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The Best Hot Water System For Small Households

teenagers using hot water in bathroom

If you’re part of a small family, you might think that a standard hot water system would be more than enough to meet your needs. But what if you’re paying for more than you actually need?

In this article, we’ll explore the best hot water system for small households, and the factors you need to consider when making your decision.


Types of hot water systems

Choosing the best hot water system for your small family can be challenging. With various types of systems available on the market, it’s important to understand each one’s features and benefits to make an informed decision.

In this section, we’ll explore the most common types of water heaters and discuss the pros and cons to help you choose the best possible option for your household size.


Storage tank

The storage tank system is one of the most popular hot water systems for Australian households.

It features a large tank that stores hot water and keeps it heated, ready for use at any time. When hot water is needed, it’s drawn from the top of the tank and replaced with cold water, which is then heated.

These systems are available in a range of sizes and can be powered by gas, electricity, or solar energy, depending on the specific model. While they require space to install, they offer a reliable and consistent hot water supply.



Tankless, also known as instant or on-demand hot water systems, heat water as it flows through the unit without storing it in a tank.

These systems are more energy-efficient than storage tank systems because they only heat the amount of water needed at the time, and do not require energy to keep water hot continuously.

They’re also more compact, taking up less space than storage tank systems. However, they can have limitations in meeting high-demand needs and may require additional installation costs.


Heat pump

A heat pump hot water system operates by absorbing heat from the surrounding air and transferring it to the water stored in a tank.

This method of heating water is highly efficient and can save households a significant amount of money on energy bills.

However, it’s important to note that this type of system may not be suitable for all climates, as it relies on the availability of warm air to operate efficiently.


A mom and son brushing teeth in bathroom

Factors to consider for small families

While all households require a reliable and efficient hot water heater, small families have unique needs when it comes to choosing the best option. The size of the household, as well as your location and the individual water use habits of the family members, are important factors to consider.

In this section, we’ll explore the key factors that small families should keep in mind when selecting a hot water system.


Number of people in the household

The number of people in your household is a critical factor to consider when selecting the best hot water system. Small families may only need a system that can provide enough hot water for one or two people, whereas larger families require a more powerful system.

It’s important to accurately assess the number of people in your household to ensure that your hot water system can meet their needs. By doing so, you can avoid running out of hot water during peak usage times, such as in the morning when everyone is getting ready for the day in the shower.


Peak usage times

Peak usage times refer to the times of day when hot water usage is at its highest. For small families, it’s important to consider when the peak usage times are to ensure that their hot water system’s water heating mechanics can keep up with the demand.

For example, if everyone in the house showers in the morning, then a hot water system that can provide enough hot water during that time is essential. Understanding peak usage times can help in selecting the best type of hot water system for your household’s needs.


Water usage habits

When it comes to choosing a hot water system for a small family, it’s important to consider your house’s water use habits. Different families have different needs and preferences when it comes to hot water usage, so it’s worth thinking about things like shower length, frequency of laundry loads, and dishwashing routines.

By understanding your house’s water usage patterns, you can choose a hot water system that provides enough hot water without wasting energy or water.


Available space

It’s important to consider the available space on your home property when choosing the best hot water system. Some systems may require a larger space for installation or have a larger storage tank, which may not be suitable for smaller homes.

On the other hand, tankless systems take up less space and can be installed in compact areas. It’s important to evaluate the available space in your home and the exterior of the property and choose a system that will fit comfortably without compromising other critical factors, such as meeting your household’s hot water needs.


Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is a critical factor to consider when selecting the best hot water system for your small family. An energy-efficient system can help reduce energy costs, which is especially important for small families with tight budgets.

Look for hot water systems that have a high energy efficiency rating, which indicates that the system meets certain energy efficiency guidelines. Additionally, consider options like heat pump systems, which use renewable energy sources and can be more efficient than traditional storage tank systems.


4 Best hot water systems for a small household

Choosing the best hot water system for a small household can be a daunting task, especially with so many options available on the market. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled a list of the top four hot water systems that are ideal for small families.

These systems are energy-efficient, space-saving, and designed to meet the hot water needs of a small household.


1. Continuous Flow Gas SystemsRinnai continuous flow hot water heater on home exterior

Continuous flow gas hot water systems, also known as tankless systems, are an ideal choice for small households because of their compact size and ability to deliver hot water on demand.

These systems heat water as it flows through the unit, eliminating the need for a storage tank and providing hot water whenever it’s needed for something, whether it’s the shower or the dishwasher. This feature ensures that small households have access to hot water without wasting energy on heating and storing excess water.


  • Energy-efficient, as they only heat water when it’s needed, saving on energy costs
  • Compact and space-saving design, making them ideal for small homes or units
  • Can provide an endless supply of hot water, ensuring that small households never run out


  • Higher upfront cost compared to traditional storage tank systems
  • May require additional gas lines or electrical wiring to be installed if the household has no current access to natural gas
  • May not be suitable for households with high hot water demand, as they have a limited flow rate


2. Continuous Flow Electric Systems

Continuous flow electric hot water systems are suitable for small households due to their compact size and capacity to deliver hot water whenever it’s needed without the need for a storage tank.

They’re especially useful for households that do not have access to gas and offer many of the same benefits as continuous flow gas systems, including energy efficiency.


  • Compact size makes them suitable for small spaces
  • Energy efficient, as they only heat water when it’s needed
  • Generally safer than gas hot water systems


  • May not be able to meet high demand for hot water
  • Can have more expensive running costs compared to gas systems
  • Requires a sufficient electrical supply to operate efficiently


3. Small Gas Storage Hot Water Units

Small gas storage hot water units are ideal for small households as they’re compact in size, energy-efficient, and can provide enough hot water for a small family’s daily needs. They’re also relatively affordable compared to other hot water systems, making them an excellent choice for those on a budget.

Their simple installation process and simple maintenance requirements also make them a popular choice for many Australian homeowners.


  • Compact size is ideal for small households with limited space
  • Energy-efficient, resulting in lower energy costs
  • Affordable and cost-effective option for small families


  • Limited hot water storage capacity may not be sufficient for a potentially-growing family
  • Can take some time to heat up water after the storage tank is depleted
  • Requires regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity


4. Heat Pump Hot Water SystemsDux AiroHeat Heat Pump

Heat pump hot water systems are ideal for small households due to their energy efficiency and ability to provide hot water on demand. They work by extracting heat from the surrounding air, which means they use less energy than traditional electric systems.

This makes them perfect for small households that are conscious of their energy usage and want to save on electricity bills. Additionally, heat pump systems typically have a longer lifespan than traditional electric systems, which can be a cost-saving benefit in the long term. You may even be able to access government incentives for heat pump systems, such as rebates.


  • Energy-efficient and cost-effective in the long term, and you may be able to access government rebates
  • Can be installed indoors or outdoors
  • Provides hot water on demand


  • Can have a higher upfront cost than other systems
  • May require additional space for installation
  • Performance may be affected by colder climates


Choose the right hot water system for your family

Choosing the right hot water system for your small household is an important decision that can affect your daily routine and budget. By considering factors such as the number of people in your household, peak water use times, available space, and energy efficiency, you can make an informed decision on the type of hot water system that will best suit your needs.

Remember, investing in a high-quality hot water system that’s well suited to your household can improve your daily life and save you money in the long run. We encourage you to read product reviews before you make a purchase, speak to a plumber or hot water system specialist, and gather all of the information you need to make an informed decision. You’ll find more advice in our article Electric vs Gas Hot Water Systems.


Get help from the hot water experts

If you’re looking for advice on changing your hot water system or have questions about specific models, Same Day Hot Water Service is here to help.

Our team of experts can assist you with repairs, maintenance, purchases, and installations to ensure that your hot water system is running safely and efficiently. We offer a wide range of hot water system services and brands, from Rheem to Rinnai and beyond.

Contact us today to get a quote and schedule a service appointment, so you can enjoy reliable hot water in your home.

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