Hot water is a necessity in every modern building, but what is less certain is just how you choose to heat your water. There are three main options: electric, gas and solar-powered hot water heaters. Before you set your mind on any one of these, you should at least give the others a brief look over to see if they match your needs or financial situation better. Who knows, you might just find out something you never knew before that changes your opinion completely.
When it comes to hot water installation, the most popular option is usually electric. That is because electric systems are widely available, thus lowering the initial cost to buy. They are also simple to install and last quite well (especially ones with modern upgrades). However, electric hot water heaters are much slower to heat up than their natural gas alternatives. For some, this is a dealbreaker, but if you don't mind waiting an extra few seconds before stepping into the shower, then it is a manageable problem. Electric water heaters also cost the most to run, because natural gas is much cheaper and solar offsets your electric costs almost entirely.
When it comes to gas hot water installation you can spend a bit more money upfront to save on costs down the track. Gas systems are a bit bulkier and you need to ensure that it will work with all of your current plumbing fixtures, but once it is installed there is virtually no difference to electric systems. In fact, the water is often heated quicker and your overall running costs go down because gas is so much cheaper than electricity. Gas is also much better for the environment than electricity from coal-fuelled power stations, providing a happy medium for those not willing to switch to solar right now.
The most labour intensive upfront, a solar-powered hot water system is definitely the future of home water heating. Not only can it reduce your overall electric bill to zero for hot water heating, but you can also get government rebates on the installation which lowers the price even more. Still, usually, you have to fork out a little more money and allow more construction to be done on your home than the other two alternatives, which is something you should weigh up. Apart from that solar-powered hot water systems are very similar to electric systems. If the days are unnaturally cloudy you can also retain the ability to boost your hot water system with electricity so you never have a cold shower.
For help with a hot water installation, contact a plumber in your area.