A Guide to  Hot Water Systems

A Guide to the Different
Types of Hot Water Systems

Repairs, Maintenance and Installation.

Your home’s hot water system is one of those things we often take for granted…until it stops working. Suddenly, cold showers become the norm, and we’re left scrambling for a solution. But don’t worry – with the right knowledge and care, your hot water system can keep running smoothly for years to come.

That’s where this guide comes in. We’ll cover everything you need to know about hot water systems, from installation to maintenance, repairs, and troubleshooting. And if you’re not sure which type of hot water system is right for you, we’ll break down the four main options available in Australia: electric, gas, heat pump, and solar.

Each type of hot water system has its pros and cons, and it’s important to weigh up factors like installation costs, energy efficiency, and running costs before deciding. But with our help, you’ll be able to make an informed choice and get the most out of your hot water system. So let’s get started!

HW website photo

Electric Hot Water

If you’re in the market for a hot water unit in Australia, chances are you’ll be considering an electric system. And you’re not alone – in fact, around half of all Aussie households use an electric hot water unit. The mechanics are simple: just like a giant kettle, the water is heated via an electric heating element and stored at a temperature between 60-70 degrees in the tank. Electric hot water systems have the longest life span of any system and can come with a 10-12 year warranty. They are not only affordable to purchase and install, but they are also reliable, and the readily available parts make maintenance cost-effective.

That being said, electric systems aren’t always the most energy-efficient option on the market. If you’re looking for a greener alternative, you may want to consider solar or heat pump systems. But don’t write off electric just yet – with the right tariff or solar panels, they can still be a very economical and energy-efficient choice.

If you’re on the hunt for a hot water unit, it’s important to weigh up your options and choose the right system for your needs. With its affordability, ease of maintenance, and long life span, an electric hot water unit may just be the perfect fit for your home.

electric hot water

Gas Hot Water

If you’re considering a gas hot water system for your home, there are a few things you should know. As the name suggests, these systems use a gas burner to heat the water. There are two main types: storage systems, which have a burner mounted at the bottom and store hot water at around 60-70 degrees, and continuous flow systems, which heat water on demand as it passes through a heat exchanger.

One of the biggest advantages of gas hot water systems is their high recovery rate, making them an excellent choice for large households with high hot water demand. Additionally, maintenance is relatively easy and affordable, with parts readily available from most suppliers.

However, it’s important to consider the location of your gas hot water system carefully, as there are several Australian standards that apply to installation. While gas systems can be efficient, their running costs are tied to gas prices, which can be higher than other types of systems – especially for those using LPG.

Our team of hot water specialists can help you navigate these considerations and find the perfect gas hot water system for your needs. So whether you’re after a storage or continuous flow system, let us guide you through the process and help you make an informed decision.

gas hot water

Heatpump Water Heaters

Heat pumps are a unique category of solar hot water units that function by absorbing heat energy from the air and sunlight. Rather than directly transferring this heat into the water, they use refrigerant gas to transport it through a heat exchanger and then into the water in the storage tank.

Compared to standard solar hot water systems, these units offer improved efficiencies and lower purchase prices. Heat pumps are installed on the ground and connected to your home’s plumbing, similar to a conventional electric hot water unit, making installation more straightforward than a solar hot water system. However, repairs to these systems can be expensive, and due to their complex operation, they may require the expertise of a Plumber, Electrician or an air conditioning technician for maintenance. It’s important to keep in mind that heat pumps typically come with a shorter warranty than electric hot water systems, lasting around 5-7 years.

heatpump water heaters

Solar Hot Water Systems

Solar might be worth considering if you’re looking for an environmentally friendly hot water system that will reduce your power bills. Solar hot water systems use a thermal panel on the roof to absorb the sun’s heat energy and transfer it into water circulating through the panel. This water is then stored in a tank for use within the household.

One of the biggest advantages of solar hot water is the savings on your energy bills and the reduction in your carbon footprint. In fact, they offer the best savings on power bills of any hot water unit style on the market. However, it’s important to note that the initial installation cost can be significantly more than double the cost of other types of water heaters.

solar hot water systems 1

Another thing to keep in mind is that solar hot water systems can come with expensive repair bills and require non-standard parts should something go wrong. Retrofitting a solar hot water system can also present challenges, as engineering approval may be needed for the additional weight on the roof. Additionally, specialist lifting equipment is required for installation or removal.

This may seem like a lot of information. The following table summarises the advantages and disadvantages of each for you.

advantage disavantage

Hot Water System Installation

If you’re in the market for a new hot water system, you may be wondering where to start. First and foremost, you’ll need to choose the right type and size of system for your needs. In many cases, sticking with the same size and style of unit you currently have is the best option. However, it’s always worth talking to a hot water specialist about your situation first.

Another critical factor is compliance with local and national regulations. Australian standards and local government plumbing codes outline the minimum requirements for installing a new water heater, including drain lines, insulation needs, and allowed locations. Your plumber must submit a Form 4 to QBCC, which is a notifiable works form. Failure to do so could affect the manufacturer’s warranty and create issues when it comes time to sell your property.

rinnai hot water installed scaled 1

Here’s an overview of the steps we take to ensure a seamless installation process:

installation process

By following these steps, we can ensure that your new hot water system is installed correctly and to a high standard, maximizing its longevity and efficiency.

Need assistance with your hot water system?

Please call, and we will be able to assist you today.

Call: (07) 3878 4444

We’ve got a brilliant team on the ground right now who’ll give you real, honest advice and a great price. And all our work is 100% guaranteed.

Hot Water System Maintenance

Maintaining your hot water unit is crucial to keep it working optimally. You can do some periodic checks yourself, while other servicing should be done by specialist hot water plumbers.

Each manufacturer may have slightly different maintenance schedules, but there are some basic things you can do yourself every six months:

– Conduct a visual inspection of your hot water unit, checking for signs of water leaking from the tank or pipework, damage to the electrical cable, and ensuring the system is sitting level and secure.

– Operating relief valves clears any obstruction that may have accumulated in the drain lines or the valve seat.

– Keep the area around your system clean and tidy (especially for gas units), free of overgrown vegetation or dirt against the tank.

Also, it’s a great idea to keep clear access to your hot water system so you can shut it off in case of a burst pipe or other plumbing emergency.
Manufacturers call for major servicing of your hot water system periodically by a specially trained licensed hot water plumber.

By having professional servicing done, you can improve the performance and lifespan of your hot water unit. Additionally, in some cases, it is required to maintain your manufacturer’s warranty.

Hot Water System Repairs

Unfortunately, there may be times when your hot water system breaks down, and repairs are necessary. Proper and timely repairs are crucial in preventing further issues and possible damage to your system. If you notice a leaky valve, strange noises, or the water not as hot as it once was, it’s important to take action.

Before calling out a plumber, there are a few things you can check yourself:

  • For gas systems, pilot lights often go out, and a simple relight will get the system up and running again.
  • Check your gas supply to ensure it hasn’t been turned off, or LPG cylinders aren’t empty.
  • Check your electrical switchboard, as the hot water switch may have tripped; resetting this will resolve the problem. If it trips after resetting, leave it off.

If you notice water dripping or running out of the base, it may indicate that the tank has burst. In this case, you can turn off the water supply to the hot water system until a hot water specialist can assess it.

Investigating and resolving the problem quickly can prevent further issues and possible damage. Our hot water plumbers carry a range of spare parts and can, in most cases, get your system back up and running quickly and efficiently.

hot water system repairs

Choosing the Right Plumbing Service for Your Hot Water System Needs

If you’re looking for a hot water specialist, here are some tips on what to look for:

  1. Choose an experienced company that specialises in hot water. Look for a company that has been in the industry for many years and has a proven track record of success. This ensures that they have the knowledge and experience to tackle any hot water issue you may have. Longstanding companies will be around to help you with any issues for the short-medium & long term.
  2. Exercise caution when encountering cheap prices advertised online, as there are frequently hidden costs associated with them. Online prices typically depend on a thorough site inspection.
  3. Look for a company that works with the major hot water manufacturers. A company that has a good relationship with the major hot water manufacturers will be able to provide you with the best advice on which hot water system is right for you.
  4. Ensure they have Plumbing, restricted electrical, and gas licenses. Choosing a company with the necessary licenses to work on hot water systems is important and may save you time and money on engaging multiple trades.
  5. Choose a local and available hot water specialist. A local company will be able to respond quickly to your hot water needs. This is important if you have an emergency or need a hot water system installed or repaired quickly.
  6. It’s always better to use a company that employs its own tradespeople. You don’t know what you’re getting when a company outsources the installation to a subcontractor.
  7. Ensure they provide a workmanship guarantee. A reputable company will stand behind their work and provide a guarantee of the quality of their workmanship. This will give you peace of mind knowing that if something goes wrong, you can fix it at no additional cost.
  8. Choose a reliable company that openly communicates the inclusions and adheres to industry best practices. A trustworthy company will provide transparent pricing information and clearly outline the services included.

If you’re interested in finding out more or discussing your hot water needs, we have an experienced hot water team ready to answer your questions today.

Yours in keeping the good life flowing!


The Conrad Martens Team

(07) 3878 4444

For the best price, service and advice!

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