Wise up to water waste heat recovery

Ashley Prescott from Power-Pipe UK

Ashley Prescott from Power-Pipe UK

By recovering the heat from outgoing warm waste water, such as shower water, it can be used to pre-heat incoming cold fresh water, thereby helping to save energy and keep heating bills down. Ashley Prescott, a Director at Power-Pipe UK, highlights a simple solution that could prevent money going down the drain.

Wasted hot water is a huge untapped resource in the UK which is why it is important to have a good understanding of the technologies that can make showering and other hot water processes more energy efficient.

The shower is one of the biggest energy users in the home. In the UK, the average shower lasts around eight minutes and uses the same amount of energy as:

• Boiling a kettle 22 times
• Leaving the TV turned on for 26 hours |
Running your laptop for 36 hours
• Having an LED light on for 13 days

Typically, up to 90% of heat produced during showering is lost down the drain but the majority of this energy is recoverable through Waste Water Heat Recovery (WWHR).

These devices are up to 70% efficient and on average can save homeowners up to 10% a year on their annual energy bills or 500kWh per person. In a typical family household, this could be a cost saving of £80 to £100 a year, and the more people using the shower, the greater the energy saving returns.

As well as cost savings, WWHR also reduces annual carbon emissions by between 300 and 1000kg, dependent on how often the occupants shower and what fuel they use to heat their water.

Cost saving
For new builds WWHR is a no-brainer because it enhances the sustainability credentials of a property, keeps hot water bills down, saves money on building costs and is easy to install.

Waste Water Heat Recovery is now recognised by The National House Building Council (NHBC) as one of the methods that can be used to pass Building Regulations Part L and is the most cost-effective way of increasing a Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) score.

Dependent on the model or size, a WWHR unit will cost between £250 to £750 (including installation) but will offer a generous SAP uplift which could be the difference between a pass or a fail on a property.

From a practical point of view, installation is straightforward as it has no specialist design or commissioning and simply replaces a section of a soil stack.

WWHR systems have no electrical components, filters or controls so require no user interaction or maintenance. If they are made from 100% copper, they are also expected to last the life span of a building.

The most effective set up for residential applications is where the pre-warmed water is sent to both the shower and the water heater. This is known as the System A configuration within a SAP calculation, and provides maximum performance and energy savings.

There are a number of WWHR products on the market, but what’s special about the Power-Pipe system? There are a number of key features which set it apart from competitor models.

Firstly, installation is much more straightforward with a Power-Pipe WWHR system. This is because all our systems come with 22mm connections as standard. This means the person who is fitting it won’t have to reduce the size of the incoming mains water feed which would restrict the flow of the water passing through it.

Unlike other WWHR systems, these 22mm connections, along with our patented multi-coil design, ensure virtually no pressure loss to the pre-heated water system. This means multiple showers can be run off one unit, making it even more cost-effective.

The Power-Pipe system also has a vented twin wall between the waste and potable water. Not all systems have this and it helps to avoid any possible cross contamination between the two water supplies and detect a leak if one occurs.

Choice of sizes
Power-Pipe also offers greater installation flexibility as it’s the only system that comes in two diameters (50 and 100mm) and multiple lengths (from 610 to 2130mm) which gives you the choice to find a unit that best meets your budget and energy efficiency requirements.

Finally, our technical team offers free training to plumbers to become approved Power-Pipe installers. They will receive expert advice and one-on-one support to ensure they can fit all systems to ensure maximum efficiencies and to comply with SAP.


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