Aussies Living Simply

Solar Hot Water

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    I am hoping for all your collective knowledge and experience on solar hot water systems.

    When we built this house we stupidly had one of those heat pump systems put in. Everyone keeps telling me how cheap they are but tbh I just don’t see it. I am super frugal with electricity and turn absolutely everything off but our bill still seems to be around the $350- $400 mark a quarter…

    Anyways, I was talking to hubby the other day and was discussing about getting Solar hot water with a gas backup (?)

    Any brands, thoughts, ones to avoid any of those details would be great…



    Lynnie we chose solar with electric back up as the person who supplied it (also a friend) that gas was not at the stage he would be prepared to use it in his own home and he owns the business. We find that we have the thermostat set lower than normal so we know when the solar is not as effective and have found there are few days we need the electric boost


    lynnie post=319855 wrote: I am hoping for all your collective knowledge and experience on solar hot water systems.

    When we built this house we stupidly had one of those heat pump systems put in. Everyone keeps telling me how cheap they are but tbh I just don’t see it.

    Not a Rheem per chance ? There was an issue with them some time ago, sorry I read it somewhere else some months ago, I can’t for the life of me remember where, the electric element backup never kicked out and was working all the time (or something), chewing vast amounts of power, maybe this is the issue ? If it is a Rheem, try giving them a call, I think it was a recall type thing ? If not, it might pay to have it checked out regardless ?

    Best of luck.


    I have not had the best experience with Eco Smart or Dux, and hence, would recommend to stay well clear of them.

    We have LPG Gas Boosted Solar Hot Water and the theory of it all was excellent, yet the in practice is another matter.

    PM me if you want the details.


    Thanks for the input…

    Have also been at 2 minds as to get an on demand gas system like they have in the UK. I did love the hotwater system I had over there…

    Decisions decisions..


    The absolute most efficient, lowest energy use system is an evacuated tube solar with gas boost.

    Depending on roof angle and position the evacuated tube systems are around 20% more efficient than the flat plate collectors and the gas boost is very cheap to run on cloudy days.

    Can’t help with prices or installers recommendations though.




    The funny thing is, I’ve just been wondering if my solar hot water system has been working too – since we get large electricity bills but have reduced our consumption enormously!! We’re going to have to have it looked into.

    Regarding an instant gas hot water system however, when we lived in town previously, we replaced an old electric system with it but didn’t find it any cheaper. Where the bills increased, is instead of paying just for administration costs built into the electricity bill, we had to pay for the same thing with the gas company.

    It didn’t really reduce our costs, if anything, they increased. We were paying $20 a month just for the priviledge of having a gas account, and that was before paying for what we actually used. We were connected to an underground gas line, but have lived in other places which didn’t – so in those houses, we had to pay to rent the large gas bottles, so even more cost added to the monthly utilities before paying for supply.

    Despite the cost comparisions to electricity, gas isn’t cheap and neither is it as efficient as electricity. It’s great to have for choice, especially if you live in an area with intermitent electricity supply isues. But we found upgrading in town just for one system (ie: hot water) a waste of money. We could have focussed on reducing our electricity usage instead and insulating water pipes.

    It may be more cost effective with gas, if you impliment other systems like heating in winter and gas for cooking. Just for hot water though, you’re up for another company’s administrations costs and gas line/bottle rental.


    tandto – yes it is a rheem, its been leaking too only when we have a house full of people which I think doesn’t help its only 4 years old too pile of crap…

    Thanks for the input I think I will keep investigating… I am now at 2 minds whether to just put a on demand gas hot water one…

    Decisions decisions….


    I have a solar hot water system with an electric booster.

    I have the booster turned off untill hot water needs a boost then I just turn it on for maybe an hour or less, switch off till next time it is needed.

    When I first got solar I had 6 kids and was driving a schoolbus.

    I left home at 7 am, starting the washing machine and dishwasher as I went.

    Then I didn’t need to use too much hot water untill bath time.

    This gave the sun all day to heat the water with booster in use only as needed.


    The Victorian government has some figures on running costs for various types of system –

    It compares just about every type of system. Gas/solar should cost about 1/10 the running cost of instantaneous gas…

    I can’t find figures for any other state but they should be pretty accurate Australia wide. That actual costs may vary due to changes in power prices state to state but the ratios will stay the same.




    thanks so much Airgead…

    I think I will suss out the evac tube gas back up as well, I keep forgetting about those, the only problem I forsee and I’ve heard is with hale they tend to break easier than the normal solar panels (?) could be wrong..

    Thanks for all the info I really appreciate it


    lynnie, would think that there is something wrong with your heat pump. We have a Quantum and it’s been great! We also have a 1kw grid tie PV on the roof. Our last three bills have been a total of $110 in total!

    I think the Rheem needs a bit of a look at!



    We had a gas solar hot water system installed last year and so far it seems to have made little if any difference to our gas bills.

    :shrug: :shrug:

    We’re very disappointed with this $3000+++ system.


    OK braved the cold and we don’t have a rheem we have a Dux Airoheat and after reading the reviews its a no wonder I thought it was crap. Am going to call them tomorrow and get someone out to check the leak I think it has…

    Hmmm would really like a new system me thinks….

    Have got hubby onto the plumbing section at his work to get us a price on the evac gas backup system….


    OK contacted Dux and can I say never never never buy there systems!!!

    They are going to send someone out to look at the system, if the cylinder needs replacing I will need to pay the plumber to replace it… they will send the cylinder to me for free but I have to pay the plumber…. hmmm interesting….

    Spoke to hubby about the evac solar with gas backup and a guy who installs them said… evac with natural gas is great… evac with lpg is expensive to run, will be cheaper to use an elec backup…

    am waiting on the price of the evac with elec backup system from hubbys work, but I think we may end up replacing our current system…..

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