At home

Electric hot water systems

Before choosing and installing an electric hot water heating system in your home, explore the cost, efficiency and output  of the available options.

  • Heat pumps are highly efficient, using around 70 per cent less electricity than other electric water heaters. They work by extracting heat from the atmosphere using a refrigerant gas and a compressor (similar to a fridge) to warm up water stored in a tank at ground level.

Running costs are even lower when used in conjunction with a timer to run during off-peak tariff periods, though noise regulations control the operation of heat pumps in homes during certain hours.

To comply with these regulations, professional advice may be needed to install heat pump water heaters, and existing systems may need to be sound-proofed. For more information, see Appendix 3 of the Noise Guide for Local Government, Part 5.

  • Off-peak electric systems heat water overnight for use during the day. Twin element units can operate with a 24-hour off-peak boost (if hot water runs out, water is reheated automatically on the off-peak tariff).
    Off-peak electric systems can only be used with storage capacities of 160 litres or greater; internal and external models are available.
  • Peak electric systems are only useful when other options are not available. They are available as continuous flow units and storage water heaters with a capacity of less than 160 litres (which can both be very expensive to run), as well as heat-pump type storage systems.

For more information on reducing your household water and energy consumption, the NABERS for Homes program offers advice and a rating calculator to assess your usage.

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Page last updated: 10 December 2015