Regarding hot water systems for your home, there are a few main options to provide endless hot water and keep you out of a cold shower. The most common choices are storage tank water heaters, continuous flow water heaters, and instant or on-demand water heaters. Before deciding on a new hot water system, it’s essential to understand how each type works and critical factors like efficiency, costs, and environmental impact.

Researching the pros and cons of storage tanks, continuous flow, and instant natural gas water heaters will help you make the best choice for your household’s needs and budget. This article provides an overview of the available gas water heater systems and considerations as you evaluate which suits your home.

With information on how they operate, installation and operating costs, and tips for choosing a qualified installer, you’ll be better equipped to make this significant home system decision.


Choosing a Quality System

When selecting a new hot water heater, choosing a system that meets vital safety and performance standards is essential. All major brands offer models compliant with PCA (Plumbing Code of Australia) and WaterMark certification. These certifications indicate the materials and construction meet stringent quality guidelines for safety and reliability.

The PCA provides the standards and regulations for proper plumbing system design, installation, and inspection in Australia. WaterMark further verifies that plumbing products are fit for purpose and authorizes using the WaterMark trust mark. Together, PCA compliance and WaterMark certification provide assurance you’re getting a quality system.


It’s also essential your system is installed correctly by qualified professionals. The PCA sets training and licensing requirements for plumbers to ensure competence. Don’t leave such a vital home system decision simply to a salesperson. Take time to understand the water heaters available—storage tank, tankless, gas, electric, solar—and determine the optimal one for your household. 

Consult with PCA-certified plumbers like The Brisbane Plumbers for expert guidance based on your needs. Quality installation is critical to maximizing the performance and longevity of your hot water system.

How Gas Hot Water Systems Work

Storage Tank Systems

– Storage tank heaters consist of an insulated tank that holds and heats a large volume of water. A gas burner inside the tank heats the water, and a thermostat controls gas flow to the burner to maintain a set temperature.

– These systems provide a reliable supply of stored hot water, but energy can be lost by heating unused water in the tank.

Continuous Flow Systems

– Continuous flow systems instantly heat water as needed instead of maintaining a hot water tank. When a hot water tap is opened, a sensor activates the gas burner, and a heat exchanger rapidly heats the flowing water on demand.

– These systems avoid standby energy losses but require electricity to control the burners and sensors.

Key Differences

– Storage tank systems only use natural gas or propane fuel for heating, while continuous flow relies on electricity for the burners to operate.

– The on-demand heating and absence of a storage tank make continuous flow systems more energy efficient. However, gas storage tanks have lower upfront costs than constant systems.

Choosing the Right System

– Weigh the convenience of always having hot water ready from a storage tank against the higher efficiency and lower operating costs of heating water only as needed with continuous flow.

– Consider your household’s hot water usage, fuel availability, and installation cost factors to select the optimal system.

– Consult qualified professionals to design your home’s best gas water heater.

Installation Considerations

Installing a gas water heater requires careful planning and execution. Storage tank heaters are larger and heavier than compact continuous flow units. Ensure you have adequate space for the tank and any necessary ventilation requirements.

Continuous flow heaters have more excellent gas and electrical demands. The gas line must provide sufficient fuel input pressure for the high-powered burners. These units also need dedicated electrical circuits and often upgrades to handle the load.

Safe exhaust venting is critical for all gas water heaters. Proper venting removes combustion byproducts and protects indoor air quality. Choose the correct venting type and follow codes for allowed configurations, materials, and termination clearances.

Consult qualified professionals to assess your current infrastructure when replacing an existing unit. A site evaluation will determine if any gas, electric, venting, or plumbing modifications are required. Taking steps to ensure optimal installation will maximize the performance and longevity of your gas hot water system.


Operating Cost Comparisons

When evaluating the long-term costs of a gas water heater, the fuel type and efficiency are key factors. Systems using natural gas as the energy source are substantially more cost-effective than propane/LPG options.

While LPG water heaters have lower upfront installation costs, propane is a much more expensive fuel per British thermal unit (Btu) than natural gas. Estimates show LPG operating costs can be nearly double that of a natural gas heater over a ten-year lifespan.

Regular maintenance also impacts operating expenses. Critical tasks like flushing sediment from the tank bottom, replacing anode rods, and servicing pilots ensure peak efficiency and extend the system’s lifetime.

Newer gas water heater technologies can provide even more significant energy savings. Heat pump water heaters use electricity much more efficiently by transferring ambient heat. Solar thermal systems with roof panels also harness renewable energy to offset fuel use.


Propane water heaters produce substantially more carbon emissions than natural gas systems when evaluating environmental impact. Solar, heat pumps and natural gas water heaters have the lowest carbon footprints and utilize renewable energy sources. Choosing one of these sustainable technologies over propane or electric-powered coal plants is an eco-friendly option that reduces your home’s greenhouse gas contributions.

When selecting a new gas water heater, weigh the upfront equipment and installation cost against projected operating costs over its lifespan. A more expensive but highly efficient system can repay the initial investment over time through energy savings. Consult experts to evaluate options like solar thermal and heat pumps that leverage renewable energy to reduce your utility bills and environmental footprint.

Choosing The Right Installer

Selecting the right company to install your new gas water heater is just as important as choosing the right system. Research to verify installers have proper licensing, training credentials, and a solid reputation. Look for reviews on sites like Google to evaluate past customer experiences.

Beware of salespeople posing as experts. Seek consultants who take the time to understand your needs and provide unbiased recommendations not driven by commissions. Ask plenty of questions at the consultation to assess their knowledge. A trustworthy installer focused on your best interests will answer all inquiries thoroughly and explain how different systems align with your hot water usage, budget, and goals.

Work with established local plumbers like The Brisbane Plumbers that back experience with PCA certification. Their expertise will ensure your system is sized, selected and installed correctly to maximize efficiency and longevity. Don’t leave your gas water heating needs to chance – let qualified professionals handle this vital home system upgrade.

The Right Hot Water System for Your Home

Choosing a new gas water heater involves weighing many factors, from efficiency to costs. For help selecting the optimal system for your household, consult the trusted professionals at The Brisbane Plumbers. Let our expertise guide you to the perfect water-heating solution.