Choosing a hot water system for just a single residential dwelling can be challenging, but what about when you need to provide reliable hot water to many families all at once? For multi-unit residential installations, such as apartment blocks, the demands for hot water are so much more, meaning the type of new installation must be reliable and sustainable, with reasonable power demands and a standard of hot water delivery that can make choosing seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be, however. Though the demands for multi-unit residential installations are different from single houses, the array of product choices can be broken down similarly.
Understanding the Unique Demands of Multi-Unit Residences
While single-family homes will need to handle an average of 3–5 residents at once, multi-unit residential properties, such as blocks of apartments or units, face a much higher demand as they will have to face the demand of many, many more residents. This means they have distinct hot water requirements, so we cannot assess them like a single-home system.
The unique demands of multi-unit residences include factors like peak demand times (showers and washing up), usage patterns, space constraints on-site and the existing infrastructure of the building. Water heating systems will need the appropriate water supply and storage systems while being run at manageable running costs. Given their demand, the water heater’s energy use and temperature needs will be additional factors to consider.
There’s no need to worry, however, as one benefit of investing in modern technology is that products today have reduced heat loss and lower electricity demands and greenhouse gas emissions than the models of previous years.
Types of Hot Water Systems Suitable for Multi-Unit Settings
For readily apparent reasons, centralised hot water systems are a top choice for multi-unit residences, as they can provide hot water to multiple units, all from a single location. What type of hot water heater and/or storage system you choose depends entirely on the specific needs and infrastructure of the property. The number of occupants living in how many units, in how many storeys, and using how much water per day all factor into the equation. Buildings with units with multiple bathrooms or using sustainable water fittings will also impact the final numbers.
Sound complex? Let’s break it down.
Hot water systems can be divided into three types: tanks, boilers with storage tanks, and tankless (on-demand) water heaters. Each one has its positives and negatives, relating to physical space, energy consumption, estimated lifetime, running efficiencies and other details.
Which one you should choose depends on the specific building, so it’s always best to talk to an experienced professional about the needs of your residents and the infrastructure available. Heat pumps and solar water heaters may also be viable options, but again, it depends on the circumstances at hand, ranging from household size to accounting for household energy use.
Energy Efficiency and Cost Considerations
The demands of multi-unit hot water usage may sound expensive, and they can be, but there are plenty of ways to mitigate costs and bring that bottom line down. Energy efficiency must be balanced with budget constraints, and the decision of which water heating solution fits that bill is something a reputable and experienced hot water company can provide you with the advice and resources to determine. There is a temptation to go for the cheaper option, but this is an investment, not a single purchase, and the money spent today can bring in a range of benefits into the future.
More efficient systems may cost more upfront, but over their lifetime, you will likely see long-term cost savings that make them affordable than cheaper systems. There are also government incentives and rebates for green, efficient technologies, so why not take advantage of nature’s greatest energy source: the sun? If you have roof space not being used, solar hot water heaters are strong alternatives that are not only good for the environment but also when it comes time to pay the bills.
Sizing Matters: Calculating Hot Water Demand
Size certainly matters when it comes to supplying hot water to an entire apartment building. Residents being forced to take cold showers is a quick way to make renting out or selling units much more difficult. However, you don’t want to go overboard and invest in a system that is far more powerful and expensive to run than the occupants of the building need. Accurate sizing is crucial to reach the point of optimal efficiency, particularly during peak usage times.
This data is gathered through a detailed analysis of residents’ usage patterns and simultaneous hot water requirements conducted by a reputable and experienced hot water solutions company. By detailing the specifics of when and how much water is being used (by how many people), companies like Same Day Hot Water Service can help you find the perfect hot water installation for your building or development.
Maintenance and Service Accessibility
Maintenance is vital if residents are guaranteed uninterrupted access to their hot water. Regular maintenance of the hot water system should be a part of the regular property maintenance schedule, checking for wear and tear, testing the water quality, and ensuring continued energy efficiency and energy before anything becomes a serious (and not to mention expensive) problem.
For hot water systems in shared, multi-unit complexes, the ease of maintenance and accessibility to the and/or storage tanks is critical to a reliable service. For example, maintenance technicians without a clear and unobstructed view of the machinery risk missing or not seeing potential wear and tear, resulting in a potential breakdown or spill. Again, a trusted and experienced hot water company will be able to provide you with recommendations for the best hot water system for your space.
Environmental Sustainability in Multi-Unit Hot Water Solutions
While the bottom line might be your primary focus when selecting a hot water system, taking into account eco-friendly practices and technologies can actually help your financial situation rather than hinder it. Environmentally efficient technologies are improving year after year, and solar water heaters, heat pumps, and energy-efficient tankless systems can both reduce the environmental impact of providing hot water to multiple units and also come in with lower operating costs than electricity-intensive models.
For example, over the course of a decade, a solar heater can cost less than 50% of the cost of an instantaneous electric heater while producing a mere 25% of the emissions. Tankless systems also bring many cost-saving benefits, offering a 30% reduction in energy usage compared to a typical gas storage water heater.
Choosing the Right Supplier and Installer
Just as not all hot water systems are created equal, neither are suppliers and installers. Choosing reputable suppliers and experienced installers gives you and your residents peace of mind that the chosen hot water system will deliver on its promise for years to come. When selecting a hot water service, consider their track record and customer references to ensure that customers were happy (and remain happy) with their services.
Contact the team at Same Day Hot Water Service with any questions you have or if you wish to get an accurate quote. With over 30 years of experience in the industry and expert knowledge of ALL the major brands we stock, you can trust that Australia’s largest online hot water retailer knows the solution to your hot water needs.