There’s a lot of doom and gloom from COVID-19 at the moment. So here’s something positive: I got a new hot water system.
Twelve years ago this month I got solar hot water installed: a collector panel on the roof, a tank to store the water, and a gas booster.
I thought it was going to be great. But to be honest, I never really saw a great difference in the gas bills. Over summer (when the heating doesn’t get used), gas cooking and water is still about $2 per day.
Recently the hot water has been playing up. The gas booster unit started leaking, and then stopped working – meaning the morning shower was somewhere between room temperature and lukewarm.
Twelve years perhaps isn’t a bad innings for a hot water system, so I started looking at replacements.
One philosophy is to migrate homes completely off natural gas, because unlike electricity, it’s not only non-renewable, it can never be renewable.
If you can get completely off gas, you also save a bundle in service fees. For me, this involves upgrades for hot water, heating (also due for an upgrade), and cooking (my stove is ancient, so ditto).
For hot water, I’ve ended up with a Sanden electric heat pump. A fair bit more expensive than other options, but they’re known for being very efficient. It was installed on Friday.
Despite COVID-19, the installers said they’re taking precautions, but they’d keep doing jobs for now – thankfully most of their work is outside, with minimal time indoors or directly interacting with people. And we avoided shaking hands.
A heat pump is best when accompanied with solar PV panels. This is the next step. There may be a challenge due to a lack of roof space, but this should cut my household emissions even further.
It’s a reminder that when the current crisis is over, society will still need to properly resolve climate change. COVID-19 is getting a serious response. Climate change will be just as big, if not bigger (but will probably creep up on us more slowly) if it’s not addressed properly.