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What’s the dilemma?

Wednesday 11th March 2020

Life is full of choices or dilemmas, depend which way you look at it. Where to shop, where to eat out, what colour car or van to have, where to holiday. Most of these ‘dilemmas’ are fairly ‘low risk’. It won’t really impact your life significantly if decide that you have made the ‘wrong’ choice later down the line- although that Orange car really was a mistake and really will impact your life :)

Closer to home there are more choices to make but again most of them can be changed with ease if you change your mind. However, when it comes to the heart of the home- the central heating system, more careful consideration needs to be given. Making the wrong choice now will leave homeowners with a system that doesn’t suit their needs; cold showers and lots of shouting down the stairs when someone ‘accidentally’ runs a tap whilst someone is in the shower.


Now, all of the heating engineers I know take time to gather information on how their customers use heating and hot water. That way they can then recommend a system and controls to suit their lifestyle, so hopefully, the arguments and inconveniences caused by a system that doesn’t suit the household needs will be avoided.

With one in 5 UK homeowners voting gas and heating engineers as the most trusted traders, I suspect that many homeowners rely on advice and guidance from the engineer as to which system will be the ‘right choice’. I also suspect that having a handy guide (like the one pictured above) about the benefits of this type of system, to show your customer will be useful. So here you go; (don’t forget to take a picture of it on your phone for later use :))


Multi outlet use- Hot water storage cylinder solutions allow for someone to take a hot shower, whilst someone else runs a fast filling bath; no-one has to wait, a perfect solution for the hurried household.


Fast filling baths- Unvented units work directly from the mains supply of water, meaning that providing the incoming mains pressure is sufficient (which in the vast majority it is), and hot water can be delivered quickly. Many people remain under the impression that hot water storage cylinders mean that they will run out of hot water, and therefore have to wait for the cylinder to heat up. If it is sized correctly according to the needs of the household, this should not happen.


One size doesn’t fit all- With many size options now available, greater consideration for which cylinder will best meet the requirements of the occupants can be given. The average person uses between 35 and 45 litres of water per day, so based on this, consideration needs to be given to sizing the cylinder correctly in line with actual expected use. This does not take into account other factors though, such as some family members taking longer in the bathroom than others, or those that may prefer to take a bath rather than a shower, and the installation of a dishwasher or power shower. The simple act of taking a bath rather than a shower could double your daily ‘average’ usage.


Smart home integration- Innovations in water heating are also on the ‘Smart’ track. Use of domestic hot water systems has changed markedly over the past 30 years, and what was once considered acceptable performance would now be considered “uncivilised”. In particular, the length of time householders are prepared to wait for hot water following a large draw-off from a cylinder (e.g. filling a bath) is shorter now than previously. Modern smart hot water storage cylinders and water storage systems are designed to understand the balance required between; responsibility to be energy efficient, and the needs of the household or commercial property.


Hot water guaranteed- Most hot water cylinders are heated via an external heat source such as a gas boiler or solar thermal. Indirect cylinders tend to be fitted with a direct backup (such as an immersion heater). Even if the boiler is broken you can still produce hot water as and when you need it.

You can get both vented and unvented indirect systems.


Renewable technology- As homeowners look to maximise the efficiency of their heating systems, they are exploring every means of recovering any heat available. Once the renewable heat has been sustainably harvested, you want to hold onto it for as long as possible, so storing hot water in an energy-efficient vessel is a ‘must'. This is where the water storage cylinder becomes a key element of the renewable heating system and choosing one designed to maximise the benefit of the renewable heat source is crucial.

For example, heat generators such as solar thermal and heat pumps often require more effective heat exchangers to maximise the system benefit, performance, and efficiency. For solar systems, the ‘dedicated' solar volume is also important, so cylinders that maximise this will provide users with a better return on their solar investment, reduce their energy bills and also help developers and specifiers achieve better results in SAP energy calculations.


Comfort- Lastly, but my no means least, and arguably the most important factor is comfort. The comfort of knowing all of the above. The reassurance that you will have enough hot water ‘on tap’ for you and your family. The comfort of a soak in a hot bath after a long day or in knowing that hot water will be ready and waiting for your morning shower. What’s not to like?



 Isaac Occhipinti, Head of External Affairs, HWA



Driving to improve standards within the domestic hot water industry