Like most homeowners, you are no doubt looking with dismay at your soaring heating bills, and perhaps realising that a large part of this comes from your hot water use. At least you can cut down on heating the house during the summer months, but you need hot water all year round. So you may be wondering if there is any way of spending less on water heating.
Combi Boiler Versus Stored Water
There are a number of different ways of heating water, but many people nowadays have a combi boiler, which heats the water on demand, without the need for a tank or cylinder. This is generally more energy efficient than using stored hot water, except that you do often have to run the tap for quite a while before it runs hot, and the cost of water itself is part of your expenditure. You can save by having a water meter, and turning down your thermostat a degree or two.
If you don't have a combi boiler, there are ways you can economise on how you use your stored water. Fit a tank jacket, and insulate the downpipes from the cistern to the taps. If you use an immersion heater, fit a timer to it, so that you can use cheaper overnight electricity for heating your water.
Which Type Of Shower?
Of course, most of the hot water you use is likely to be for showering and bathing. You are often advised that showering is more energy efficient than bathing, but this actually depends on what sort of shower you are using. Electric showers are generally more energy efficient than power showers, as the water is heated at the point of use. Power showers used stored water, which means heat is lost through the pipes and cistern before it gets to the shower. However, an electric shower needs to be on its own individual circuit, which generally makes the highest demand on your electricity supply of all your appliances.
A New Solution
You may of course be looking for a completely new system, and one attractive solution might be to install a solar water heater. This can be combined with solar panels, but you can also have it on its own. You can have a panel installed on the roof for collecting solar energy, or have a wall-mounted or ground-mounted collector. For solar water heating you need a large cistern with two heat inputs, one from the solar collector and one from the boiler.
There are so many options for your domestic hot water that it can be hard to know which is most suitable. Your best plan is to seek the help of an expert electrician, who can help you decide which is the most economical. You can't afford to keep pouring money down the plughole.