A Beginner’s Guide To Hot Water Systems

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Hot water is one of the many things we take for granted in our day-to-day existence. Every time we return from work after a long and tiring day, we simply walk into the shower, and the warm water soothes our bodies.

Have you ever imagined how the mechanism that delivers hot water to you works in the background? In other words, have you tried to figure out the mechanism of hot water systems, how they work, and what are some of the benefits of using them?

In this beginner’s guide on hot water systems, we are going to speak with leading hot water system experts. We are specifically going to discuss the three main points-

  1. The different types of water heating systems available in the market
  2. Significant benefits of having hot water systems in your house
  3. Challenges that you might have to face on hot water systems in your house

If you are looking to go for a new installation in your home, this guide will help you address many of your questions.

Hot Water Systems: Meaning and Definition

One of the first things you need to know about hot water systems is that it is one of the most used forms of energy in an average household. According to official figures, nearly 25% of all energy used in a home is used by hot water systems.

Firstly, hot water systems have at their core a storage tank where the normal water is converted into hot water, and the same is then transported by pipes to different parts of the house. The following are some important parts of a hot water system-

  1. Anti-corrosion anode rods
  2. Cold water shut-off valve
  3. Inlet and outlet pipes
  4. Temperature pressure relief valve
  5. Operating controls for the thermostat
  6. Drain valve
  7. Standard tank (sizes of 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and even 120 gallons)

Homeowners should note that according to experts, there are three main places where you should be installing and setting up your hot water system; the basement, garage, or outside a shed.

Most governments have regulated that the system should be placed facing the wall on one side, towards a corner part. This allows for the opening up of space and for proper positioning of the flue. You don’t want to keep any gas cylinders, oil canisters, or any other flammable component near the hot water systems.

Different Types of Hot Water Systems in the Average Household

When it comes to the installation of hot water systems, homeowners are often confused regarding what would be best for them. In this section, we are going to list down the different types of hot water systems that can be installed in a household-

1. Electric

An Electric Hot Water System uses your house’s electric supply and heats up the water. While this is easier to install since it is very popular and nearly 70% of all homes have this, it is expensive to maintain in the long run since the energy costs start rising when the system ages. Most installation companies are familiar with this as well.

2. Solar 

Next, you have the latest technological innovations that are run by solar energy. While the one-time installation costs on this might seem to be on the higher side, over the long run, you end up paying nothing by way of energy electricity charges. However, to install a solar-powered water heater, you need to stay in a location that gets a lot of sunlight.

3. Gas

The first thing that you should know about gas hot water systems is that they have to be located outside the house because they result in emissions. The venting requirements mean that they have a medium purchase cost, along with average installation charges. Most experts believe that if you are living in very cold regions, gas water heater systems are ineffective.

4. Heat Pump

This hit water system is different from an electric one and even uses less than 70% of the power. The way it works is pretty simple. You have a refrigeration cycle that helps in heat extraction from the air. A critical part of this system is the role played by the compressor. It runs in the same way as an air conditioner does. If you don’t like noise, you should stay away from this.

Benefits of Hot Water Systems for your Home

Apart from getting hot water whenever you want (that is quite obvious), hot water systems have the following major benefits:

1. Rebates from Government Bodies 

One of the many reasons you should look to switch to solar-powered hot water systems is because of the rebates that are on offer. Governments all over the world, including in Australia, are incentivizing their citizens that are choosing solar-powered hot water systems. This helps in saving energy costs, cutting down on fossil fuel consumption, and less harmful emissions.

2. Great Space Saving in your Home

If you have seen any old movies of late, you might have come across huge boilers that were located deep down in basement areas. Not anymore. If you opt for continuous flow hot water systems, you don’t need to keep that behemoth of a storage unit anymore. This helps you free up space that can be utilized to store something else in the house.

3. Lesser Greenhouse Emissions

In order of types that contribute most to greenhouse emissions, you have gas, electric, and solar. If you are using gas hot water systems, you are contributing negatively to global warming. On the other hand, if you use electricity, you are saving a ton on energy consumption. The best one of them all that does not lead to any greenhouse emissions is solar-powered systems.

Some Challenges and Problems Regarding Your Hot Water Systems

In the final section of the guide, we are going to help homeowners identify signs that can help them understand whether there is a problem with their hot water systems or not. Let us look at the four major ones below-

  • Firstly, if too little hot water comes out of the system, you have a problem with your hands. It can be the result of a faulty pilot light or a thermocouple.
  • Secondly, if the water that is coming out from the heater smells bad, it can be because of bacteria. Make sure that the water temperature always stays between 55-65 degrees.
  • Thirdly, if the system is making a lot of noise, it can be because of an increase in the sediment pile-up. Another reason can be that some internal parts have come loose.
  • Lastly, if you spot a leakage, which usually happens with older systems, you need to call in the experts and get it fixed. You can also look at getting a new system.

The Final Takeaway

A hot water system is one of those things in a household whose worth comes into the limelight whenever there is a problem. As we said at the start of the article, most of us tend to take these machines lightly and for granted. In this beginner’s guide resource, we have touched upon some of the most important things you should know about hot water systems. If you have any more questions you would like us to address; please let us know in the comments section below.

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About the author

Jacky Chou

Jacky Chou is an electrical engineer turned marketer. He is the founder of Indexsy, Far & Away, Laurel & Wolf, a couple FBA businesses , and about 40 affiliate sites. He is a proud native of Vancouver, BC, who has been featured on Entrepreneur.com, Forbes, Oberlo and GoDaddy.