Choosing the right hot water system for your home is a crucial decision that can impact your daily life and your bank account.
The two most popular options in Australia are an electric or gas hot water system, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
In this article, we’ll compare these two options to help you make an informed decision about the right hot water system for your household.
Electric hot water systems
Electric hot water systems work by using an electric heating element to heat the water stored in a tank or, in the case of instantaneous hot water systems, as it passes through the unit.
The heating element is powered by the electrical grid and heats the water to the desired temperature.
- Generally cheaper upfront costs compared to gas hot water systems
- Installation is typically easier and requires less space compared to other systems
- Typically quieter and has fewer moving parts than gas hot water systems, resulting in lower maintenance costs over time
- Can be powered by off peak electricity tariffs, helping to reduce running costs
- No need to store fuel on-site, reducing fire hazards and storage requirements
- Can be less energy efficient than other hot water systems, resulting in higher running costs over time
- If using peak electricity tariffs, running costs can be significantly higher than other systems, especially during peak demand periods
- Can have limited hot water supply, as the amount of water available depends on the size of the storage tank
- A power outage can render the system unusable, whereas gas or even solar hot water systems can continue to function
Gas hot water systems
Gas hot water systems work by using a gas burner to heat the water stored in a tank, or in the case of instantaneous hot water systems, as it flows through the unit.
The gas burner is typically fueled by natural gas or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) and heats the water to the desired temperature.
The two types of gas hot water systems are storage tank systems, which store hot water in a tank for later use, and gas continuous flow systems, which heat water as it flows through, providing hot water on demand. Either option requires a gas connection. You can learn more by reading our article on how to select the best gas hot water system for your home.
- Generally more energy efficient than an electric water heater, resulting in lower running costs over time
- Faster heating time than electric systems, ensuring that hot water is readily available
- More effective for households with a high hot water demand
- Can continue to function during a power outage, making them a reliable source of hot water
- Lower running costs compared to an electric hot water system
- Installation costs can be higher compared to an electric hot water system, as they require a gas connection
- Have higher upfront costs overall compared to an electric hot water system
- Produces high greenhouse gas emissions compared to other hot water system types
- Requires a separate gas supply and storage space, which can pose a fire hazard if not properly installed or maintained
Choosing the right hot water system
When it comes to choosing the right hot water system for your household, there are several factors to consider, such as household size, energy usage, upfront costs, and running costs.
While electric and gas hot water systems both have their own pros and cons, ultimately, the best choice for your home will depend on your specific needs and circumstances.
In this section, we’ll be focusing on the most important factors, including costs, energy efficiency, and maintenance and repair requirements, to help you make an informed decision.
The upfront cost of a gas hot water system is generally higher than an electric hot water system due to the additional costs associated with installation, such as the gas connection.
However, a gas hot water heater typically has lower running costs compared to an electric hot water heater, as natural gas is cheaper than electricity.
According to the government’s Energy Rating website, the average annual running cost of an electric hot water system is around $615 per year, while a gas hot water heater costs around $330 per year.
While gas hot water systems have higher upfront costs, the lower running costs over time can make them a more cost effective option for households with high hot water demand.
Gas hot water heaters are generally more energy efficient than electric systems, as they use natural gas or LPG to heat the water, which requires less energy compared to heating water with electricity. Additionally, gas hot water heaters can be more effective in colder climates, as they can produce a hotter water temperature using less energy.
Electric hot water systems, on the other hand, are typically less energy efficient than gas systems, as they use electricity to heat the water. This typically results in higher running costs over time.
However, modern electric systems can be designed with improved energy efficiency features, such as insulation and timer settings, to help reduce running costs.
Ultimately, the best choice for your home will depend on your specific needs and circumstances, including the climate and your energy usage patterns.
If being energy efficient and producing less greenhouse gas emissions is your goal, we also recommend looking at other types of water heater systems like solar hot water systems or heat pumps.
Maintenance and repairs
Gas water heaters typically require more maintenance and servicing compared to electric hot water heaters, as they have more moving parts, such as the gas burner, that require regular checks and cleaning.
Additionally, gas water heaters also have a higher risk of leaks and other issues, which can result in more expensive repairs and maintenance costs over time.
Electric hot water systems, on the other hand, generally require less maintenance compared to gas water heater systems, as they have fewer moving parts and do not require regular gas-related safety checks.
It’s worth noting that electric water heaters will still require maintenance and repairs over time, such as replacing the heating element or thermostat.
Gas VS electric hot water system: What should you choose?
When choosing a hot water system for your home, it’s important to consider a range of factors, including household size, energy usage, climate, upfront costs, and running costs. Both gas and electric models have their own advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice will depend on your specific needs and circumstances.
For households in colder climates and/or with high hot water demand, a gas system may be the best option, as they can produce higher water temperatures with lower energy use.
On the other hand, smaller households with lower hot water usage may find an electric hot water system more suitable due to the lower upfront costs and easier installation.
By carefully weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of gas vs electric hot water heaters, and choosing the most appropriate option based on your household’s needs, you can ensure that you have a reliable and efficient hot water system for many years to come.
Ready to upgrade? What do you do now?
If you’re looking for a new hot water system for your home or advice on how to improve your home’s energy efficiency, 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.
Contact us today to get a quote and schedule a service appointment so you can enjoy reliable hot water in your home.