Gas and electric storage hot water systems hold water in a tank that’s heated so it’s ready for use. They are available in natural gas, Liquified Petroliun Gas (LPG) and electrically powered models.
Cold water enters through a pipe at the bottom of the storage tank. An electric heating element inside the tank (similar to one you’d find inside a kettle) begins heating the water. The hot water progressively rises to the top of the tank. When a tap inside the home is turned on, the hottest water then exits at the top of the tank where it flows to the users location. To ensure the water stays at the right temperature, a thermostat constantly measures the water temperature and adjusts the amount of electric power required to keep the water hot.
Cold water enters through a pipe at the bottom of the tank. A gas burner located under the tank begins to heat the tank. The hot exhaust gases from the burner travel up the side of the tank further heating the water to the desired temperature. The hot water progressively rises to the top of the tank. When a tap inside the home is turned on, the hottest water then exits at the top of the tank where it flows to the users location. To ensure the water stays at right temperature, a thermostat constantly measures the water temperature and turns the burner on or off as needed to keep the water hot.
Storage systems have long been the most popular type of hot water systems installed in Australian homes. Because storage technology has been around for a long time, it offers proven reliability. Plus, there are many capacity options available to suit different usage needs.
Both electric and gas storage systems have similar advantages and disadvantages. Storage systems have the lowest upfront cost of all the hot water system types, doing a ‘like for like’ replacement of an existing storage unit will generally keep the installation cost low.
When it comes to energy usage, storage systems heat water whether it’s used or not. This makes them less efficient than some of the newer hot water technologies like gas continuous flow, solar boosted or heat pumps.
If your home currently has a storage system and your energy bills are high, it may be worth investing a little more to get a higher efficiency system that could save you money in the long run.
Compared to the compact size of a gas continuous flow system, storage systems are much larger. Some larger units are over 6 feet tall. So consider your available space before deciding on a unit.
Natural gas storage tends to be more popular in the southern states where mains gas access to homes is widespread, while electric storage tends to be more popular in the northern states where gas supply is limited. LPG storage is often used in rural properties that do not have access to mains gas.
Electric storage systems are often used in flats and apartments because they can run internally without producing any exhaust fumes. Gas storage units need to be located outside the home for safety. Despite being less efficient, electric storage systems also come in a wide range of sizes and capacities.