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Specialists in Electric Hot Water Cylinders

Unvented Cylinders vs. Thermal Store Water Heaters: How Your Options Stack Up

13 Mar 2022

If you are like most people, you want to make an informed decision when it comes to the appliances in your home. When you replace your oven, you likely compare many different choices before settling on your final option. The same can be said for your refrigerator, dishwasher, and more.

What about your water heater, though? It plays a central role in your life, but chances are good that you don’t really know enough to make an informed decision between the various types on the market. In this post, we’re going to compare unvented cylinders and thermal store water heaters.

What Do They Do?

Both unvented cylinders and thermal store water heaters heat water. However, the way in which they do it differs.

Unvented Cylinders – Water flows into the cylinder from the mains connection. The immersion heaters heat the water to the temperature set on the thermostat. As you use the hot water, the level in the cylinder reduces and it is replenished with cold water, which must then be heated once more.

Thermal Store – You never use the water inside the thermal store cylinder at the taps. Instead, it is used to heat water from the mains through a heat exchanger. This allows the water to heat up very quickly and also ensures that you never run out of hot water.

Heating Sources

Unvented cylinders are designed to run off of electricity. The immersion heaters responsible for warming water are electric. However, there are options on the market that allow you to connect both mains power and solar panels.

On the other hand, thermal store water heaters are designed to use a wide range of heat sources, including electricity (mains, solar, and wind). In addition to electricity, you can attach them to gas, oil, and even wood-burning furnaces and boilers.

Mains Pressure Hot Water

Traditional vented water cylinders required a cold-water feed cistern in order to provide hot water pressure. Both thermal store and unvented systems get around this problem quite well and can provide mains pressure hot water at every tap in the home.

Unvented Regulations

Under current Building Regulations, unvented cylinders can only be installed, serviced, and maintained by G3-qualified technicians. Thermal store water heaters do not fall under these regulations because they are vented.

The Challenge with Venting

Unvented cylinders are sealed, which means the water inside is protected from contamination. Thermal store cylinders are vented, which means that bacteria can enter the cylinder and contaminate the water. While this water will not enter the pipes of your home, build-up can lead to sludge in the system, which means that it is important that these cylinders be serviced regularly.

Is there a clear winner between unvented cylinders and thermal store water heaters? No, they are very different solutions to the same problem and are best suited for those with very different needs. Unsure what would be best for your home? Contact EasyFlow today and we can help.


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