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Dual hot water heaters: why it is worth doing?

In the extension we paid extra for a second instant gas hot water heater to be fitted to the kitchen wall.

Our primary reason was that we were concerned about the distance from our existing gas storage heater to our upstairs shower.  When we moved into the house in 2006 and had the new hot water heater installed, the only place that met regulations with respect to how far it had to be from a window was the end wall of the house.

With the new kitchen as far from the heater as it could be, and the ensuite upstairs, we opted for two features:

  1. a small instant hot water heater on the outside wall of the new kitchen, at the opposite end of the house
  2. plumbing the upstairs ensuite from both hot water heaters, with a tap in the roof enabling us to switch between them.
Our thinking was that we'd save water by getting hot water more quickly from the tap in the kitchen if the hot water heater was right outside.  Running two heaters would increase our green house gas emissions though.  We also thought that as our children get older and start having showers, we may want to have the ensuite shower on a different source of hot water in case we ran out, or were often having showers at the same time.  We didn't think we'd want to swap often so we told our builder that the tap could be in the roof space.

When the ensuite was plumber, the plumbers actually (sensibly) put the tap in the vanity of the ensuite.  This means we can easily swap between heaters - but again I think that would be a rare event.

When it came to install the instant hot water heater, the plumber found that a larger unit was on special and cheaper than the smaller unit, so we received a "free" upgrade.

Our ensuite shower is great, with strong, warm, flow.  We love our "old" shower fitting but there's barely any water pressure into that bathroom and it is something we need to have a plumber look at. We will also need to offset our increased green house gas emissions - our low energy lighting is one way, and future solar electricity will be another.

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