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New heater


red750
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Yesterday we had a new gas ducted heating system installed. Our old one broke down a couple of years ago, and being 40+ years old, parts were not available to repair it, so we have been using column oil heaters. Finally with all this freezing weather, my wife had had enough, and we bit the bullet and spent the $4500 on a new system.

 

Yesterday was freezing cold with constant showers. We are currently in covid lockdown, but at 7.30, without notification, the 5 man installation team turns up to start installing. Apart from traipsing mud through the house, all went well, and we enjoyed a lovely warm night.

 

My son got up this morning to go to work and had to have a cold shower. When they turned off the gas to connect the heater, they didn't relight the hot water service.

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I am yet to be convinced that electric heat pumps are satisfactory overall for hot water. They may be cheap to run, but they're expensive to buy and install. And their recovery rate as far as producing more hot water is pretty slow.

 

And the bottom line for me is - no mains power, means no hot water. And the power can go off in storms, when some idiot hits a pole, when some premises has a fire, or even after a shower of rain following a long dry period - which causes "flashovers" here on salt-and-dust laden pole crossbars, and which trips out the power.

 

We have a simple, cheap and reliable continuous-flow gas HWS. It has no pilot light, it fires up as soon as the tap is turned on, and it's piezo-ignited, so no mains power or battery needed.

It keeps producing oodles of hot water as long as there's gas and water available. It has very rarely failed. And our gas bill runs at less than $1.60 a day, which is just fine for me, for unlimited hot water.

It's connected to the washing machine and the dishwasher as well, so we don't use excessive amounts of electricity heating water in them.

 

We've gone through 3 CF HW systems in the last 30 years, they last at least 12-14 years, and I got 16 years out of the last one. They were about $600 each, I think the last one cost us $1000, including installation.

The one we have now is about 2 years old, and when that one is buggered, I guess we'll be examining the latest technology available then, to supply hot water.

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Re hot water heaters.   OK this is not advice but just what we do.    We have downsized significantly which has allowed us to both retire early.     Our home now is quite small by suburban standards.   When we moved here 4 years ago our electricity bill was from memory around $500 a quarter.   About a third of this cost was hot water.    About 18 months ago we installed rooftop solar PV.  This caused us to really analyze our energy costs.  At the time we did consider a heat pump hot water system which would have been exceedingly cheap to run but the up front cost would have been over $4000.  Th existing hot water tank was fitted new just before we purchased the property and  is an electric storage heater with a tiny 80 litre capacity with a 3.6kW element.

 

Since we installed solar we figured that transferring our energy intensive appliances to during the day was the smart thing to do.    We experimented and found that only turning our hot water on for 30 minute a day (around midday gave us plenty of water for a hot shower each at night and one the next morning if we want.  The water generally stays  at shower temperature for over night.       We only do our cloths washing in cold water and our dishwasher heats its own water and usually goes on just during the sunniest part of the day.  The amount of money we spend on heating water now is bugger all and we do not run out unless we forget to turn it on (must get a timer installed.)  Our tank is so small that we are  almost using it like an instantaneous water heater,  It takes about 30 minutes from tepid to the point where the thermostat shuts off.  

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Another alternate, 

Is an instant heating shower head, only draws power when water passes through a live screen.

Turning the water preasure up makes the shower cooler, while less preasure makes it hotter.

I dont know how safe this system is but it,s a commercial product.

spacesailor

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Replacing two element type hot water systems (off peak) with two heat pump(still off peak as it has to be rewired yet) exactly HALVED my total power use and I'm NOT getting any benefit from the solar there in respect of the heat pumps, YET.. Gas prices have continued to rise. The ones that need electricity as well are a risk... Instant  switch operating heaters are often an "only works with the taps fully on" thing or doesn't come on at all . You find this out when you use Motels a bit. CHECK them the night before a frosty morning or find out the hard way. Nev

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Like onetrack, I've got a continuous-flow gas HWS. It stopped working a while back so I rigged up a heat exchanger. Gravity fed water runs through a copper pipe coil which sits in an aluminium saucepan of water heated by a gas BBQ ring. Hot showers for $2 per week. You can get away with things like that when you have no wife to answer to.

Edited by willedoo
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Decades ago people laughed at me when we built our place using very inexpensive second-hand fittings, like the Rheem copper-lined tank and ancient Rayburn stove (which have outlasted some newer ones I know). In summer my home-made solar unit keeps the water hot. 
I had to plant the trees that provide the firewood, but we always have oodles of hot water, at the cost of a bit of chainsaw fuel and a lot of walking up and down the hill to collect fallen branches. The best part: that keeps my dodgy knees and my back in good nick!


Right now I’m sheltering inside while the freezing wind howls outside. The house is comfortable, but has been warmer; the wool in the ceiling gradually collapses; now it’s less than half the depth of thirty five years ago. Time for some extra insulation.

 

 

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12 hours ago, onetrack said:

Ahhh, yes - the electric chainsaw. Also colloquially known as the "National Park" chainsaw, thanks to their near-silent operation. 

I presume this was having a shot at NP management; governments like to declare new National Parks, but don’t like spending money managing their weeds, feral animals and fire risk.

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9 hours ago, pmccarthy said:

Where I live there is unlimited fallen timber but it is all off limits and allowed to rot to harbour small creatures, who then die in controlled burns or bushfires, when the fallen timber is also consumed.

Yes PM, fallen timber is important natural habitat, but some recently-declared National Parks are former grazing lands, with an oversupply of the stuff. Can’t see an ecological reason for (correction not) allowing a fair proportion of it to be removed for firewood.

(From a climate change perspective, allowing wood to rot probably releases as much CO2 as burning it.)

I suspect funding levels are too low to allow the staff to supervise such activity.

 

Time for a reset: why not bring in approved volunteers to help manage these public lands? Australia has an increasing army of retirees with plenty of time, common sense and interest in conservation. (Turn up at a Greenpeace meeting and you’ll most likely see more old farts than young radicals.)
Many Grey Nomads are traipsing around the nation in campers and caravans, running out of interesting places to visit.
I would be quite happy to take my quiet, very accurate air rifle into a NP and thin out the feral cats and foxes.

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The Qld national parks don't use stealth bikes to look for weeds, nor do they ever see the weeds. I have seen acres of what used to be open grazed grass and now is acres of lantana. Nat Parks don't want cattle in the parks, but they will not do any weed control. I believe similar is happening in the Snowy's, but that leads to Snow Gums being burnt out.

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