Never run out of hot water again
With energy conservation always one of the major considerations in any project today, the principle of heating hot water conventionally and storing it in a tank until it is needed is, to say the least, questionable. The energy efficient alternative lies with the principle of continuous flow water heating which has been applied successfully in countless commercial applications in the UK for many years.
The gas, tankless water heater concept is simple; once activated, the heater delivers temperature controlled water just when it’s needed, only for as long as it’s needed, and when the water is turned off, the heater goes off. Of course, if all the hot water needed were supplied in this way there would be no need for cold-water header/expansion tanks, no hot water cylinders, and no associated pipe work – quite some saving.
An environmentally friendly continuous flow gas water heater simply needs a cold water feed and a gas supply and uses a close control system to obtain very accurate temperature control of the hot water. This is achieved using microprocessors together with fast response sensors alongside fully modulating control of the combustion process. In combination with modern manufacturing techniques, this has enabled very powerful systems capable of continuously providing over 1000 litres of hot water per hour, packaged into extremely small wall mounted units.
For commercial and industrial applications continuous flow water heaters are in most cases clearly the best solution. For example, a restaurant may use hot water only at the end of the day for clean-up operations. A wall-mounted unit could provide the hot water when needed while avoiding the cost of running a large tank system all day long, and also create free space for alternative use. Hotels will generally have long periods of low usage punctuated by periods of peak demand for hot water – installing multiple continuous flow water heaters provides a perfect energy saving opportunity. Other uses include laundry facilities in hospitals and nursing homes, showers in schools and leisure centres, washroom facilities in office buildings and college halls of residence, and retail applications such as hairdressers with intermittent yet repeated hot water demand. Continuous flow hot water systems are also a useful solution when hot water is required in remote locations such as caravan and camping sites or mobile facilities for use at outdoor events, since LPG can power them.
Over the next few years, if all the new systems currently planned were switched to this technologically advanced method of water heating, then it would make an incredible contribution to the reduction of the overall construction bill, even before any consideration was made for actual savings resulting from lower energy consumption. Having said this, there are circumstances where a storage tank can still play an essential part in an energy efficient system.
Continuous flow water heating is also ideally suited to backup heating for today’s energy efficient, solar or ground source systems, which usually store water in well-insulated tanks, preheated by the renewable source. Tank temperatures will vary, dependant on ambient conditions, and it is vital to maintain the temperature at 60ºC to avoid the risk of Legionella; therefore every installation must also include a mechanism to provide additional heat.
Often many of today’s renewable energy systems use an electric water heater as the principle means of back-up heating. A more effective alternative is the modern hi-tec continuous flow gas water heater, which is around 30% more energy efficient than its electric counterpart – that’s most probably why Part L states that electric systems should be avoided wherever possible.
So check how the back up is provided. It’s relatively simple to ensure that a hot water system, designed to be energy saving, doesn’t have its green credentials muddied by lack of attention to the detail.
By reducing the cost of the provision of an everyday essential that we cannot live without – hot water – a real contribution can be made to the struggle against global warming, and until renewal energy sources become mainstream, gas powered continuous flow provides a viable, energy saving solution. So, perhaps now is the time to experience an innovative product designed to meet the needs of the environment.