Think­ing out­side the square on wa­ter heat­ing

The Tribune (NZ) - - SAVOUR -

The tra­di­tional choices for wa­ter heat­ing have been gas, elec­tric, wood, so­lar ther­mal, and in some cases coal. Some im­prove­ments in these ar­eas have been made over the years, but it’s al­ways good to have a look at new and dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to pro­vid­ing for our show­ers, baths and dish­wash­ing.

One op­tion is heat pump wa­ter heaters, which take ad­van­tage of ef­fi­cient heat pump tech­nol­ogy to heat wa­ter rather than the more fa­mil­iar heat pumps that are turn­ing up in lounges around the coun­try as space heaters. An in­for­ma­tion sheet pub­lished by the Eco De­sign Ad­vi­sor net­work ex­plains the tech­nol­ogy this way: “A heat pump wa­ter heater trans­fers heat from an out­side heat source (usu­ally the am­bi­ent heat in air) into a hot wa­ter tank and uses a com­pres­sor/con­denser/ evap­o­ra­tor to raise the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture, the re­verse of the way a fridge works. Heat pump sys­tems use elec­tri­cal en­ergy only to ‘move’ the heat – they don’t ac­tu­ally ‘make’ heat. This makes heat pump sys­tems much more ef­fi­cient than tra­di­tional elec­tric or gas wa­ter heaters.” Another emerg­ing op­tion is so­lar wa­ter heat­ing with a twist. Tra­di­tional so­lar hot wa­ter in­volves pass­ing wa­ter di­rectly through a so­lar col­lec­tor on the roof where it is heated and re­turned to the cylin­der. This type of sys­tem has re­ceived crit­i­cism due to many im­proper in­stal­la­tions na­tion­wide as well as high re­pair bills. A sim­pler so­lar wa­ter heat­ing sys­tem has re­cently been made pos­si­ble by the im­por­ta­tion of in­ex­pen­sive so­lar elec­tric pan­els (pho­to­voltaic), a small elec­tronic gad­get, and dual el­e­ment hot wa­ter cylin­ders. One heat­ing el­e­ment in the cylin­der is con­nected to the pho­to­voltaic pan­els and the other is con­nected to mains power. This sys­tem is much eas­ier to in­stall than tra­di­tional so­lar hot wa­ter and there is no chance of leak­ing pipes! For free, in­de­pen­dent ad­vice on en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and healthy homes, ring Nel­son at PNCC on 356 8199.

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