With so many more apartments being built today around Sydney, choosing the right hot water system for each apartment is more relevant than ever. There are numerous choices depending on many factors such as space available, gas or electricity available to the unit, the hot water demands of the householder, one’s budget and the size of the apartment. Listed below are the most common types and sizes of hot water systems found in apartments around Sydney, together with the exact location within the apartment that they are most likely to be installed?
50 Litre Tank
The 50 litre tank is probably the most frequently sized water heater found in apartments around Sydney. This is mainly due to both its small, compact size and its ease of installation. Being only 670mm – 700mm in height and approximately 400mm in diameter, it comfortably fits under a kitchen bench, laundry bench or even bathroom vanity. Another place in which these 50 litre tanks are often installed is inside a hallway cupboard or laundry cupboard. Therefore, these systems can be easily concealed and hidden away out of site. Another location is on brackets on the laundry wall or even bathroom wall – often due to limited space within the apartment and therefore creating further space on the floor.
These 50 litre systems are easily installed in virtually any apartment due to them working on electricity. There are two options for electricity connection for the 50 litre system – one being a hard wired set up where the cable is run from the switchboard to the actual hot water system; the other being a plug in to power point option. The plug in option makes installation of a 50 litre possible in virtually any situation because all you need is a power point and then water pipe run to it and connected to the hot water taps.
50 litre water heaters are found in virtually every apartment building in Sydney. Some typical examples of suburbs within Sydney’s East are Bondi Junction, Bondi, Maroubra and Randwick. Sydney’s CBD also has many tall buildings, as does Manly on the Northern Beaches and Parramatta in the Western Suburbs.
80 Litre Tank
80 litre tanks are not as commonly found in apartments as the smaller 50. Reason being that they take up more space and therefore won’t fit in certain places, like under a kitchen bench , laundry bench, bathroom vanity or cupboards with certain height restrictions. However, for apartments wanting that extra capacity of hot water, the most common locations within the apartment are: on laundry floor, sometimes on heavy duty steel brackets suspended on laundry wall, hallway or storage cupboard and on an outside balcony. The height of these tanks are approximately 920mm – 950mm, and the diameter around 490mm. These dimensions make the 80 litre unit approximately 250mm taller and 90mm larger in diameter than the smaller 50 litre. Apartments with more space in either the laundry or hallway or storage cupboards, may be inclined to opt for the larger 80 litre unit in order to get those extra few minutes of showering.
125 Litre Tank
Much less common again is the 125 litre. Although its diameter is the same as the 80 litre unit, its height of approximately 1340mm, makes it around 400mm taller than the 80 litre. This significant difference in height limits the positions in an apartment in which the 125 litre can be installed. Common positions are: on the laundry floor, in a hallway cupboard or on an outside balcony.
The benefit of the 125 litre is its extra capacity, allowing it to provide significant extra hot water (5 – 10 minutes) compared to the smaller 80 and 50 litre units. Once the water runs out of these tanks, they then go through a reheating cycle, and the smaller the tank, the quicker it is to reheat the whole tank.
160, 250, 315 and 400 Litre Tanks
These much larger tanks are very rarely found in apartments around Sydney due to their extra height and diameter. Only apartments of much larger floor space or purpose built apartments, are likely to have water heaters of this larger size. It is possible that newer luxury apartment buildings in Sydney CBD, harbour side locations in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, harbour side spots in Sydney’s Inner West and Northern Beaches are more likely to have these larger capacity tanks.
Apart from the extra hot water available, a further benefit of these larger capacity tanks is the option of connecting them to Off Peak heating. This presents the householder with significant savings in heating / energy costs, due to its lower Off Peak rates. Off Peak heating is only available to these larger tank sizes. However, in order for an apartment to connect to this cheaper heating, its building needs to have accessibility to the Off Peak cabling (something that is not always physically possible).
3 Phase Electric Instantaneous
The electric 3 Phase instantaneous water heaters are not as often found in apartment buildings, compared to the more common hot water tanks. These 3 Phase water heaters require 3 Phase electricity, making them more difficult to have installed in an apartment building. In fact, they are more likely to be found in much older buildings, where provision was made for their installation many years ago. Once a 3 Phase unit has been installed, it is easy to replace it with another 3 Phase water heater. Years ago, these systems were installed a lot more frequently than they are today.
Being smaller and more compact than the 50 litre tank, they can be installed virtually anywhere in an apartment, as long as 3 Phase power and water connections are nearby. Their compact size makes them very suitable for apartments, especially those with limited space.
These systems have a significant energy saving advantage, in that they only heat up when a hot water tap is turned on, and immediately stop heating when the hot water tap is turned off. The energy savings can be quite significant over time. However, one big disadvantage is its very low water pressure, particularly noticed when having a shower. For people who are used to the higher water pressure supplied by a mains pressure hot water tank, this significant reduction in water pressure from a 3 Phase unit can become a major source of frustration. So much so that the energy savings becomes a lesser priority, compared to the importance of having a full water pressure shower daily.
3 Phase electric instantaneous units can be found in any region of Sydney, but the more common areas are Sydney’s Southern Suburbs, such as Eastlakes, Botany, Mascot, Arncliffe, Rockdale, Bexley, Cronulla, Sutherland Shire and many more.
Gas Continuous Flow Water Heaters
The gas continuous flow water heaters are less commonly found in apartments around Sydney, but rather in houses, town houses and villas. However, more modern apartments and newly built apartment blocks sometimes create the opportunity for the installation of these gas systems. In order to have them installed inside an apartment, there needs to be gas piping run to the exact position of the water heater, as well as the provision for appropriate gas flue pipe through either an internal wall to outside, or through a ceiling space to outside. This gas flue pipe takes the gas emissions from the water heater to the outside air. So without the appropriate gas piping and flue piping, it is simply not possible to install a gas continuous flow inside an apartment.
However, if there is natural gas in an apartment building, another possible location for the gas continuous flow to be installed is on the outside balcony. Being outside, the flue becomes less of an issue. Therefore, it is becoming more common to find these water heaters either on an outside balcony or even on an outside wall to an apartment building, pending strata approval of course.
One advantage of these gas systems is their energy saving (leading to lower heating / energy costs), due to them only heating up when a hot water tap is turned on. They immediately cease heating once a hot water tap is turned off. Another advantage is the continuous hot water provided. That is, they virtually never run out of hot water, as opposed to electric tanks which are restricted by their litre capacity.