As a homeowner, you may have heard the term “unvented cylinder” tossed around when discussing hot water systems. But what exactly are unvented cylinders, and why are they gaining popularity among homeowners in the UK? In this blog, we’ll delve into the basics of unvented cylinders, exploring their benefits, installation process, maintenance requirements, and alternative options.
What are unvented cylinders?
Unvented cylinders, also known as pressurised cylinders, are water storage systems that provide high-pressure hot water throughout your home. Unlike traditional vented systems that rely on gravity to distribute hot water, unvented cylinders use mains pressure to deliver hot water to your taps and showers.
How does an unvented cylinder work?
Unvented cylinders operate on a simple yet effective principle. The cylinder is connected directly to the mains water supply, allowing cold water to enter and fill the tank. Inside the cylinder, an electric or gas-powered heating element raises the water temperature to the desired level. As the water heats up, it expands, creating additional pressure. This increased pressure is safely managed by the built-in pressure relief valve and expansion vessel, ensuring the system remains within safe operating limits. When a hot water tap is opened, pressurised hot water is delivered directly from the cylinder to the desired outlet, providing a consistent and powerful flow of hot water throughout your home.
The benefits of unvented cylinders
Powerful water pressure
Unvented cylinders offer excellent water pressure, providing invigorating showers and efficient filling of baths. This high-pressure delivery ensures that every tap in your home receives an adequate supply of hot water, regardless of its location.
Unlike traditional vented systems, unvented cylinders do not require a separate cold water storage tank, freeing up valuable loft or attic space. With a compact design, they can be installed in various locations within your property, such as airing cupboards, garages, or utility rooms.
Unvented cylinders are well-insulated, reducing heat loss and maintaining water temperature for longer periods. This energy efficiency helps to lower your utility bills, making it an environmentally friendly and cost-effective choice.
The installation process
Installing an unvented cylinder must be carried out by a qualified and registered plumber to ensure compliance with building regulations and safety standards. The installation process involves connecting the cylinder to the mains water supply, as well as integrating it with your existing heating system or renewable energy sources. During the installation, safety features such as pressure relief valves and expansion vessels are installed to prevent the cylinder from becoming over-pressurised. These measures ensure that the system operates safely and efficiently, providing you with a consistent supply of hot water.
Looking after an unvented cylinder
Unvented cylinders require regular maintenance to ensure their optimal performance and longevity. Here are a few essential maintenance tasks:
- It is recommended to have your unvented cylinder serviced annually by a qualified plumber. They will inspect the system, check the pressure relief valves, inspect the expansion vessel, and ensure all safety features are functioning correctly.
- Over time, mineral deposits and limescale can build up inside the cylinder, affecting its efficiency. Testing the water quality periodically can help identify any issues and allow for appropriate treatment, such as descaling.
- Keep an eye on the pressure gauge, temperature settings, and any signs of leakage. If you notice any abnormalities, it’s crucial to contact a professional plumber to investigate and resolve the issue promptly.
What are your other options?
These rely on gravity to distribute hot water. They consist of a hot water storage tank, a cold water storage tank, and a header tank. Vented systems are generally less expensive to install; however, they may provide lower water pressure compared to unvented cylinders.
Tankless water heaters
Also known as combi boilers, these heat water on demand, eliminating the need for a storage tank. They are space-saving and provide instant hot water, but their water pressure may vary depending on the model and the number of outlets used simultaneously.
Unvented cylinders offer numerous benefits, including powerful water pressure, space-saving design, and energy efficiency. Their installation and maintenance must be entrusted to a qualified plumber to ensure safety and compliance. The team at Platinum Plumbers have this expertise, making us a great choice if you decide you’d like an unvented cylinder. Call 020 8855 0361 to discuss your requirements.