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Murray Street Plumbing & Gas - Hot Water - FAQS

Your Hot Water Repair Common Questions and Answers

Q - How to know when your water heater needs replacing or requires a service?

  • Water is leaking out of the hot water system.

  • The pilot light is not working or goes out often.

  • You are running out of hot water often.

  • The water pressure is low or changes continuously.

  • The system is making rumbling or banging sounds.

  • The water temperature keeps changing.

  • The water is rusty or has sediment in it.

  • No hot water is coming out of taps or water is tepid and cold.

Q - How do I select a hot water system?

  • First you need to establish what kinds of energy source's are available to your property – Gas, Electricity or Solar.

Q - What are the different types of heating methods for hot water?

  • Gas Instantaneous, Gas Storage, Electric Storage, Electric Instantaneous, Solar & Heat Pump.

Q - What kind of hot water systems are there?

  • Storage systems or continuous flow (also referred to as instantaneous).

  • Storage Systems – Water is heated and stored in an insulated tank ready for use. Most gas, electric, solar and heat pump hot water systems use a tank.

  • Continuous – Instant hot water heaters heat only the water required and because there is no storage tank, so they do not experience heat/energy losses of storage systems. They operate on natural gas, LPG or electricity. Most models use gas, but electric models are available.

Q - What size System do we need?

  • This depends on how many people live in your home, how much hot water you use, and when you use it. A storage heater that is too small will continually run out of hot water, while one that is too large will be more expensive to run because it will maintain the water temperature even when it is not being used. It is important to select the right hot water system for your needs. Fix-A-Drip will help you choose the right-sized system for your household.

Q - How do I choose an energy efficient hot water system?

  • This will depend on your energy source, household size, budget, and preference for instantaneous or storage systems. If you’re connected to mains gas and your house gets a fair amount of sunlight, the most ideal system could be a solar storage hot water system with gas boosters. If your property doesn’t get much sunlight, the next best thing is an instantaneous gas system.

  • There is never one model that suits all households when it comes to cutting your energy bill, but electric hot water systems have high emissions and are often considered to be the most expensive option.

Q - What are the good and bad points of each type of system?

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.

Good​ Points
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.

Not So Good Points
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.

Good Points
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.

Not So Good Points
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.

Good Points
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.

Not So Good Points
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.

Good Points
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.

Not So Good Points
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.

Q - How much does it cost to install a hot water system?

  • Our Quotes are free and individual however as a guide - If you’re replacing an existing hot water system with the same type in the same position, installation costs are relatively low, in the range of $220 to $660. If additional valves are required, or if plumbing or electrical systems require upgrades, costs will be higher.

  • If you need to reposition your hot water system to a different site on the property, installation costs could be another $1000 to $2000 depending on the plumbing and electrical work required.

  • Changing energy type, for example, switching from electric to gas, will require additional work and cost in the realm of $1500 to $3000. If you are upgrading the size of your system, additional plumbing and electrical work may be required.

Q - How often should I get my Hot Water System Serviced?

  • Hot Water systems should be serviced annually, anodes checked and replaced if necessary, scale removed from elements etc and burners checked on gas systems. 

Q - What type of System should I buy?

  • There are plenty of systems to choose from at the time of quoting your installation we will offer free advice on the best system to meet your needs considering all factors. 

Q - What is the average life of a Hot Water System?

  • The answer to the above question very much depends on what hot water system we are talking about, installation location, servicing and maintenance schedule etc.  A rule of thumb might be around 15 years?

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