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Choosing the Correct Hot Water Cylinder


1. Hot water cylinders are present in the majority of UK homes, with the exception being if you have a combination boiler or water heater boiler that produces instantaneous hot water.

Hot water cylinders come in all many shapes and sizes but are generally circular in shape and are fitted in a cupboard of some sort, with the most common location being the traditional airing cupboard.

The cylinder is measured using the actual size of the copper itself and does not include the insulation around it. Older cylinders may have a separate Cylinder Jacket to insulate them; cylinders less than 20 years old will generally have factory fitted insulation.

The most common type of cylinder is the copper type that is indirect unvented cylinder that is connected into your central heating system. So do you need to know the difference between cylinders?

Indirect Cylinder

cylinder-information-2.jpgAn indirect cylinder is used where water used to heat the boiler and radiators is used to heat the hot water in the cylinder but is kept totally separate from the water used for washing in the cylinder. Just like an electric kettle with a heating element in it, water from the boiler and radiators continuously re-circulates through the coil in the cylinder to heat the water, but never comes into direct contact with the water used for washing, these cylinders would normally operate at around 80c.

This stops corrosive elements in the heating system and radiators mixing with water for domestic use which would otherwise be polluted. The indirect cylinder usually has an electric Immersion Heater in the top of the cylinder attached to a switch which will heat the cylinder if the boiler stop working for some reason

Take a look at the image to the left. This will give you a general idea on how an indirect cylinder works and is simply for illustration purposes only.



Direct Hot Water Cylinder

image3.jpgA direct cylinder is also a standard hot water tank found in most domestic homes. This product is viable when water used for washing from the cylinder circulates directly through the boiler. There is no “heating coil” in this cylinder. The water is heated directly by the emmersion heaters located inside cylinder, this often means that the recovery time (how long it takes to heat up again) can be longer than an indirect cylinder.

The water is sourced from a cold water tank usually in the loft or roof space so it's not for consumption. These Hot Water Cylinders can be used with the economy seven electricity tariff and will require additional lagging.


Combination Cylinder - Direct and Indirect

image1.jpgA combination cylinder combines the cold water storage tank and the cylinder together in one unit. Combination Cylinders can be in the Indirect or Direct configuration. The most common size of combination cylinder has 115 litres of hot water storage and 20 litres of cold water storage. This type of cylinder is ideal for premises where a cold water storage tank cannot be fitted due to space restriction such as a flat.




Economy 7 Hot Water Cylinders - Direct and Indirect

Economy 7 cylinders do not have a coil but are available in a Direct format and an Indirect format. The cylinders have been designed to incorporate two immersions fitted into the top and the bottom of the cylinder to utilise off-peak electricity tariffs

These products are also known as Maxistore Cylinders

Article by Rusty

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