Question Hot Water Systems?

Discussion in 'Energy' started by stevo, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    I'll be needing a new hot water system in the next few years, mine is about 18 years old.
    (This thread might be my research thread, I'll add info as I find it)

    1. The normal on-grid electric system seems to the cheapest to buy, but then you're paying the most to run it because it's just using on-grid electricity to heat the coil etc.

    2. The evacuated tube heaters look like a good option, using the sun to heat water, hot water is stored in a tank, it has a heat coil connected to the grid incase you need to boost the water temp, not sure on cost yet.

    3. Heat pumps? I don't know anything about that yet either.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for what might be good?
    Is there other options?
    What do you have?

    I'd prefer an off-grid option, after all this is a Self-Sufficient site, and thinking ahead for my off-grid shack :cool:
     
  2. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I know you're not going to like this but I'm a gas hot water system man myself. Having used solar heated ones before I've never seen one which hasn't inconveniently run cold (just when the mother in-law gets in). :D Perhaps if it's duel and can be heated by electricity as a booster it might be ok but if only the hot tap is needed because the temp is lukewarm from the start it doesn't take long for the water to run out.

    Gas heaters only turn on as water starts flowing and that's just to light the burner. Yes, if you don't have gas at all the setup costs might be more, maybe, but it'd take a lot of convincing to get me to give up my gas hot water system. Unit is small too - about two shoe boxes big.
     
  3. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    ahh I forgot about gas!

    I assume you have bottled gas? I see there's bottled and mains type. Is your stove gas aswell? Do you know the price comparison between bottled and mains? Service charges etc? If you have bottled, what size bottles and how long do they last?
     
  4. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yes it is bottled and is linked to a gas stove also.

    Price comparison? Hmm, good question I've tried searching but can't make head nor tails of the pricing for fixed gas... I just got confused. However, I know the cost of a gas cylinder for my LPG = $141 (includes GST) for a 45kg cylinder. I guess we'd go through one every 3/4 months but I do clothes washing every day with hot water (family 4) and lots of home cooking. We don't consciously conserve gas at all so I guess we could improve with our usage if we really wanted.

    A few years back Origin introduced a $19 annual "nominal fee" for "maintenance" on their gas cylinders - I think it's now about $60. See, this is how consumers are being sneakily made to incur extra costs these days. Prices just creep without any justification and new fees introduced with promises to keep them low but they keep rising.

    Nevertheless, as I said gas is a good energy source and we like cooking with it and knowing our water is always hot (family safe temp set).
     
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  5. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks for that info Mark. From what I've read, Mains natural gas is supposed to be cheaper than bottled gas if you use a lot. I've seen a few comments from people complaining about rising service costs and some peoples service costs are higher than the gas price that they use.
     
  6. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yeah it'd make sense for piped gas to be cheaper - I'd certainly be on it if I could because it would save ordering the stupid things and wondering when the gas man will arrive. We had piped in Victoria when we lived there and that was nice and easy.
     
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  7. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    I'm not sure if there's mains gas in my street, but I should investigate the bottled gas hot water systems anyway.
     
  8. Steve

    Steve Valued Member Premium Member

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    We have mains gas in my area and would avoid going back to elec for water heating if I could possibly get away with it.
    The instant heat is awesome and like Mark said it's such a small unit that simply heats as you use the water. There is minimal lost energy with inline gas heating as with stored systems you are heating up water and then it cools if not used.
    And gas on the stove top is the other thing I like about gas. Instant heat and nice and clean.

    My mother in law has gas bottles that need refilling and it seems like a real pain but if there is no other way I think i would still have gas.
    Just my thoughts.
     
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  9. Lee-Mika

    Lee-Mika Active Member Premium Member

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    I was planning on building my own DIY solar hot water system. I have a on demand gas system now and it does use the gas. I found some videos on making it out of copper tubing I thought it to be interesting.. I may give that chance. as I haven't seen anything better. Only problem is lots of rain in Asia during the rainy season so maybe no hot water during that time.. :(
     
  10. Tim C

    Tim C Two heads are better than one Premium Member GOLD

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    If firewood is abundant you could always make a "donkey" Nearly all shearers quarters in the outback are supplied by these. Usually a header tank supplying a heavy galv 44 gallon drum, that is mounted in a brick or steel frame. They usually have a blow-off riser pipe that is higher than the header tank, in case the water boils. I made up one when on a NT Cattle station, for the stock camp. They would usually just have a "bogey"in the turkeys nest(dam), for weeks on end. It was set up under a large overhead water tank, with a shower. As the tank was too high for the usual riser, I put a HWS relief valve on a pipe at distance from the fire. They were very greatful, especially the girls.
    A simple roll of poly in the sun can give you a fair bit of hot water. It can also be hooked to an insulated tank, top to top and bottom to bottom ( thermocycle) for extra capacity.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
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