Electric water heaters

How it works
Electric storage hot water systems heat water with an element in the bottom of the unit and store it in an insulated tank ready for use. Continuous systems are similar, but instead the element is coiled around the pipes to quickly heat the water inside.
Pros
Electric hot water systems have quite low up-front costs and are a reliable way to keep your water warm. Some electric hot water systems can also be pre-set to do the majority of its heating during off-peak periods to help minimise your energy bill.
Cons
Electrical hot water systems are almost always the most expensive long-term solution. They also have high greenhouse gas emissions and are generally advised against.

Gas water heaters

How it works
Storage systems use a gas burner to continuously heat and maintain water in a tank. Continuous flow systems or tankless gas water heaters use a burner which ignites only when the water is needed.
Pros
Gas hot water systems produce less greenhouse gas emissions than electric systems. Additionally, depending on your location, gas systems are usually considered to have lower usage rates compared to electricity, making them the most cost-effective option long term.
Cons
Gas hot water systems are only really viable if you’re connected to mains gas, as using gas bottles is more expensive and you could end up running out of hot water. Gas hot water systems must also be located outside, or have an exhaust vent if they are located inside.

Solar water heaters

How it works
Solar hot water systems are storage units which generate heat from the sun using panels mounted on the roof of the property. This heat is used to warm and maintain the water in your tank.
Pros
Solar hot water systems are able to reduce your hot water systems energy consumption by up to 90%, significantly saving on your power bill. Solar hot water systems are also the most environmentally friendly option and energy efficient.
Cons
Solar hot water systems have the highest up-front costs – anywhere from $2,000 to $7,000 after rebates depending on the system size, and excluding installation costs. Some solar hot water systems can be unreliable on overcast days, though most models will kick-over to gas or electric back-up heating if the water isn’t hot enough.

Heat pump water heaters

How it works
Heat pumps have a fan that draws warm air into the system, which is transferred to the water storage tank. Like a reverse fridge. Rather than pumping out hot air to keep your fridge cool, it pumps hot air in to heat the system up. Heat pumps circulate water from the storage tank through a compressor using Co2 refigerant and the hot air drawn in from the outside tempreture to heat the water and send it back to the storage tank.
Pros
Heat pumps are one of the most energy efficient hot water solutions. While they need electricity to run, they are roughly three times more efficient than traditional electric water heaters.
Cons
Heat pumps are only suitable in warm environments. While some heat pumps do come with boosters, if the climate isn’t suitable, there is little benefit in spending the extra money on a heap pump. Fortunately, the majority of Australia has a climate perfectly suited to Heat Pumps.


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