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Warm up your winter and save money with Curran Plumbing’s hot water heater guide

With the price of power on the rise, choosing the right hot water heater has never been more important.

Curran Plumbing has investigated the best cost-saving, constant and space-efficient options to help you decide.

Before you start

Hot water heater upgrades and installations will be governed to some extent by your home’s existing energy supply, as well as building, plumbing and local council regulations (for existing or new builds). There are many factors to consider.

Tank v tankless water heaters

There are two basic systems for heating water:

  • Water heater with tank
  • Tankless water heater – also known as instantaneous heaters

In Australia the more conventional water heater has a tank that stores water heated in advance, until it is required to travel through to taps and appliances.

Tankless water systems only heat water when it is needed to flow through taps and appliances.

The best water heater for your home

The common water heaters in Australia cater to different energy options:

  • Electric water heater – tank or tankless
  • Natural gas / LPG water heater – tank or tankless
  • Heat pump hot water heaters with gas back up– tank only
  • Heat pump hot water heaters with electric back up – tank only
  • Solar water heater with electric booster – tank only
  • Solar water heater with gas booster – tank only

Here’s some more information to help you decide on the right hot water heater for you:

Electric hot water heaters

Electric water heaters work with your home’s electricity supply. They are economical to buy and install; however, the ongoing operating costs are higher.

Another factor is off-peak heating – in some areas you may only heat water during off-peak hours so your tank system will need the capacity to heat and store a day’s worth of water.

Note that installing new electric storage systems is not allowed in some areas, because of the high energy consumption, so just replacing what was there isn’t always an option.

Best suited for:  smaller households and families
Average service life: 10–15 years
Warranties: check with manufacturer

Gas hot water heaters

Gas heaters are cost-effective and energy efficient for homes with a gas connection. Furthermore, as gas rates are constant throughout the day you can bypass all the off-peak constraints, making them popular with larger households. There may be government rebates that bring costs down.

For heaters with a tank, gas has better recovery rates than electricity meaning the tank water reheats much faster.

Review your home’s layout as ventilation requirements mean most gas heaters are installed outdoors, though they can be installed indoors with a flue.

In areas without natural gas connections you can choose LPG delivered to your door, though this costs more.

Best suited for:  medium to large families, with high hot water demands
Average service life: 8–12 years
Warranties: check with manufacturer

Heat Pump hot water heaters

Heat pump water systems operate like air conditioners or fridges. They draw heat from the air to heat water in the tank.

Heat pumps can be up to three times more energy-efficient than a conventional electric hot water heater.
Heat pumps are usually located outdoors and can be noisy, like an air conditioner.

They are more expensive to buy than gas or electric options but cheaper to install than solar. There may be government rebates that bring costs down.



Best suited for: medium families, warmer climate and isolated locations
Average service life: 12-15 years
Warranties: check with manufacturer

Solar hot water heaters

Solar water heaters use the sun’s rays to heat your water. Solar panels on the house roof warm the water which is stored in an attached storage tank. For cloudy days and high-use times most solar systems include a booster (electric or gas) to supplement the heating power.

As well as being natural, the operating costs of solar are low. However, the initial outlay on buying and installing a solar system is expensive so you have to factor in the long-term savings on operating costs. There may be government rebates that bring costs down.

Solar home battery energy storage systems are becoming more common in Australia homes so the solar energy can be stored and used during cloudy periods or blackouts, for example.

With solar rooftop panels you need enough space and the right alignment to maximise the sun’s energy. The water tank can be roof mounted or a collection tank mounted at ground level.

Best suited for:  all families, homeowners with a long-term outlook
Average service life: Five to ten year warranties, with many systems operating longer than 20 years.

Let Curran Plumbing help you choose and install the right model

After you’ve worked out the best system to suit your household size and space – and your spending priorities – it’s time to select the model.

Curran Plumbing’s technicians will be able to help with advice on what is suitable, readily available and easily installed.

The average hot water system lasts for 12.5 years, so many homeowners will face a decision about its replacement. Hot water represents a quarter of a typical household’s energy consumption so the right energy-efficient choice will reap significant gains.

Curran Plumbing has many years of experience installing and maintaining hot water systems. Contact us for more advice on the best option for your home.


SPECIAL OFFER – Curran Plumbing are offering a special Hotwater Deal – with any upgraded new water heating system customers will receive a new shower rail shower massage head! This great offer is available up until the end of winter so ask us for details now.

Need a plumber? Call Curran.