Thermal Store – Mains Pressure Hot Water Performance Without the Restrictions of Unvented Cylinders

Thermal Stores have been a successful and highly efficient hot water solution in the UK for about 40 years, yet many installers prefer them over unvented cylinders. It's no surprise that sometimes it's simpler to simply replace what's there or simply return to what you know best.

However, thermal stores are becoming more popular, particularly because they eliminate many of the problems installers experience with unvented cylinders, as well as the hidden expenses of installation that are perceived as “simply part of the work.”

So, why are so many installers considering using a thermal store to simplify the installation process and improve the completed solution with a fit-and-forget hot water solution?

It is sometimes done out of necessity. For example, when converting commercial premises into private flats and a mains pressure hot water solution is required, it is nearly hard to construct the discharge piping required by G3 of the building rules for unvented systems. In other instances, such as when combining renewable energy inputs or the cylinder/tank needs to be positioned in a specific portion of the residence where space is limited, it shows to be the ideal choice for the project.

It simply makes life easier for savvy installers with a fit-and-forget solution that is less hard to install and does not require ongoing yearly maintenance.

Turning the Traditional Approach Around

Thermal StoreBut how does a thermal store function?

The capacity of thermal storage to supply mains pressure hot water without needing ongoing annual maintenance makes them an ideal option for unvented units for end users, housing associations, and landlords.

This is accomplished by reversing the typical hot water technique.

Instead of storing hot water under pressure in the cylinder and then using it for taps and showers when needed, the thermal store functions more like a battery, storing energy from any fuel source when it is cost-effective and then providing hot water and heating when needed in an inherently safe open vented store.

The mains pressure hot water is produced by passing the cold water from the mains via the extremely efficient internal coil. There is no risk of legionella because the hot water is created instantly and not kept.

Another advantage of thermal stores over unvented systems is that domestic hot water is mixed at the unit to produce the ideal temperature of roughly 52 degrees Celsius when supplied to the taps and showers.

The stored water is circulated across the underfloor heating system or wet central heating system to give heating.

Making the Installation Process Easier the system is not pressurised, it behaves similarly to a vented cylinder and hence provides numerous extra benefits to installers in terms of simplifying the installation procedure.

The first major advantage is the ability to locate the thermal store anywhere on the property, eliminating the need for complicated discharge pipework and the implications of screeding the pipework beneath the floor, which is required to allow the fall required prior to discharging into a high-temperature soil stack. This makes them a great choice for apartment buildings or projects converting commercial office buildings into private residences, allowing mains pressure hot water to be distributed throughout the property.

Furthermore, the thermal storage may be built as a fully customised solution, not only in terms of tapping points but also overall dimensions, regardless of whether the demand is tall, short, fat, or thin. The extra flexibility of mains pressure hot water provided from a cube design tank, which means the space needed may be reduced by 25% compared to the same cylinder volume, is unique to thermal storage.

All of this implies that installers can almost certainly install a thermal store in the current space or allow homeowners to relocate the hot water solution to the attic to free up closet space.

Because thermal storage is not pressurised, they do not come under G3 of the building requirements and hence do not necessitate G3 accreditation for your installation.

Making the Most of Low-Cost Energy

In these times of ever-increasing energy expenses, it is critical to use a system that allows for the lowest possible operational costs. Thermal storage is widely acknowledged as the best method for utilising energy when it is available at a cheaper cost, such as off-peak power. Furthermore, combining several renewable energy sources may develop a genuinely efficient solution, such as employing solar to capitalise on energy created during the summer months and a solid fuel stove to provide electricity during the colder winter months.

With its unique capacity to capture energy as it is created, store it until it is needed, and then convert the heat into heating and hot water on demand, a thermal store is an ideal option for both installers and homeowners.

About Mcdonald Water Storage

McDonald Water Storage is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of hot water systems with an unrivalled reputation for quality and service. As a privately owned, independent manufacturer of hot water tanks, we are committed to delivering a flexible service designed to meet the needs of the current economic climate.

This is reflected in our extensive product range and our ability to customise any cylinder to your needs, whether a one-off bespoke cylinder or a large contract that would benefit from custom sizes or connections for ease of installation.

Our experience designing and developing hot water cylinders for renewable energy sources is second to none. Our expertise is regularly called upon by architects, engineers, specifiers and installers to ensure the most effective and efficient cylinder is delivered.

Whilst our main material of choice remains to be Copper, thanks to its superior heat transfer, environmental benefits and antimicrobial properties, we also offer our range of stainless steel unvented cylinders for those projects which are working to tight budgets.

Quality remains at the forefront of all our activities, from the grade of material to the systems and processes employed. We operate a quality system that complies with BSEN ISO 9002. The company also holds WRc (Water Research Council) certificates for the STEELflow and POWERflow range of unvented systems.

If you would like to understand our values, aims and objectives for the coming year, along with an insight into what we do and our background, click here to download our latest Business Plan.

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