Water heating is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases, accounting for approximately 21% of energy consumption in the average Australian home. Installing alternative ways to pre-heat water will reduce your carbon footprint and energy bills, while adding value to your home. If you're planning on building a property, here are four ways to improve your water heating system.
Insulate Your Pipes
Adding a layer of insulation to your water pipes will reduce heat loss. Pipe insulation can usually be purchased in four-foot lengths from most hardware stores and can be installed without any prior experience. Insulating pipes not only reduces heat loss, but reduces the wait time for hot water to arrive through your taps. In addition, it can provide greater protection from condensation damage and cold weather.
Recover Heat from Grey Water
Grey water is waste water from bathroom and kitchen appliances. It is relatively clean and can be used to water plants and grass. Grey water heat recovery is the process of utilizing heat from waste hot water by running it through thin copper wires that are wrapped around the shower drain. The water that feeds the water tank then passes these wires and is pre-heated along the way.
Install a Solar Water Heater
The most common model of solar water heater involves roof tubing that circulates liquid. The sun heats the water as it passes through these tubes and, once heated, transfers it to an insulated tank that contains copper coils. Afterwards, when the water is diverted to the water tank or boiler, it has already been pre-heated.
Install a Tankless Water Heater
Tankless – also known as "on demand" – water heaters that are fed with cold water and heated with gas or electric. This eliminates heat loss from pipes and storage. Tankless water heaters are generally a better option for large families as they heat the water quickly and have a longer lifespan. While they can save money in the long run, they are generally more expensive to install.
Make sure you decide which type of hot water heater you'd like prior to starting construction so your home builder can incorporate the installation into their plans. While all of these options can be installed afterwards, it'll be more hassle and money. In addition, when you've finished construction, consider getting an energy audit. A professional auditor will be able to pinpoint flaws in your home and recommend solutions based on your budget.