In the past years, the demand for solar water heaters has increased, which can be explained by the fact that people are waking up to the importance of conserving energy supplies. Solar thermal systems use free heat from the sun to warm domestic water reducing the need for electricity produced by the utility. Installing a solar hot water heater in your home is a good way to cut your electric bill in half and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.
While a solar hot water system is a practical way to maintain a constant supply of hot water in the home but it’s not without faults. More exactly, issues may arise from time to time, which can be solved without having to purchase an entirely new system. If you’re a homeowner and would like to know more about the most common problems associated with solar hot water heaters, please continue reading.
Water from the solar hot water system isn’t hot enough
If the water doesn’t reach the desired temperature, you can’t take a shower; neither can you wash the dishes nor do the laundry. You’ll want to check the panels on the roof and make sure they’re positioned correctly because they don’t convert sufficient energy. Ideally, solar panels should be south-facing. The correct orientation of the solar panels guarantees that you can take advantage of most power when the sun’s rays hit the home.
If all the components in the solar thermal system are working just fine, the short supply of hot water could indicate a faulty heating element. Replacing the heating element is fairly simple. Get something of the same style and voltage/wattage rating. When replacing the part, it’s necessary to temporarily disable the solar hot water heater, drain the contents, and, you guessed it, replace the heating element. Turn on the solar thermal system and test it. Ensure the thermostat isn’t set too low.
Corrosion of the metal parts
With time, certain parts can start to corrode. Metals are easily oxidised, resulting in damage to the entire surface. Corrosion can affect various parts of the solar hot water system, including the heating elements and anode rods. As a homeowner, you shouldn’t worry about aesthetic issues but about leaks and reduced pressure. To protect the solar thermal system from corrosion, upgrade the short pieces of pipe to plastic-lined ones that don’t rust.
Another thing you can do is use a water softener, which combats many problems. The softener tank is connected to the water supply line. It features a removable lid, so you can fill the tank with specially formulated resin beads. Keep in mind that even the most well-designed solar hot water heaters are subject to minimal corrosion. Have the internal parts inspected on a regular basis.
Solar panels are coming loose off the roof
Solar panels are created to withstand extreme weather conditions. Therefore, if they do become loose, it’s the result of poor installation. The panels should be regularly inspected to make sure they’re standing firmly in place. If the solar panels require refitting, coordinate your efforts with expert technicians and roofers to ensure the panels are securely removed and reinstalled. You shouldn’t attempt to remove the panels yourself because you can damage them in the process.
If a solar panel falls from the roof, it can injure someone. Solar panels include a complex network of wiring, which connects PV cells to one another. If the connections fail, it’s essential to reach out to an expert who can troubleshoot the system. When this is over, it’s a good idea to discuss with a plumbing technician to come have a look at the pumps circulating the household.
Consult a professional
A solar hot water system can chug away quietly for years without any apparent issue. Nevertheless, it’s not unusual to come across an issue that will cost you money. If you don’t want to run out of hot water, discuss the issues that you’ve been experiencing with a professional. They will determine if the existing unit can be repaired or it’s necessary to install a new solar hot water system.
Gas or Electric Hot Water Systems, Which is better?
Hot water systems are being installed in properties across the world because they are easy, convenient, safe to use and essential in any property in today’s day and age. Are you considering replacing your hot water system? Don’t wait until the last moment to make a purchase. Now, you have the luxury of reviewing available options.
There are two main types of appliances to choose from, respectively gas and electric hot water systems. So, which one is best for you? When it comes down to making a high-stake decision, it’s necessary to gather all available information and make the right call. When the time comes for a new hot water system installation, decide if you want a gas or an electric hot water system. Besides the actual equipment cost, you probably haven’t given the matter too much thought. There is an opportunity to make energy savings, in case you didn’t already know, so the choice you make matters a lot.
In what follows, we’ll closely compare gas and electric hot water systems.
Gas hot water systems
Cost-effective water heating
Gas hot water systems are some of the most economical types of appliances, especially when the tank water heaters are powered by natural gas. Gas is about three or four times cheaper as compared to electricity, so the operating cost is lower. You don’t have to worry about off-peak tariffs. The gas hot water system works by placing a burner under the tank so as to heat the water inside. Coldwater is pushed into the tank and it sinks to the bottom where it’s heated.
Gas hot water systems tend to have higher initial costs
Improved energy efficiency translates into saved money, but is it worth the hefty investment? The cost of installing a gas hot water system depends on a number of factors, including size, energy-efficiency, and quality. The higher the cost, the more advanced the unit is. Take into consideration your household needs when deciding on a type of hot water system or the other. You don’t want to end up paying too much. As mentioned earlier, a gas hot water system is effective in terms of running costs. If you have propane, you don’t have to have gas lines installed.
One of The Most Reliable Hot Water Systems on The Market
The distribution of gas is realized through the natural gas pipeline network. Since the pipelines are installed underground, they are protected from the harsh weather and accidents that can possibly lead to interruptions. The outstanding advantage is that you can heat your home even if there is an electrical outage. More precisely, you can keep your family safe or make sure your business is operational. The pipeline supplies gas directly to the building, which is why gas hot water systems are more reliable. With proper maintenance, the device can last for about 15+ years. The supply charge will increase only if your place requires more energy to heat.
Electric Hot Water Systems
Electric hot water systems have higher energy ratings
Surprisingly, electric hot water heaters are more efficient when it comes down to energy use. These devices have higher ratings and for good reason too. In the electric model, all the energy is used to convert the cold water into hot water and ensure continuous flow, which means that there is less waste. Unfortunately, electric hot water systems will never be as cost-effective as gas hot water systems. Electricity prices keep on rising; the costs aren’t coming down any time soon. This is why more and more people prefer to install gas hot water heaters.
Saving a lot of space
Electric hot water heaters can be placed in very small places to produce the necessary water for heating and local use. They are available as point of origin heaters, so they can be installed directly at the tap. The temperature can reach 30 or 40 degrees in a matter of minutes. It’s not necessary to install extensive piping or vents to keep the device working. The space is already compliant with the hot water system. Gas heaters, on the other hand, are bigger and need to vent. This explains why they can’t be installed just about anywhere.
Safe Solutions for Heating the Water
Natural gas presents numerous advantages, but it’s important not to ignore safety. Gas can leak from the pipeline or any containment area, for that matter. Even the smallest gas leak can transform into a huge problem. Natural gas is odorless, so you may not even realise that there is a problem with the equipment. Electrical safety issues are rare. If you attempt to check the parts of an electric hot water system, make sure the power is off because it’s a high-voltage appliance. As already stated, there are very few chances of having electrical problems.
So, Which Is Better?
This is probably the last thing that you want to hear, but there is no winner or loser. You can equally benefit from a gas hot water system or electric hot water system. At the end of the day, you have to make sure to choose a hot water system that will benefit you in the long run. Find the right balance between dependable performance and cost-effective water heating. When choosing the best type and model of hot water heater for your home or business, make sure to consider the following aspects:
Figure Out How Much Water Your Home or Business Needs
The right hot water system will meet your needs while operating more efficiently. If the water usage adds up to, say, 400L , that doesn’t mean that the appliance requires a 400L capacity. It’s important to be accurate as far as the estimate is concerned. If you want to run a hot water tap and a showerhead, you’ll need at least 12L per minute. Sizing the hot water system needs to be done correctly. Determine the area and the storage volume you’ll have to meet in your household or business establishment. Professional contractors will help you determine your system requirements.
Be More Environmentally Conscious
If you’d like to reduce your carbon footprint and make your place more environmentally-friendly, carefully choose your hot water system. This might come as a surprise but gas hot water systems produce carbon dioxide emissions, as well as other harmful bioproducts. Electric hot water systems are better for the environment.
Additional considerations include:
- Warranty length – Manufacturers offer various lengths of warranties for their products, so identify the one with the longest warranty coverage. The policy will provide coverage for water damage, furniture and carpet clean-up, and wood flooring.
- Digital display – Since we’re living in the digital age, it’s recommended to invest in a hot water system that features a digital display. It’s attention-grabbing, not to mention that it’s easier to retrieve information. You’re able to access more functionality via the digital display.
If you still can’t make up your mind, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a plumbing technician. They will be able to answer all your questions and help you make a decision. You must decide between two good options, which isn’t easy. Set up a meeting and seek expert advice. Gain invaluable insights from someone who knows exactly what they are doing. You can be sure that the answers you receive are objective and precise. A knowledgeable professional will help you understand the regulations in place, besides the cost and savings benefits of a particular model of hot water system.
All in all, having a gas or electric hot water system means that you can sit back and relax. You know that the appliance is dependable, safe, and running at peak efficiency. There is no simple answer to the question of what works best for your home or business as there is no one-size-fits all solution.
How Long Do Hot Water Systems Last in Sydney?
Avoid an unexpected and unpleasant cold shower by keeping track of how old your hot water system is, and its state to know when it’s time to replace it. Don’t have second thoughts if the system requires change because the new one will lower your energy bills and provide warm and comfortable baths.
The hot water system is an essential feature for any household and we couldn’t imagine modern life without it. When it breaks down it leaves you freezing in the shower, and instead of having a warm bath to wake you up in the morning slowly, you feel thousands of ice needles protruding your skin, and you feel like you woke up from the dead. But like all your other home appliances and devices, the water heater isn’t built to last forever, and you might be afraid of the moment when it breaks because it can take you by surprise.
So, the question that keeps you awake at night is How long should I expect the hot water system to work if I live in Sydney?
The average hot water system lasts about 10 to 15 years, but some factors can influence its lifespan. Let’s explore them!
The model and type of hot water system plays an essential role
As with any other device, each model has a different lifespan. If you have a traditional water heater, it will probably last ten years, supposing you maintain it properly. But hot water systems differ in their nature, and you can pick from electric or gas ones. Even if gas water heaters are more eco-friendly, their parts tend to wear and break more often. Electric systems, on the other hand, may produce more damage to the environment, but they last with two years or even longer than their gas counterparts.
You may have a tankless water heater that provides you with hot water without storing the liquid in a tank. This model has an expected lifespan of 15 years, and with proper care, you can use it even longer because you don’t run it 24/7.
What other factors influence the lifespan of the hot water system?
As various systems have different life expectancies, some other factors also trigger wear and tear.
Sediment build-up is a common issue for tank-style heaters because it affects the performance of the device. Over time, sediment builds up at the bottom of the tank. The hardened layer prevents the tank from warming water, and it causes the system to work harder. When the system doesn’t function properly, it wears out its parts, and it lasts less than its average life expectancy. The only way to stop sediments from building up at the bottom of the tank is to clean it regularly.
High water pressure
If you lack knowledge in this domain, you may think the key for a functional water system is to have high water pressure. It’s a common misconception. In fact, too much water pressure can damage the heater. It often happens when the water’s psi is higher than the one recommended for the system. It also occurs when the water is too hot, or the pressure in the inlet is too high. When you neglect to fix the pressure problem, you will eventually have issues with your tank.
The size of the heater
Now, that you know the type of the water system can influence its life expectancy, you probably expect its capacity also to impact it. The size of the house, the number of users and the number of water fixtures it has to supply determine the size of the hot water heater you install. But if you get a smaller one, it can work overtime to keep up with your household’s needs, and because it works overtime, it will wear out faster.
As its name says, hard water contains more dissolved minerals that can encourage sediment build-up. If you never checked the water quality in your house, you should do it before your hot water system breaks down because some areas in Sydney are known for their hard water. Using a water softener can double the lifespan of the heater.
All tanks have an anode rod inside to protect their interior shell from corrosive particles. Even if you don’t want to believe that the water that runs through the pipes in your house is filled with sediments that can end up on your skin when you shower, it does. Most of them are trapped in the heater, but if it’s exposed too long to corrosive particles, it may break. As it ages, the rod destroys, and it no longer completes the electrolysis process that protects the interior lining of the tank. So, the sediment builds up and hardens at the bottom of the tank, and it destroys the interior lining. If corrosion breaks into the layers of the container, the system is close to its final stage of life, and it requires change. If you manage to prevent it, it can last even 12 years in good condition.
The system’s serial number holds a clue to its age
If you recently moved into a house with an already installed hot water system, you may want to know how long you have before it breaks. But with no documentation at hand, you cannot tell its age. Don’t worry; the paperwork isn’t the only one that contains information about the state and age of the heater. Its serial number, made from a letter followed by numbers, and often placed on the upper area of the system can tell you when it was manufactured. The letter usually points out the month, and most manufacturers use A for January, B for February and so on until L for December. The following two numbers tell the manufacturing year. So, if your system has a serial number starting with L12, it was made in December 2012. The local plumbing company can confirm if the water heater provider uses this system or a different one.
When in doubt, always hire a professional plumber to check the heater and evaluate its state. They can quickly estimate its life expectancy based on its type, size, features and manufacturer.
Need some assistance with your Sydney plumbing issues? Call Off Tap Plumbing Pty Ltd Today on (02) 9053 8797