If you’re researching different hot water systems because you’re buying a new home or are thinking of replacing an existing system, then you might have come across the word “califont”. For some reason, it’s a word that we only use here in New Zealand, and it refers to a type of water heating system.
A califont is also referred to by a few other terms – continuous flow hot water heating, continuous flow water heating system, gas continuous flow, instant hot water.
They all refer to a particular system used for heating water for your property.
How is a califont system different from other water heating systems?
A califont system heats water as you use it – which is why it’s sometimes referred to as instant or on-demand.
If you have a hot water cylinder instead of a califont, then you have a cylinder full of water that you keep at a certain temperature, providing hot water for showers, washing up, etc. You use either gas or electric power to keep the water in the cylinder hot. You’re also limited to the amount of hot water that the cylinder can hold. If you have a 180L cylinder, then once that 180L of hot water is used up, you need to wait for more water to heat up.
For a household of 3 to 4 people, that full cylinder could get used up with a few showers (depending on how hot and how long the showers are). Or you could run out of how water after just two showers and some dishwashing in the sink with warm or hot water. If you have teenagers in the house, you’ll probably know how long (or short) one cylinder of hot water lasts.
With a califont, on the other hand, you don’t have a hot water cylinder full of water. The system heat water as it’s used. This provides two very important benefits:
- You don’t run out of hot water.
- You don’t pay to keep water hot that you’re not using.
How does a califont work?
A califont, or continuous flow hot water system, requires gas as its source of power. It can operate with either LPG bottles or mains gas supply.
When you turn on the hot water tap, a gas burner in the heating system unit ignite to create heat. Water is heated as it passes through the heat exchanger. When you turn the tap off, the burner shuts off.
So water is heated only when you turn the tap on (as opposed to having a full cylinder of water being heated even when you’re not using it).
What is the best brand for Califont?
The most common brands here in New Zealand for continuous flow water heating are Rheem and Rinnai. At Cylinder Direct we love both of these brands – they’re reliable and provide excellent customer support. We would gladly recommend both and are certified to install both.
The biggest difference between Rheem and Rinnai is the ability to remotely control your system. With Rheem, you have the option of using their Rheem EZiSET® system on many of their continuous flow models. This allows you to control water temperature and bath level through the EZiSET® control module from your smartphone (older model phones may not be compatible). Read more here.
Is a califont or continuous flow hot water system cheaper to run?
Generally speaking, yes, a continuous flow system should save you money. As mentioned, you’re not paying to keep water hot in a cylinder when you’re not using it. This is especially useful when you’re away from home for a few days or weeks.
You do, however, need to remain mindful about how much water you’re using. Sometimes we’re more diligent about keeping our shower times short if we know that other people need to shower after us or if we’re concerned about running out of hot water.
Are there other benefits to having a califont or continuous flow hot water system?
As well as providing a continuous flow of hot water (no more running out of hot water), and potential costs savings due to not having to keep a cylinder full of water at a constant hot temperature, there are a few other benefits we like to share about having a gas califont system.
Having a califont or continuous flow hot water system means you no longer need to have a hot water cylinder. If you remove your cylinder, then, all of a sudden you have space for more storage. Most hot water cylinders are situated in cupboards, closets or under the stairs. Removing the cylinder means you free up this space for other use. (The califont system is small and sits outside.)
Another benefit of having a califont or continuous flow hot water system is the potential value it adds to your home. Because of all the other benefits mentioned, when you go to sell your home, your efficient and space-saving water heating system will be an attractive feature that potential buyers will love.
Similar to a new hot water cylinder, most warranties on a califont system are for 10 years.
Get in touch with the knowledgeable team at Cylinder Direct for a no-obligation initial chat and we’ll help you determine what’s best for your home and your budget. Have a look at our Gas Water Heating Installation page – then give us a call.