Which Hot Water Cylinder Is Right For Me?
Tuesday, October 11th, 2016
Having hot water on tap is something we tend to take for granted, hot showers every morning or a steaming hot bath at night are just ‘there’ when we need them. This is all thanks to the humble hot water cylinder, an often under appreciated appliance, but one that certainly would be instantly missed if it decided to quit performing its hot water heating duties.
When your hot water cylinder stops working for whatever reason it is usually something that you need to get fixed fast, there is often no time for lengthy comparisons of brands, installers, costings and types. Therefore it makes sense to put a little bit of thought now into deciding what cylinder would best suit your needs moving forward, meaning you will be instantly prepared if you ever face the dreaded cold shower one morning.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to selecting a hot water system, there are a lot of determining factors that have to be considered. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you begin your search, to help decide which hot water cylinder is right for you.
- How Many People Live In Your Household? How many people does the hot water cylinder need to cater for? Keep in mind that typically one person uses approximately 50 litres of hot water a day, and the standard sizes of hot water cylinders are 135, 180, 250 and 300 litres.
- How Do You Use Hot Water? Are you at home most of the day? Think about length of showers, and amount of baths, dish washing, clothes washing and hand washing.
- When Do You Use Hot Water? Do most of the house occupant’s shower in the morning? Are there kids who have baths at night? Do you do lots of washing during the day?
- How Much Does Your Current System Cost You? Roughly a third of your electricity bill is for heating hot water when using a standard electric hot water cylinder. Running costs can be calculated using your electricity bill and handy online guides like this one.
- Where Do You Live? Most hot water cylinders are run by electricity, gas or solar energy, availability in your area may have an impact on which cylinder you can install.
- Are You Replacing An Existing System Or Installing A New One? Are there any monetary or space restrictions that may be a factor in your decision? Which is more important to you, reducing the day to day costs or lower upfront costs?
Types Of Hot Water Cylinders
After having put some thought into the above questions you will need to think about what type of hot water cylinder will best suit your needs, below are the main types of hot water cylinders and some of their pros and cons.
These cylinders are available in a range of sizes to suit most homes and businesses, size is important here, you do not want to run out of water or heat too much water unnecessarily, wasting energy. Mains pressure cylinders often mean a cheaper initial install, particularly if you are replacing a similar unit, however, they can be more costly to operate when compared with other water heating options.
If your circumstances require the use of a low pressure hot water cylinder, then these are also readily available in various sizes. Low pressure cylinders reduce your hot water usage as the flow rate is much slower, therefore saving you money, however for some people who prefer a faster flow rate, this can be a big a big drawback. Low pressure cylinders are known for reliability and a very long expected lifespan.
Gas hot water cylinders are most often used in homes that have existing gas connections for other appliances or if you want to completely overhaul your water heating system. Electricity is not required for the cylinder to function so it will continue to supply hot water during power outages. External installation may be possible, freeing up internal space. Gas hot water cylinders generally have higher heat losses than electric hot water cylinders and the daily running costs are very reliant on variations in gas pricing.
The glaringly obvious benefit of using an outdoor cylinder is that you can save on internal space. New technology means outdoor cylinders are far more efficient than you might think, and these are definitely a good option if you really don’t have the room inside your house.
Most high pressure hot water cylinders are available “solar ready”, which means you have the option of running them off a solar system if you want to. This is great if you cant afford to install a full solar system now, but may want to in the future. Solar hot water systems provide low day to day costs, however initial installation costs can be quite high.
Wetback hot water cylinders are available in both low and mains pressure variants. Wetbacks work by supplementing your hot water heating needs using the heat generated from a wood or pellet burning fire. Only specially designed wetback cylinders and fires are able to be used and the wetback cylinder must be relatively close to the fire. Also there may be local council restrictions regarding their use in certain areas.
Technically not an actual hot water cylinder, a heat pump driven system uses the same technology to heat water as is used to heat your home, effectively transferring heat instead of directly generating it. Hot water heat pumps can work for existing or new hot water cylinders and use less energy than standard electric cylinders. Upfront costs can be expensive, and they tend to work best in areas with average temperatures above about 7° Celsius.
For more information on which hot water cylinder is right for you contact New Zealand’s hot water cylinder specialists at The Cylinder Guy. Stockists of a wide range of quality hot water cylinders from all the well-known brands, The Cylinder Guy’s professional team will be able to answer any questions you may have or make recommendations to suit your specific situation.