This is an obvious consideration in WA where we have plenty of sun most months of the year.
Solar water heaters are a clean and renewable source of hot water, providing hot water free of cost without the burning of fossil fuels which causes great harm to the environment.
Solar energy is available for free and in abundance too. Once installed, there is no recurring fuel or power cost involved.
The energy cost saving outweighs the high initial purchase/installation cost and shorter system lifespan.
The maintenance cost of solar water heaters is almost negligible and the break-even point is attained in five to ten years.
Before choosing this option you should take into account whether the available roof position for your solar hot water system will receive enough sunlight. Unshaded, north facing parts of the roof are best.
Solar water heaters are best suited to areas where the water is not too “hard” or acidic as this will shorten the life of the system due to corrosion.
Solar hot water systems come in a choice of mains pressure, gravity feed or pump pressure options.
A heat pump also uses renewable energy to heat water which can save you serious money on your hot water bills. It uses approximately only one third the energy of an electric water heater. There are also generous rebates available.
How does it work?
A heat pump works like a reverse refrigerator, transferring the heat in the air outside of the unit to the water stored inside the heater through a heat exchange system. “Heat” . In this context, is a relative term as the system still works in very cold conditions – down to -10oC – and so it will generate hot water even on cold winter nights.
Heat Pumps have the following advantages:
Significant savings in hot water related expenses over the long term
A heat pump produces three to five times the electricity required to power the unit in renewable energy.
This reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is a significant environmental plus.
A heat pump is effective even in low temperatures.
No roof space or panels are required.
A solar heat pump is easy tp install, as it is connected in the same way as an electric hot water system.
Please note that the economics of heat pumps become effective where the average temperature over the year is 19oC or more. While they will work in cold weather, use in cold climates will require longer compressor runtimes leading to reduced unit life and greater energy consumption.
Wood heaters are still an option in locations where firewood is available and inexpensive
Oil heaters and boilers are suitable for areas of the country with limited access to natural gas. They also present an opportunity to use low polluting, renewable fuels such as biodiesel blends to heat your home. A number of companies are now offering heating oil blended with biodiesel, allowing their customers to reduce their dependence on foreign oil while drawing on a domestic energy source. The biodiesel blends also produce less pollution than pure heating oil.
Point of use heaters such as sink mixer heaters
Power fin commercial instant gas hot water units
You can reduce the amount you spend on hot water by various conservation measures, including:
Stretching hot water by tempering and blending
Conserving heat with insulation, circulation and good design