In a fast-paced world where instant is best, it is unsurprising that instantaneous hot water systems have taken the hot water world by storm. Otherwise known as continuous flow systems, with an instantaneous system, you can have an endless hot water supply on demand, right when you need it. Suddenly, paying to heat a huge tank of water only to leave half of it sitting there is a thing of the past, as are bulky storage tanks, with the ability to install instantaneous systems discreetly on the walls of garages, apartments, and backyards.
We get it, you’re tired of the eyesore your electric hot water system creates, or you can’t wait to get rid of gas bottles from your monthly expenses. However, instantaneous hot water systems aren’t for everyone.
One of the most common questions and pain points we get from our customers is around whether they can convert to an instantaneous system. To save you the disappointment of getting excited about your new system only to find out it isn’t suitable for you, we’ve explained how to know if an instantaneous system will suit your home in this blog.
Read on to discover more.
How does an instantaneous hot water system work?
Instantaneous systems work by heating the water as needed, as opposed to a storage tank where the water is heated and stored until needed, regardless of whether you need the full tank amount. Instantaneous hot water systems are available with gas or electricity as the power source, with the tap triggering a gas or electric element to heat the water. When the hot water tap is on, the water is heating; when it is turned off, so is the heating element.
Things to consider before going instantaneous
Whether it can support your circumstances…
Instantaneous systems are completely tankless, making them a popular choice for those with a small space to work with. There isn’t a range of sizes to choose from like you may be used to with electric storage systems. Instead, the flow rate needs to match the demands of your household. Generally, the flow rate for instantaneous systems sits between 10 to 32 litres per minute. When deciding to go instantaneous, you should consider whether the flow rate can support the hot water demand of your household. For example, if you have multiple people taking showers simultaneously, plus the washing machine and dishwasher pumping, you may find yourself missing your large storage tank.
When the demand for the hot water exceeds the amount of output, you may find yourself with low water pressure as the heat is spread too thin to cover everyone. Suppose you don’t feel confident in your family’s ability to time their showers or follow a hot water schedule. In that case, a storage tank may be better for both your relationships and your hot water reliability.
Will it really be cheaper?
If you use an electric system already, you are likely on an off-peak tariff. If you’re not, switching over may provide the cost savings you are looking for. An instantaneous system will run on a continuous tariff, where a storage tank system can be set to heat the water at the cheapest time of day and store it for later use. You may discover that heating the water on the continuous tariff is more expensive even though you’re not storing water.
Do you have the right connections?
Instantaneous systems are available in both single-phase and three-phase units. However, the single-phase will only work in warmer parts of the country. You will need a three-phase unit to provide adequate heating anywhere in Australia that is more frosty than balmy.
This complicates matters, as you need to consider:
- Does your switchboard support three-phase power?
- Are you comfortable with the extra cables between your switchboard and your heater?
It may not be as quick as you need
Don’t be fooled; instantaneous hot water systems are not exempt from the laws of physics or the impact of frosty conditions. Although it is in the name, they are not always ‘instant’. When using an electric power source, the water will need more time in the system to heat up, which may end up frustrating you, leaving you right where you started. For the water to be heated, a certain amount of water must be flowing while the hot water tap is on. If you have low-flow showerheads and a flow rate that is set too high, you may find yourself standing awkwardly in cold water.
When making any large purchasing or installation decision, it’s important to go into it with all the information and a clear level of expectation.
When installed correctly and chosen strategically, an instantaneous hot water system can save you money and provide reliable, perfected tempered water. While they cost more upfront, instant hot water systems often last longer than storage tanks with fewer components needing replacement, lowering your maintenance costs overall. An instantaneous hot water system can benefit both the environment and your bank account, with less carbon dioxide emissions and less energy demand. However, it’s important to use the above criteria to decide whether an instantaneous system is suitable for your household or if another option, such as electric storage or solar systems, will better meet your needs.
Ready to make the switch or still confused? We can help…
Our team are the leading experts on all things hot water, and we have one of the biggest ranges of hot water systems of all types, brands, sizes, and prices so you can access the best choice for your individual circumstances. We can help with anything from installation to repair or maintenance and can deliver Australia-wide.
Get in touch today to discuss all things hot water or to get your dream hot water system quoted by our team.