If you’re in the market for a new hot water system, here are two keywords that you simply must consider: ‘Gas’, and ‘instantaneous’. Gas, because it’s a cheaper, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly alternative to electricity (especially if you’re having a dilemma choosing between gas vs electric hot water system). And instantaneous, because these small, slick units need almost no space, they’re simple and reliable, and you only ever heat up the water you need.
If you’re already poised to grab an instantaneous gas hot water system, you can rest assured that you’re making a wise choice. But it’s also important to bear in mind that, although modern and convenient and brilliantly-designed, you may still run into one or more of the most common instant gas hot water system problems or complaints.
What are they? Before we get into that, let’s run through 8 clear advantages of a gas instantaneous hot water service:
- Instant hot water that never runs out
- Double the average system lifespan
- Lower ongoing running costs
- Space savings
- No constant re-heating of stored water
- Available in both gas and electric
- Longer warranties
- Some models work without mains power.
But as is so often the case with these decisions, the ‘cons’ also need to be weighed up against all of those ‘pros’. That’s because even hot water installation and repair specialists who fully recommend jumping on the instantaneous gas bandwagon recognise that little issues crop up here and there.
We’re talking about:
Mineral build-up: Contrary to popular opinion, Adelaide tap water is actually pretty pure. However, some of the minerals – like calcium – can build up over time and block valves and other components.
Slow start: How ‘instant’ is ‘instant’? While it’s true that instant hot water systems give you hot water when you need it, it’s important to recognise that the water hasn’t been pre-heated. So be patient for a few seconds!
Cold blast: Are you getting a cold chill halfway through a shower? Unfortunately, that’s fairly common and it’s due to the minimum flow rate. Luckily, the fix is usually simple – just turn those hot taps up a little higher!
Failed ignition: Instant units rely on the ignition of a burner to heat up that water, but like the low flow rate, the fix can be simple – ensuring your gas valve is fully open or there are no issues with the gas supply.
Blocked exhaust: One of the more common error faults on an instant gas system is for a blocked exhaust outlet, but with a little bit of luck it will just be a build-up of debris.
But what about some of the most common complaints about gas instantaneous hot water systems that actually aren’t a fault at all – but more of a feature of this otherwise popular and impressive technology? We’ve got 5 you need to know about:
One of the biggest complaints we hear about instant hot water systems is that the temperature of the hot water can be inconsistent. However, this is usually a case of not having matched the capacity of the system with your house size and lifestyle habits. If you want the system to be able to handle two simultaneous showers, for instance, you’ll need a higher capacity unit.
Another common grumble about instant systems is that they cost more up-front. But while this used to be true, a combination of maturing instant technology and advances in the sophistication of tank systems means that the ticket prices of comparable tank vs tankless systems have basically converged. When you factor in the smaller running costs of an instant system, it may actually be the more affordable option in the medium term.
3. Power outages
If the power or the gas is out for whatever reason, a traditional storage tank system is likely to still give you decently-hot water for a while anyway – because that water is pre-heated. An instant system can’t do that – except that some gas systems will work without power, and electric systems will definitely work without gas!
4. Off-peak tariffs
Some people love the fact that, when they’re sleeping at night, their hot water system is busily heating water for the next day with a subsidised energy tariff rate. That’s not possible for an instant system that is only ‘on’ when you’re under the shower, but the criticism falls away when considering that traditional systems are typically more expensive to run on average.
While more energy efficient than tank systems, it is true that there are more energy-friendly options on the market – namely, heat pump technology and solar hot water. However, both of those options are more expensive at the check-out – and although often backed by government subsidies, the price difference can actually be huge.
Adelaide’s hot water experts can help you decide
So while there are always pros and cons to every decision you’ll make in a competitive market, most of these instant gas hot water system problems are at least matched with corresponding benefits when browsing continuous flow gas hot water systems reviews like this one. The wisdom of the choice you ultimately make will always come down to your particular circumstances, so always make sure to seek the advice of true industry experts.
All over Adelaide and beyond, Fawcett Plumbing has repaired and resolved a number of hot water issues and installed literally hundreds of different types of hot water systems. We don’t just offer great pricing, pensioner discounts and payment plans, but also free advice about the best options for your particular circumstances. Get in touch with our Adelaide plumbing company today.