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Hot water system kaput!

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  1. #1
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    Default Hot water system kaput!

    Well the inevitable has finally happened. After nursing our old electric storage hot water system along for a couple of years with a slight weep from the anode it appears that it has slightly split the tank down the side with now something resembeling a trickle to a heavy weep of water coming out now.

    We are now faced with the task of replacing the system within the next few days and deciding on the best system for our needs. Our current system is 315L which has served us well. There are 2 adults and a 2yo and a 7week old in the houshold so between showers for adults and baths for kids (and occasional spa's for the adults)we go through a fair bit of water, and that is not including washing baby clothes etc.

    We live in the country, and although the main natural gas pipeline goes through the town the town, despite various political party promises, is not connected to this pipeline. This narrows our options down to solar, heat pump or direct replacement electrical storage. We are located on the great divide range about 50km north of melbourne so during winter it is not uncommon for us to get a couple of degrees below zero overnight and not much above 12 degrees during the day. Compounding this is that i do shift work so there needs to be good hot water at 4am or 2pm depending on when i get up after work or before work, and then of course hot water in the evenings for the kids baths.

    Here are the pro's and cons i have thought of

    ELECTRIC STORAGE
    pros
    cheapest
    reliable
    not dependent on weather
    straight in replacement

    cons
    not efficient
    running costs

    HEAT PUMP
    pros
    very efficiant
    less dependant on weather especially if has electric boost
    minimal changes to existing pipes etc for replacement

    cons
    expensive to buy
    cold weather at night wont heat water as well.

    SOLAR
    pros
    efficiant, during summer hot water for free
    cheap to run
    less dependant on electrical infrastructure

    cons
    expensive to buy
    mayor work required to install
    wont work at night/overcast
    Aspect of our roofline and large trees surrounding house limit efficiancy

    We are leaning towards a heap pump with electric boost or maybe a replacement electric storage with the hope that in the future the government (any party) will honour their promises, but i am not holding my breath.

    What are other peoples opinions? I have read a lot of reviews etc on the forum and as with most things it is fairly subjective, but i was more interested in our particular location/climate/circumstances what do people reccomend? Furthermore to that then what brands do people reccomend? Is there still governmant rebates available still for new hot water systems in victoria. My only other issue is that i want a hot water system to produce hot water, not decide for me what temperature it will deliver.

    Any help advise that i recieve will be greatly appreciated, it is tempting to go the no risk easy cheap option of electric storage but i would prefer if it can be justified to go something cheaper to run and more efficiant.

    Thanks

    Yozza

  2. #2
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    Default

    My opinion, straight changeover, job is done you know what your getting with no nasty surprises.
    Alternatively speak to your local plumbers as they are more familiar with local conditions and will know what is best.

  3. #3
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    Default

    I was in the same position just after the Longford gas plant blew (but l was replacing a gravity system) and l went with a (off peak) 315 litre electric storage. As long as you replace the anode every 4-5 years (more regularly in a hard water areas), it should last forever.

    Heat pumps are expensive and although they use cheaper off peak electricity, they need to run longer in the cool of night. Kinda defeats the whole purpose really.

    I have known too many people who have had issues with solar units and your shading seem to rule them out in any case.

    Electric heaters could be made more efficient with the availability of a thermo syphon unit (you can make your own but black poly is ugly) and a device that only turns the power on towards the end of the off peak cycle rather than at the very start. My 'smart meter" is no help here.

  4. #4
    1K Club Member Godzilla73's Avatar
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    Default

    G'day,

    Is bottle gas an option until they get their bums in gear and hook up the town to the pipeline? Would you run anything else on gas in the future? You may be able to get a gas unit now and change the jets later to use the town supply.

  5. #5
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    Default

    bottle gas is an option although a very expensive one, unless i go down the road of dodgy self filling at the servo. Although we have been promised gas by differant governments i am not holding my breath that it will happen in the near future, after all they are incapable of delivering election promises for their major projects, what hope does one little country town have?

    So far the siddons seem to have a good reputation but i am unsure on the fact that they are two seperate units, i am trying to make the install as easy as possible. It also appears that they do not have a boost element as well, even though they say they are good to below 10c i would still prefer the backup of the element, besides, at the risk of sounding like a pessamist i hold little faith in glossy brochures. The other units that sound good are stiebel. Dux and rheem so far don't seem to have good reviews and their performance appears on paper not as good as others.

    After speaking to a sparky mate he said to try and get one which has seperate power inputs for the heat pump and boost element.

    Hopefully as the night progresses more people with heat pump HWS will have some input as well, but so far it almost seems the straight replace is easiest, it doesn't help that all the manafacturers are big on glossy pics and diagrams and light on actual information. Maybe i am looking to deeply into it.

  6. #6
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    You are quite right unfortunately, a lot of glossy brochures, I'm in no way an expert in solar but see and hear a lot of issues which makes me think we have a long way to go in solar h/w technology.

  7. #7
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    I have a Siddons Solarstream 327 Litre and have had it since December 2009 so that's two full winters.

    I am in Tasmania, run it on off-peak (supply is on 12.5 hours per day here) and have had zero problems with it. The water is always piping hot even when there's frost / ice on the ground in the middle of winter.

    It's one of those things which simply works. OK, so it's a water heater so nothing too exciting but that's exactly what it does. It heats water. The power saving I measured was about 65% for the year overall which is pretty close to the manufacturer's claims. This thing simply works and I'd strongly recommend it. The only downside - it does make some noise outside but nothing objectionable as long as the outdoor part is sensibly located away from bedrooms etc.

    As for the rest - forget bottled gas it's just too expensive these days and the price keeps going up, up and up some more.

  8. #8
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    Have you checked with the local footy club to see if they have a spare at a good price?

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