Hot water systems
Electric water heating is the biggest energy user in NSW homes and can account for up to a third of your home’s annual power bill. The overall running cost of your hot water depends on the type of system you have and how you use it.
Running your hot water system efficiently, reducing your hot water use and choosing an energy efficient hot water system can make a big difference to the size of your power bills and carbon pollution.
Quick tips to save hot water:
Phase-out of greenhouse gas intensive hot water systems
On 28 November 2012, the NSW Government announced that it will not implement the mandatory phase out of electric hot water systems in existing homes.
Standards for hot water installations in new detached, terrace or town houses will continue under the NSW BASIX - Building Sustainability Index system.
The NSW Government will continue to work with community based stakeholders on a range of energy and water efficiency projects to assist households.
Get the most out of your hot water system
To get the most out of your hot water system:
Ensure storage hot water systems are set at 60°C. A higher temperature means that energy is unnecessarily used and a lower temperature may allow harmful bacteria to survive. Continuous hot water systems should be set at no more than 50°C. This will lower your running costs and extend your tank's life.
Install your system as close as possible to all points of hot water use, to minimise heat loss in pipes. If this is not possible, locate it close to where small, regular amounts of hot water are drawn off (usually the kitchen).
Insulate exposed hot water pipes, especially the first two metres leading from the hot water system. Closed cell rubber insulation is recommended.
You can add extra insulation to a storage tank to reduce heat losses, saving you up to $15 a year (don't restrict flues or air vents). Check with the manufacturer to ensure the warranty won't be affected before installing extra insulation.
Keep the hot water system sheltered and protect any pilot lights from draughts.
Install a timer on peak rate electric storage systems.
When possible do jobs requiring hot water early in the day to maximise performance of a solar system. This allows the water remaining in the tank to be reheated by the sun.
If your electric storage system is running on a peak tariff, switch it off whenever you can. They can be very expensive to run - around 3.5 times more than off-peak electric or natural gas systems. You can find your tariff type on your electricity bill or by contacting your electricity supplier.
Turn your hot water system off if you're going away for an extended period. Some systems have a 'vacation' setting to make this easier.
Page last updated: 08 February 2013