources for further reading, but the single best place to start is the Your Home: Australia’s Guide to Environmentally Sustainable Homes, with its excellent introduction to hot water service. The ATA’s Efficient Hot Water booklet also provides a great overview of energy efficient hot water systems.

CHOICE has a comprehensive guide to buying hot water systems, which provides details about the different systems available, and how they work.

To find the star of a particular gas or electric hot water system, see the Australian Government’s E3 Energy Rating website, which allows you to search by brand and product number. The Australian Government’s Your Savings website also provides information on how to read energy labels. There is also a consumer guide to heat pump systems.

The Energy Rating app is a great tool to find the running costs of your household appliances anytime or anywhere, on an iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, Android™ and Windows Phone. When comparing different appliances or equipment it’s important to look at comparative energy consumption, which is shown in kilowatt hours, rather than just the number of stars.

Information about current energy rebates you may be eligible for can be found on Liveability.

COOLmob also has information on designing for the tropics  that include efficient hot water systems.

Your local council and state or territory government may also have free information available for you to download, such as the Queensland Government and their tips for smart and sustainable homes. Make sure to look out for resources specific to the tropical climate.

If I already have this feature, is there anything I need to know about using it effectively?

Install water efficient showerheads

One of the best ways to save both water and energy is to install an efficient showerhead. Water saving showerheads can be easily fitted to existing shower arms. Rebates may be available and prices start from $20. Incentive programs differ between states, some energy retailers run exchange programs, so check with them before purchasing a showerhead.

Check the thermostat setting on your hot water system is set at 60°C.

If it’s set higher you will be wasting energy but any lower could pose a health risk as harmful bacteria may thrive. Considering that hot water is used to clean our dishes, the laundry and our bodies, meeting the minimum water temperature is essential to the health of all occupants.

Healthhabitat’s Housing for Health – The Guide notes that hot water should be stored at no less than 60°C to prevent growth of harmful organisms; the hot water temperature of the shower, bathtub and hand basin should be tempered to a maximum of 50°C to prevent scalding; and a minimum hot water temperature of 45°C is required at all hot water outlets allowing for temperature loss between the hot water system and the outlets.

Instantaneous hot water systems should be set to no more than 50°C. Setting the temperature on some types of hot water systems requires a plumber or electrician. Make sure that the temperature is not too high as it can then cause severe burns, particularly to children and the elderly.

Does this work better when combined with any of the other 17 Things™?

Efficient hot water systems work best when combined with No. 15 Water Efficiency Devices, mainly showerheads with high WELS star ratings. This ensures that you only need to heat a minimum of water because of the efficiency of the devices. So you reduce your running cost on both levels. Water saving showerheads can be easily fitted to existing shower arms. Incentive programs differ between states and some energy retailers often run exchange programs, so check with them before purchasing a showerhead.

Will this feature be recognised when I sell my property?

Yes; Liveability Real Estate Specialist sales agents and property managers have been upskilled to identify an additional 17 Things™ on top of a standard property appraisal. So if you have invested in any of the 17 Things™ this means your property will be appraised and marketed with real skill and with the best marketing resources for online and print media.

You can book a free property appraisal with a Liveability Real Estate Specialist any time you’re ready to sell or even if you’re not planning to sell for a couple of years. Each of the 17 Things™ has appraisal benchmarks (relevant to existing and new homes) which have been set by relevant industry partners to make sure we deliver a high standard of property marketing. So your Liveability Real Estate Specialist will work through this appraisal checklist with you as they move through your home. It’s a great chance for you to let them know about all the property features you have invested in.


Any questions?

We’re here to help! Just send us your enquiry.

The 17 Things

The 17 Things

The 17 Things™ are property features that have the potential to reduce running costs and increase comfort if used correctly. You can discuss incorporating these into your renovation with with your architect, building designer or builder. The real estate industry is now identifying these Liveability Property Features™at point of sale or rent through agents that have completed additional training as Liveability Real Estate Specialists.