Hot water systems for units and apartments

Choosing the Right Hot Water Systems for Units and Apartments

When trying to find the most suitable hot water systems for multi-unit buildings, there are a range of factors that need to be considered. The goal is to find the right system in terms of efficiency, durability, and cost.

With buildings that include multiple residential units, there are two possibilities for hot water heating: a centralised boiler, which supplies hot water to several apartments through pipes, or instant hot water systems.

Centralised Hot Water

With centralised systems, the hot water is usually gas-fired. There will be a ring-main, which extends throughout the property, with long pipes that run from the storage tank to each apartment. Whilst gas hot water systems are thought to be more environmentally friendly than electric, this isn’t necessarily the case. Here’s why:
  • Centralised gas systems require continuous operation, which leads to a significant waste of energy as the system is on whether there is a demand or not
  • The water loses heat while it travels through the pipes to each individual apartment
  • In order to supply hot water when the demand is turned on, the existing cold water in the apartment feed needs to be drained to supply the necessary hot water; this creates water waste with every usage

Gas systems also require a significant upfront investment as they require a dedicated plant room, commercial-grade boilers, storage tanks, circulating pumps, and specific pipework. Also, the ongoing maintenance costs can be expensive.

Standalone Hot Water Systems

In order to reduce both energy and water waste, many properties in Australia are now taking advantage of standalone instantaneous hot water systems. Both gas and electric models are available, but instantaneous electric water systems have been shown to have the greatest efficiency benefits. For example, studies show that with an instant electric hot water system, the average apartment will waste 1,600 litres a year, as opposed to 7,000 litres when centralised gas is used.

By having the hot water system for each apartment in the actual unit, it is more efficient to bring the heated water a shorter distance for each usage. Also, instantaneous electric systems heat water on demand, which will diminish energy costs, as well as overall operational and maintenance costs as the system is not constantly in use.

A specialist in plumbing and hot water systems can help you determine the most energy and cost-efficient solution for your property.