Purchasing a new hot water cylinder for your home is not an easy decision. There are many different factors worth considering, including cost, quality, installation requirements and specific needs for your home and family. You mustn’t rush the process and take on all the necessary advice. Please consult with your local plumber, distributor or installer, and heed their advice. Leave the installation process to the professionals, since the last thing you need is a defective hot water cylinder because you tried to skimp on installation services and save a few bucks. Notwithstanding, here is everything you need to know about your new hot water cylinder.

Indirect or direct?

There are three main types of systems available – gas, solar and electric. Within these three categories, there are a further two subcategories: direct and indirect. An indirect hot water cylinder doesn’t have internal heating capabilities, meaning it relies on an external appliance (like a boiler) to heat the liquid in the system. There’s a lot of debate about which option works best (direct or indirect) since the direct system can heat the liquid internally without a boiler or external support. Some argue that direct systems work best because heat can be lost when transported from one network to the heater and then back again. Having said this, an indirect hydro system can be advantageous because they require less maintenance and generally have superior insulation.

What size will I need?

It’s best to err on the side of caution and opt for a larger hot water cylinder if you are unsure. Nonetheless, your local plumber will be able to recommend a suitable size and model for your home, cognisant of how many occupants in the house and estimated hydro needs. Usually, a single small hot water cylinder (or tank) will suffice for 1-3 people; however, households of 4 or more should consider upgrading in size.

Should I install my new hot water cylinder myself?

The short answer to this is no. While installing a new hydro system isn’t overly complicated, there are many things you need to be aware of, many of which you might overlook. Consequently, it is recommended that you reach out to a reliable installer or distributor of hydro systems to handle your installation needs. If you’re still not convinced, you can always reach out to your local plumber and see if they can install your new system, which will save you money in the long-run.

What could be undermining the efficiency of my system?

Some dwellings and homes are not conducive to running a reliable hydro system. Homes or apartment buildings with old plumbing networks should be prepared for less effective pressure and heating, regardless of how new and nifty your new system is. This is because older pipes generally don’t have the proper insulation, undermining the system’s ability to retain heat and warmth.

Furthermore, larger homes can also be afflicted with this problem. If your home is serviced by one central system, then distribution can become a problem. Indeed, you’ll likely notice that the outlets furthest away from the tank (including shower recesses, sinks and basins) struggle to heat up as quickly as the outlets closer to the system. The only way around this is to have additional, more direct pipes install to overcome this heating issue.

Do I need to insulate my hot water cylinder?

Modern systems come equipped with an internal insulating system, which helps with retaining heat. Usually, the mechanism is made from polyurethane foam. If your system doesn’t come with this feature, you can easily purchase a covering made from this material to help retain the heat.