Types of water heating systems

Thinking about how you use hot water, the size of your household and the kind of energy sources you'll be using (electric, gas, solar or wood) will help you choose the best water heating system for your needs.

Electric hot water cylinders

Good for

 Be aware that
  • cheap upfront cost
  • discounted running costs if a night tariff is used
  • can be the most expensive hot water system, in terms of running costs
  • older cylinders (pre-2002) will need wraps put on them to prevent heat loss

 Electric hot water cylinders

Gas hot water cylinder

Good for Be aware that
  • homes with small spaces - can be located outside
  • power cuts - don't need an electrical connection to work
  • they have higher heat losses than electric hot water cylinders
  • the running costs are relatively expensive

 Gas hot water cylinder

Heat pump water heating

Good for Be aware that
  • low running costs - more efficient than traditional electric or gas water heaters
  • discounted running costs if a night tariff is used
  • relatively expensive upfront cost

 Heat pump water heating

Solar water heating

Good for Be aware that
  • low running costs - can meet 50-75% of your hot water needs using the sun's free energy
  • expensive upfront cost
  • you’ll still need another water heating source as back-up (electric, gas or wood/wetback)

 Solar water heating

Wetback

Good for Be aware that
  • supplementing hot water needs, if you're using a wood burner for space heating anyway
  • adding a wetback means you get less of the fire's heat going into the room

 Wetback

Gas continuous flow

Good for Be aware that
  • homes with small spaces - can be located outside
  • ‘limitless’ hot water
  • most systems require an electrical supply, so won't work during a power cut
  • with ‘limitless’ hot water your usage patterns may change to make use of more hot water and end up being relatively expensive

 Gas continuous flow