Gas Geyser vs Solar Geyser – The Pros & Cons
If you’re looking at reducing your home electricity consumption, one of the biggest culprits is the humble electric hot water heater. That’s no surprise. Your electric geyser generally accounts for 30 – 40% of your monthly electricity bill. All that for a hot bath or shower!
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the gas geyser vs solar geyser debate, and weigh up the pros and cons of both, so you can decide which is the best alternative for your home to meet your hot water requirements.
Getting a geyser – what options do I have?
If you are building or renovating, you have a number of energy options for heating water. Depending on where you live you will generally be able to choose from:
- Electric geyser – most common, available in most South African homes.
- Gas geyser – LP gas widely available in most areas of South Africa.
- Solar geyser– widely available, however, the viability of installing solar panels on your property will depend on a number of factors.
All of these options have their pros and cons. Today, we will be comparing gas and solar geysers, under the assumption that you’re looking for an alternative to electric water heaters to reduce the impact of load shedding on your home.
Solar geysers: the advantages
- Renewable energy: The sun is a free, widely available energy source in South Africa. We get on average 2500 hours of sunlight annually, which is between 8 and 10 hours daily.
- Cost-effective: Once installed, the solar geyser starts paying itself back immediately in savings on your electricity bill.
- Works during load shedding: Having a solar-heated geyser means that even if there’s load shedding during the day, you’ll still have hot water for cleaning and bathing.
- Reduces your electricity consumption: reducing your dependence on Eskom in any way is a good thing, and advisable in the long-term.
- Can meet 50 – 90% of your hot water requirements: depending on your household usage and environmental factors (such as positioning of panels and sunny/cloudy days).
Solar geysers: the disadvantages
- Cloudy days: if the sun isn’t shining, it’s unlikely to be heating your water. Yes, there are more efficient solar panels these days, but they’re still expensive. So on cloudy days, you’ll be in a bit of a pickle.
- May require electricity/gas as a backup: at night time, or on cloudy days, you’ll need an alternative to solar energy.
- Prone to damage: solar panels can get damaged by a particularly violent hail storm.
- Requires higher initial cash outlay: the price difference between solar and electric geysers is quite steep. You’ll have to pay a sizable chunk upfront.
- Can only be installed by the professionals: Requires a solar electrician *and* a plumber to install, as it needs a certificate of compliance.
Gas geysers: the advantages
- LPG Gas is widely available: Gas bottles can be swapped out relatively easily when finished, and it’s not too expensive to buy more when it runs out.
- Gas means hot water on demand: regardless of the weather, or time of day, if there’s gas in the tank, you’ll have a supply of hot water that meets your demand exactly.
- Compact size: A gas geyser is a compact box that is mounted to the wall outside your house closest to the bathroom where it will be used. It does not store water, unlike an electric geyser which is mounted in the ceiling.
- Low risk: The size and location of a gas geyser (in comparison to an electric geyser, which holds between 50 and 250 litres of water) means there is little risk of a geyser bursting and damaging large portions of your ceiling and flooding the rooms below.
- Energy efficient and cheaper to run: while not free like solar, a gas geyser is generally cheaper than an electric water heater, because you’re not heating an entire 50 – 250 litres of water at a time. You’re heating only what you need.
Gas geysers: the disadvantages
- Gas can finish without warning: You might find yourself mid-shower when the gas runs out. This can be inconvenient, particularly if it’s late at night and you don’t have a spare bottle to switch over to. Gas shortages happen, what do you do then?
- Some require electricity to ignite: Make sure you know whether the gas geyser you’re purchasing requires electricity to ignite the gas, otherwise you’ll be without hot water during load shedding, even though you got gas to get you through load shedding!
- Water-pressure dependent: if the water pressure on your property is poor, the gas geyser will not operate optimally which can affect your shower enjoyment. In this case, it’s advisable to purchase a force-fan geyser that compensates for low pressure.
- Winter can affect your hot water: In cold months, when temperatures are low, it will take longer for the gas to heat the water from lower temperatures, especially when the water has been standing overnight in the pipes.
- Can only be installed by the pros: Requires a gas technician *and* a plumber to install. Every gas appliance on your property requires its own gas line, and installation, and must have a valid certificate of compliance from a registered gas technician.
Solar geyser vs gas geyser: the comparison
Whether you choose to go with a gas geyser or a solar geyser will all depend ultimately on your budget and lifestyle requirements. We’ve laid out the pros and cons of the gas geyser vs solar geyser debate, so you should be in a better position to make the decision for yourself, knowing all the facts.
Need to find a plumber or electrician to get the job done? Ready to speak to someone about solar?
If you’re a registered, experienced plumber, gas or solar technician we want YOU.
But wait, there’s more! Here’s what you need to know about getting a plumber to install a gas geyser at your home. Then take a look at these 10 apps and gadgets to get you through load shedding.
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