Electric Hot Water Tanks from Rheem, Everhot, Aquamax, Thermann
Electric hot water tanks aka electric storage hot water heaters are without a doubt the cheapest heater to install. They are very basic in design with only a few components.
- Vitreous enamel coated steel tank – higher end tanks available in Stainless Steel
- A replaceable sacrificial anode inside the tank roughly the size and shape of a broom handle. These erode over time but prevent corrosion of the tank. These can be changed around the 5 year mark to considerable extend the life of the tank, though few people are aware of this.
- A heating element, usually 3600 watts or 4800 watts and on larger electric hot water tanks sometimes 2 of these i.e. Dual Element models
- A thermostat that measures the water temperature and determines when to turn on the heater element.
Manufactures seem to have become quite good at building storage tank heaters to last just past the warranty period. Perhaps something to do with the size of the sacrificial anode used. Tank are available with different warranties, usually its 7 years however some are only 5 years and some of the higher end stainless steel models come with 10 year warranties.
Although the initial installations cost of an electric hot water tank makes them the cheapest choice, they are the most expensive to run energy wise, even on off peak or shoulder electricity rates. Here is a great calculator from Rheem to compare energy costs.
And from it some examples:
Electric hot water tank – Domestic Tariff – $1526.29 a year in electricity
Electric hot water tank – Off Peak Tariff – $665.45 a year in electricity – not too bad but needs a meter upgrade and only heats water between 11pm and 7am so if you use it all up during the day you have no hot water at night unless you get a dual element heater and have a booster. But then you’re back to square one paying full domestic tariff to heat the water during the day.
Gas hot water tank – $549.44 a year in Natural Gas – no time restrictions like off peak electric but still requires time to recover from heavy hot water usage.
Continuous flow gas hot water 5 Star – $469.98 per year in Natural Gas
Continuous flow gas hot water 7 Star – $410.98 per year in Natural Gas
Since 2013 all hot water supplied to sanitary fixtures (basically anything except the kitchen sink or laundry tub) must be tempered to a maximum of 50 Celsius. For more information on when and why these are required and how much they cost click the link below
How much to supply and install?
Below is a rough guide to cost of a straight swap, like for like, heater replacement including removal of the old heater but not including a tempering valve. Most manufactures supply tanks with a 1 year parts and labour warranty and a 7 year warranty on the tank.
All prices include GST
50 Litre – $690
80 Litre – $890
125 Litre – $990
160 Litre – $1090
250 Litre – $1190
315 Litre – $1290
Prices may vary around 5% either way depending on brand and model. Above is just a guide only.
Pros and Cons
- Cheapest supply and installation cost.
- When replacing like with like there is no need to consider current plumbing as it should go straight in
- Quickest and simplest of all heaters to install
- Practically the only option where there is no Natural Gas available
- Most expensive as far as running costs are concerned
- Large bulky footprint and not the most aesthetically pleasing sight down the side of a house
- As hot water is used cold water enters the tank to replace it. The more hot water used the lower the temperature in the tank as the heating element cannot keep up with the demand.
- The first part to fail is usually the tank itself at around the 8 to 12 year mark and it is not repairable. Only option is to replace it
- Water wastage through worn temperature relieve valves is common especially in Summer
Don’t Miss Out!
If you switch from an electric storage hot water system to a continuous flow hot water heater before March 31st 2015 you may be eligible for a $500 eftpos card to use at any eftpos terminal across Australia courtesy of Jemena, the natural gas network supplier.