Choosing the right hot water system for your home is no easy task. Hence, it’s a buying decision you don’t want to make at the last minute.

You have to consider lots of factors such as the number of people in the house, area of installation, fuel or energy source, your budget, energy efficiency rating and sustainability. Is there a system that has all the features you want?

It might take a lot of research before you can switch from electric hot water system to other types such as solar and gas hot water systems.

With this handy guide, we will break down the decision-making process into three easy steps.

  1. Check the best fuel or energy source available in your area.

If you are renting a flat, your options could be limited by the apartment’s pre-installed water heater. But if you own the house, you can choose a system that has a sure fuel source in your area. For instance, while natural gas or LPG storage hot water heater is a good alternative to an electric system, its energy source might be unavailable, scarce or expensive within your area.

Ask your neighbors and local energy authorities to recommend the best fuel to use: electricity, fuel oil, geothermal energy, natural gas, propane, or solar energy. If you find more than three options available, explore the pros and cons of each.

For instance, when you opt for gas, you still have to narrow down your choice between storage and instant. If electric, you need to choose between storage and heat pump; while if solar, your options are restricted to gas boost or electric boost types.

  1. Determine if the size of water system meets your household needs.

Don’t run out of hot shower when you need it most. If you opted for tank water heating system, you need to compute for its capacity. You will be surprised by the huge savings when you choose the right size.

While it’s obvious that the more people there are in your house, the larger the system required, the increasing variety of hot water system makes, brands and models makes choosing quickly and correctly rather challenging.

Instantaneous (tankless) hot water systems are sized according to the outlets in your home while storage (tank) and solar hot water systems are sized based on the number of users in the house.

Notice that the sizing depends on the type of water heating system you will buy. So before you make a purchase, ask the salesperson to show you a calculation that factors in fuel cost, number of people served, and heater capacity.

  1. Think about relevant costs, namely: purchase, installation, running and maintenance costs.

Smart home owners know that price tag is not everything. They can see those expenses that others commonly overlook. Be sure to include in the total computation the following:

  • one-time installation cost
  • ongoing running costs (based on fuel type and capacity)
  • maintenance and service expenses

For example, when you use a domestic solar hot water heater, it will significantly reduce your energy consumption by about 80%, which is great news for your monthly bill and the environment.

But the installation and maintenance costs of solar collectors could rack up to thousands of dollars. If you are passionate about sustainability, you know that this initial big investment will pay off later in the form of tax rebates, incentives, and accumulated savings on fuel.

Expand your knowledge by reading more about the hot water system technology – especially when your current system is still working fine. You don’t want to rush a purchase as important.