Renovating? Things to know about hot water systems and usage

Did you know, next to heating and cooling, hot water is one of the highest contributors to a household energy bill?

It’s easy to see how. You do a load of laundry, the dishwasher goes on, then everyone in the household has a hot shower. Before you know it, that’s a solid day’s hot water usage.

You may also be surprised by how much energy is used before the hot water tap is even turned on to get it hot (and keep it that way).

So, when it comes to finding ways to save energy and money, your hot water system and usage can be a good place to start. Even better, if you’re planning on renovating your bathroom or laundry, add ‘hot water’ to the list.

Here are some of things you should know about hot water systems and usage to help you get started.

Choose a heating method

The first decision you need to make is what heating method is best suited to you and your household. There are four main types of heating methods: gas, electricity, solar and heat pump. Whilst electricity may have made our lives easier in many ways, natural gas remains more affordable with lower running costs.

Instantaneous vs storage gas hot water systems

The kind of hot water system you run can make a big difference to your gas bill. There are two main kinds, an instantaneous system or storage system. A storage system heats a large amount of hot water – usually between 135 and 170 litres - and keeps it hot ready for use throughout the day. Whereas an instantaneous system only heats the water as you use it, so the system doesn’t waste gas on heating water that’s not being used. Because of this, instantaneous systems are much cheaper to run and – even better – they won’t run out halfway through your shower.

Energy efficient choices

The choices you make about hot water usage can also save energy and ongoing costs. Here are our top five tips –

1. Go ‘Eco’

Washing with hot water can add up on your gas bill, as well as electricity and water bills. Most whiteware appliances will have an “eco” mode, which washes clothes or dishes for a shorter time at a lower temperature. This feature can make a big difference, and not just on your gas bill.

2. Reduce the water temperature

Even if you have made the switch to an instantaneous gas hot water system, you can save money by lowering the temperature it heats to.

3. Shower head

You can save even more hot water by switching to a low-flow shower head.

4. Pipes

While you’re there, consider patching any leaks and insulating your pipework - this will save any wasted hot water or heat when the water is transported. If you’re not sure how, contact a qualified plumber.

5. Timed showers

Once you’ve got the plumbing sorted, there are other things you can do to help manage your energy usage. Shorter showers can help you keep your gas bill under control – and can even be better for your skin.

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