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Hot water systems Every home has a hot water system that heats water using electricity (solar or heat pump) or gas (bottled or reticulated) for ready use in the household. The type of hot water system installed in your home depends on legislative compliance, the number of bedrooms at the property, whether it is a detached house or multi-unit accommodation or, if it has access to reticulated gas. Electric Hot Water Systems Electric water heaters that can heat water at any time of day are the most expensive option and use the most greenhouse gasses. In social housing properties, the department has commenced replacing electric hot water systems, as they fail, with greenhouse gas efficient hot water systems (such as gas hot water systems and heat pumps). Gas hot water systems Gas hot water systems burn either natural gas, delivered via a piped gas (reticulated) network, or bottled gas (LPG) to heat water. There are two main types of gas water heaters: storage and instantaneous. Storage systems heat the water stored in a tank. Instantaneous heaters, sometimes called continuous flow, don't have a storage tank and only heat the water when it is required. Using gas instead of electricity to heat your water can help to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, and may lower your water heating costs. Natural gas however, is not available everywhere in Queensland. Heat pumps A heat pump is a type of electric storage water heater that extracts heat from the environment (air, water or ground) to heat water. A heat pump operates like a refrigerator, but in reverse. The air temperature is used to heat a refrigerant, which converts to a gas. The gas is then compressed, generating heat, which is transferred to the water. The refrigerant is expanded back to a liquid and the cycle repeats. Electricity is not used to directly heat the water but to move the refrigerant around the system. This system uses much less electricity compared to an electric hot water system and can save you approximately $400* a year on your energy costs. Important: If you are having a heat pump installed in your home, your appliance will need to be connected to Tariff 33 (for heat pump hot water systems over 125L capacity) to guarantee the hot water flow. Being on any other tariff may interfere with the operation and cost effectiveness of the heat pump hot water system. Please refer to the Heat Pump Fact Sheet for more information. Hot water system capacity The table below provides a guide to the different storage capacity and flow rates for hot water systems depending on the size of your home. The capacity of your hot water system will affect which electricity tariff you can access. Type Bedrooms Capacity Tariff Gas storage 1, 2 or 3 135 – 330 litre N/A (including Liquid Petroleum Gas 4–5 360 litre N/A (LPG)) Gas continuous 2–5 16 – 18 litre per minute N/A flow Tariff 33 (preferred 1, 2 or 3 250 – 275 litre option) Heat pump Tariff 33 (preferred 4–5 340 litre option) Tariff 11 (preferred 1 50 – 80 litre option) Tariff 11 (preferred 2 125 litre option) Tariff 33 (preferred Electric Storage 3 250 litre option) Tariff 33 (preferred 4 315 litre option) Tariff 33 (preferred 5 400 litre or larger option) Electricity Tariff Information The information below is provided as a guide only. For more detailed information on electricity tariffs, please contact your electricity supplier. Domestic (Tariff 11) - This is the electricity tariff for general residential usage. When there is only one electricity meter set up for one household, all electrical usage for lighting, power and water heating is charged at the Tariff 11 rate. Electric storage hot water systems smaller than 250 litres must connect to this tariff otherwise they are at risk of running out of hot water. Super Economy Plan (Tariff 31) - The Super Economy Plan is the cheapest tariff available for water heating. This is because the electricity supply is available only at low electricity-demand periods, such as at night when generators would otherwise be idle. Economy Plan (Tariff 33) - Only hot water systems with a capacity of 125 litres and above can be switched to Tariff 33. The Economy Plan is up to 40% cheaper than your normal Domestic Tariff 11. Electricity supply is available for at least 18 hours per day. Tenant Installations Tenants can also apply to the department for approval to install a solar hot water system or heat pump to their property at their own cost if they are in a house, duplex or townhouse. Please contact your local housing service centre for more information and conditions for installing your own solar hot water system or heat pump.
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