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The heating and hot water industry landscape is changing rapidly, both for engineers and homeowners. Economic and environmental factors both play a part in this transition towards innovative and alternative, renewable energy generation. Isaac Occhipinti, director of external affairs, the Hot Water Association, HWA, takes a whistle-stop tour around the hot water storage options available in today’s evolving marketplace.
A homeowners brief
I need enough hot water for two adults and three kids. I don’t want to run out of hot water. I want to produce hot water efficiently. What’s the most economical way to produce hot water? I don’t have much space for a hot water tank system. Can I have a hot water tank if I don’t have an airing cupboard?
Does this sound familiar? As heating engineers going into people’s homes daily, you will be well versed with the varying demands from house to house. No two are the same, which is why product choice has become so important, along with energy efficiency and cost.
Specifying the ‘right fit’ requires knowledge; this includes considering the different types of water heaters available and determining the right size and fuel source for a home.
Home connected to the GAS mains
Home using oil as an energy source
Other methods of producing energy at a micro scale such as wind turbines, hydro power and so on, can all assist the generation of hot water which can be used for domestic outlets or central heating. Water is the perfect medium for the storage and transmission of heat, and for harvesting renewables and low power output appliances it is an essential part of the mix.
Turning briefly to combi boilers, the HWA recognise their place in the market; providing heating and hot water to approximately 16 million households, they are great ‘in their place’. But it is widely acknowledged that multi outlet use can be, a ‘no go area’ with some combi boilers. Homeowners with demand for simultaneous multiple outlet use have come to realise that combi boilers are not suitable for every property. In addition, most currently available low carbon heating solutions require a hot water cylinder, and this is reflected in cylinder sales year on year.
I hope that this brief guide is of use to you as you go about your daily work. If you have any specific questions about hot water storage, members of HWA are happy to answer them. Member details can be found on our website www.hotwater.org.uk. You will also find a host of useful resources.