What’s the Difference Between Gas and Electric Hot Water?

Mar 18, 2022

Have you thought about if your hot water system is the best fit for your home? If your shower is warm, you’re probably not thinking about changing anything – and that’s more than fair. But good doesn’t mean things can’t be better, so while you’re having shower thoughts, give some time to consider if learning the difference between gas and electric hot water could help you choose a better hot water system for your needs.

If your shower isn’t warm – read this blog with urgency, or just give us a call right now, and we’ll run you through how to get steaming hot water back through your pipes! 

The Difference Between Gas and Electric Hot Water Systems – The Short Answer

Both systems are widely used across Australia and for very different reasons. There’s no real right answer here, simply preference and meeting what your home has been set up to support. In gist, electricity costs more to support but is easy to integrate since your home should have an electrical connection. Gas is more affordable to run and has lower emissions. It’s also a faster way to heat water, but it can be complicated if your home wasn’t built to support gas power.
So those are the basics, and you can start to make a good choice from those few points. However, there’s a bit more to go over, like the size of your property, your average hot water consumption and how many residents are reliant on hot water.

Before you read on, get a better idea of the two systems:

Electric Hot Water Systems

  1. Electric hot water system works as a giant kettle, heating the water inside the storage tank which is then used by the internal fixtures.
  2. This system is run by electricity and is the most common installation choice as it can be positioned both indoors and outdoors whilst having the ability to store quite a large amount of water. This works well for larger properties where several members reside.
  3. Your plumber also has the ability to move your storage tank from inside your property to a more appropriate location on the exterior of the house. This can create extra space inside and be more suited to your needs. It is best to arrange a site visit to ensure the plumber knows what is involved to move the system.

Gas Hot Water Systems

  1. Gas hot water systems are quicker to heat and more affordable to run.
  2. In some models, The units are significantly smaller in size and only heats what you use.
  3. Many customers focus on Gas hot water systems due to their energy efficiency; however, the system has to be positioned outside due to venting.
  4. Ensure your property has a Network Gas or L.P.G Gas bottle setup before commencing any gas related works.
  5. Talk through your options with one of our friendly staff to ensure you install the system that will best suit your hot water needs.

Getting Into The Details

Picking What’s Right For You

With so many options on the market today, it may be hard knowing which system suits your property’s hot water needs. Many variables dictate what system you can have installed, such as local service providers, accessibility and location.
Hot water seems like something pretty simple to generate, but many people are surprised to see the options available to them. Your first choice will need to be what powers the system. After that, you still have a lot of ground to cover regarding size, brand, positioning, and more.

Energy Compatibility

Unless you live off the grid, we’re going to assume you have electricity. The good news is that if that’s the case, you can support an electrical heater wherever you are.

Gas hot water systems cannot be installed if your home is not properly equipped to host a gas connection.

Your Daily Hot Water Consumption

List off how much hot water you use per/day. If you have several people using your hot water, then it’s likely you’ll need a larger heating unit. Also, consider what you’ll be using the hot water for.

Where To Put The System

Let’s say you’ve decided on upgrading or getting a larger unit; where will you put it? Electric heaters can be stored internally or externally, while gas heaters need to be housed outside. You’ll need adequate space, or the hot water system may not work properly. The location will also need to have access to your building’s pipework so it can be set up easily and efficiently.

What Type Of Water Heater Do You Want?

Broadly speaking, there are two options for hot water systems: Continuous water heaters and storage heaters. Both do a great job but excel in different areas. Continuous flow gas hot water heaters are compact devices that heat the water when you need it. Like the name suggests, a storage tank heats water in a chamber and stores it throughout the day. It really boils down to what you want from your system.

A continuous flow hot water system is perfect for quick access to hot water in a space and energy-saving way. However, these models can only be installed in houses with a gas connection.

A storage system gives you reliable hot water access in big bursts if you want maximum comfort and water pressure. Because it stores the hot water, it can support the whole house at once. Just note, once the tank is emptied, it can take upwards of an hour for you to get more hot water again as the element has to heat the new water.

Energy Usage

Hot water systems use quite a lot of energy. It’s reported to be the second-largest segment of a household’s energy consumption, right under space heating/cooling. Overall, hot water production contributes to about 25% of a household’s energy use in Australia.
With this in mind, it’s fair that you’d want to save as much energy as possible here. At face value, gas is the most energy-efficient option. It’s also worth noting that the Australian Government aims to phase out electric heaters to lower Australia’s energy emissions, so a gas system may give you the most longevity.

Electric systems traditionally use more energy to run but cost less to install. However, electrical systems can be supported by solar energy and other green energy sources. Gas also has a solar option in the form of solar heating with an instantaneous gas booster, but these may deliver less consistent hot water to the home if you need regular flow to multiple applications.

Energy Rebates

The Australian state and territory government may offer rebates for energy-efficient hot water system choices. Solar and heat pump hot water systems may be eligible for renewable power incentives. Check this link to see if you qualify for a rebate.

Let A Qualified Plumber Help You Decide The Best Value Heating Option For Your Building

As you can see, gas and electric heating systems have plenty of different options to consider. The friendly team at Brisbane Metro Plumbing & Gas can help run you through all the dot points and select a system that will do you well for years to come.

We’ll always make your needs a priority and give you a fair and reasonable recommendation for which hot water system will suit your needs. Here at Brisbane Metro Plumbing & Gas, we ensure to check that a hot water system is a perfect fit for you before recommending it, as we are here to help you – not the other way around. If you’re ever in need of expert hot water advice, contact our friendly team!

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