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Water heaters are essential to modern life. However, most of us have very little idea of how they work, beyond the basics. We know that water flows into the cylinder from the mains, that it is heated, and that the temperature is maintained by good insulation around the cylinder, but that’s about it. Most of the other components are mysteries to us. For instance, what’s an anode rod and what does it do?   What Is an Anode Rod? You may hear it called an anode rod, or a sacrificial anode rod, but they are both the same thing. It’s a metal rod that’s extended into the cylinder of the water heater. It serves just one purpose – to attract corrosive elements and prevent them from causing damage to the cylinder walls. An electric current flows through the rod, charging it, and attracting particles with the opposite charge. As the particles collect, the rode corrodes, eventually succumbing to the damage and needing to be replaced.   What Is an Anode Rod Made From? Anode rods are made from metal, but different metals can be used. You will find they’re made of either magnesium, aluminium, or zinc. Each metal offers something a little bit different. Magnesium – Magnesium is the best-performing metal for anode rod construction, but it’s the least durable. It generates around 1.6 volts in the cylinder but may need to be replaced every year if your water is particularly hard or soft. Aluminium – Aluminium generates 1.1 volts and is the middle ground when it comes to anode construction. You’ll need to inspect it annually, but usually, they will only need to be replaced every five years or so. Zinc – This is the lowest performance material, generating just 1.05 volts. It has a lifespan pretty comparable with aluminium.   What Happens When an Anode Rod Fails? So, what happens when you anode rod eventually reaches the end of its lifespan? Does your water heater stop working? No, but the process of failure is accelerated. The anode rod prevents corrosive agents from attacking the walls of the cylinder. Without it, those corrosive elements go to work eating away at the inside of your cylinder, eventually causing serious problems, and, ultimately, failure.   Signs of Anode Rod Failure How do you know when your anode rod has failed? Ideally, you’ll have a water heater maintenance service inspect everything once per year. This is the only way to guarantee that you are able to replace the rod before it fails completely and extend the lifespan of your water heater. However, there are signs you can look for that may indicate your rod has already failed. It may or may not be too late to save the cylinder. Some of these signs include: Popping sounds during water heater operation Clogging faucet aerators Slimy gel on faucet aerators Water is warm but not as hot as it used to be Concerned that your anode rod might be about to fail, or have already failed? Contact EasyFlow to schedule an inspection from one of our water heater specialists.

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Today, unvented cylinders are the most frequently recommended option for residential hot water needs. They offer superior pressure in the shower and at the taps compared to vented cylinders. They do not take up as much room as vented cylinders, and they can be installed just about anywhere that there’s access to the mains, as well. However, they can suffer from a few common issues. For homeowners, it’s important to understand the most common problems you might face with an unvented cylinder.   No Hot Water   Perhaps the single most common problem you might experience with an unvented cylinder is no hot water. This can present as cold water when you open the hot tap, or no water flow at all from the hot tap. A couple of different issues can cause this problem, including no power to the water heater due to a tripped circuit breaker, or a problem with the residual current device installed on the unit. Regular maintenance will ensure that there are no reasons for your water heater to trip the breaker and that the RCD is in good working condition, as well.   Thermostat Issues   Your unvented cylinder will be equipped with a thermostat. This allows you to set the temperature on the water heater to your preferences (and to ensure safety for members of your household). It is also an important tool for helping to prevent overheating and overpressure situations. It is possible for the thermostat to malfunction in a number of ways, all of which can be prevented through annual inspections and regular maintenance by a G3-certified plumber.   Expansion Vessel or Air Bubble Problems   Unvented cylinders have either an expansion tank or an air bubble system. This allows the unit to accommodate the increased volume of heated water without any danger. However, both expansion tanks and air bubble systems can become depleted over time. This mean there is less expansion room for heated water and increased risk for your home. Annual maintenance is the best way to avoid this problem.   Pressure Relief Valve   Hot water creates a great deal of pressure within an unvented cylinder. If this builds up to dangerous levels, the tank could split. A pressure relief valve helps prevent this from happening by allowing excess pressure to be vented. If the valve fails, this cannot happen, though. Again, annual maintenance ensures that this valve is in working order.   Pressure Reducing Valve Failure   Because an unvented cylinder is connected directly to the mains, a pressure reducing valve is needed to ensure that incoming water pressure remains at a safe level. If the valve were to fail, the cylinder could become over pressured. Annual service ensures that your valve remains in good working condition.   As you can see, the single most important thing to do to prevent these common problems with unvented cylinders is to ensure that your water heater is properly serviced and maintained. Call EasyFlow on 0161 941 5571 to schedule your maintenance.

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Water is a necessity. We need it for drinking, cooking, bathing, washing the dishes, and so much more. However, how much do you know about the water that flows when you open a tap? What’s in it besides good old H2O? Water, whether you’re connected to the municipal supply or have your own well, contains more than just water. There are chemicals used to treat water to ensure it is healthy and safe for consumption. However, there are also minerals. These include things like lime, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, amongst others. Those minerals add to the health benefits of water, supplementing your intake, but they also affect other things. Consider your water heater. It does more than simply hold heated water so you can take a relaxing shower or wash up after supper. Everything inside the water heater, from the inlet to the immersion heater to the anode and the outflow comes into contact with water and the minerals it contains. Depending on the specific minerals in your supply, you will have either hard water or soft water. Both types interact differently within your water heater. The Impact of Hard Water Hard water contains a lot of magnesium and calcium. It can also include a lot of time. Not sure if you have hard water or not? The next time you boil water, look for the tell-tale white residue on the sides of the boiler. Within your plumbing, hard water creates “scale” – a layer of residue that builds and grows over time. This can damage all parts of your plumbing, from toilet workings to the interior of pipes and, yes, your water heater. In your water heater, the minerals settle to the bottom, but boiling water can raise them and create a rumbling noise. To deal with hard-water scale and mineral build-up, you can install a water softener, which will remove the minerals that cause the problem (but may cause problems of their own). You can also drain and flush the water heater annually, which is a recommended part of water heater maintenance. The Impact of Soft Water If you have soft water, the issue isn’t calcium or magnesium. Instead, it’s sodium. That causes problems of its own. Water with high sodium content will actually accelerate the corrosion and ultimate failure of the anode within your water heater. It may also corrode other parts, hastening the time when you need to replace the cylinder. The only real way to deal with soft water-related damage is to check your anode regularly and replace it when necessary. Otherwise, it could lead to leaks and damage. Do You Have Damage? Our experienced plumbers are highly trained and able to detect potential problems and repair your system. We also offer annual maintenance services that help ensure your water heater lasts as long as possible.

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Thinking about upgrading your vented cylinder for an unvented cylinder? There are plenty of advantages here, including less need for space, no need to put it in the attic of the home, better water pressure, and more. Still, it can be challenging to choose the right model given the number of unvented cylinder brands on the market.   From Gledhill to Telford, Santon to OSO, Heatrae Sadia to Megaflo, which are the differences between brands? What makes one stand out from the rest? In this post, we’ll explore what you need to know to make an informed decision.   Reheat Time from Cold One of the first things you’ll want to consider is how long it takes the cylinder to reheat from cold. That is, once you mostly empty the cylinder through a long, hot shower, or washing a load of dishes, how long will you have to wait before you have a full cylinder of hot water again? That can vary greatly from brand to brand and even model to model. Some of the better options on the market can reheat a full cylinder in 22 minutes, while others may take 24, 27, 30 minutes, or even longer.   Capacity for the Price The cylinder’s size – it’s volume – is an important consideration. However, you also need to consider the price for that capacity. While one unit might offer 170-litres in capacity, it’ll set you back around £900, not counting installation. Another brand’s cylinder of the same size would cost around £600 or so before installation. However, the more affordable option has a much longer reheat time than the second model (36 minutes versus 22 minutes). Compare your options and find an unvented cylinder that offers a good capacity for the price, but also compare with an eye for reheat time.   ErP Efficiency Rating Efficiency is a critical consideration, as it will affect the cost of operating your water heater over time. The more efficient the unit, the less it will cost to operate. However, that generally means you’ll pay more upfront. Ideally, you’ll opt for an unvented cylinder with an A rating, but that may not be in your price range. B and C ratings are also worth considering and will usually save you a little cash upfront without completely sacrificing energy efficiency.   Guarantee Your unvented cylinder will come with a guarantee against defects in materials and workmanship. However, the length of that guarantee can vary dramatically from brand to brand. Some brands offer a lifetime warranty on the entire cylinder, while others may only provide 35 or 30 years. Some brands even limit their coverage of internal components to just two years. Shop carefully so that you get the protection you need.   Need Help? We’re Here Need a hand comparing the various unvented boiler models on the market? We would love to help. Our certified unvented cylinder specialists can help you find the right brand, capacity, efficiency rating, and guarantee length for your needs and budget.

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Cold water flows into your water heater. The immersion heater warms that water. When you open the tap, hot water flows out. It’s as simple as that, right? Well not if you have a thermal store water cylinder. The water in the cylinder never actually gets to the tap. If you have a thermal store water heater, the hot water in the store passes through a heat exchanger and returns, after having given-up its heat, back to the thermal store cylinder. The heat exchanger passes the heat from the store to the fresh cold water passing through the heat exchanger from the water main. This high temperature water then enters the blending valve to be mixed with some cold water to ensure that when the water reaches your taps, it does so at the correct temperature.   The truth is that to safely enjoy hot water at the tap, you need the right equipment. One of those pieces is the blending valve, also called a mixing valve. Not sure what this might be or what it does? It’s a critical element to your family’s comfort and even affects safety. What Is a Blending Valve? Simply put, a blending valve is nothing more than a piece of equipment attached to the water heater cylinder that blends a small amount of cold water with the hot water from the heat exchanger in your tank on its way out into the pipes in your home. It blends cold water and hot water, thus the name. Why Is a Blending Valve Important? You’ll find that blending valves are critical for several different reasons. We’ll discuss those below: Safety – One of the most important reasons that you need a blending valve on your water heater cylinder is for safety. Scalding water can cause serious burns and a blending valve reduces the temperature of the water to a safer level. This is particularly important for homes with small children who are more susceptible to higher temperatures. Prevention – Your water heater cylinder is a prime place for bacteria to breed and thrive. To prevent that, the water must be stored at a high temperature; too high for safety in your home. A blending valve allows you to keep your water at a temperature high enough to kill bacteria while still ensuring that everyone in the home can use the hot water without worry. Savings – Finally, a blending valve allows you to “stretch” your hot water. Because it may only drop the temperature of the water by a few degrees, you still get good, hot water from the tap. However, you use less heated water than you would without the valve in place. This allows you to save in several ways. First, you save water, which is always good. Second, you save energy, which is also good. Finally, you save money (on both water and energy consumption), which is great. Do You Have a Blending Valve? Your cylinder may or may not be equipped with a blending valve. As a general rule unvented water cylinders do not have them and thermal store cylinders do have them, but there are some exceptions and blending valves are, in some cases, now being fitted to unvented cylinders. The only way to make sure you have the benefits offered by this piece of equipment is to have the system inspected by a professionally trained plumber. At EasyFlow, our plumbers are certified for unvented cylinders, but we’re also happy to help with other plumbing needs, including the installation of blending valves if you currently lack one. The many benefits offered, including greater safety for your little ones, make this a must-have option. Contact us today for more information.

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Gas heat is used throughout much of the UK. However, there are millions of homes that are not connected to the gas network that still need hot water and heat. Unvented Water Cylinders offer a viable solution there, providing plenty of performance, reliability, and decent energy savings. However, like any other appliance, there are care and maintenance considerations that you’ll need to make with an electric boiler. Do You Really Need to Maintain Them Annually? The simple answer here is “yes”. You should have your unvented water cylinder inspected and serviced every year. The reason for this is that unvented cylinders, while offering better performance and reliability than vented cylinders, do have inherent risks. They are pressurised metal cylinders. If one or both of the safety systems were to fail, it could be very dangerous. Annual inspections and maintenance ensure that your cylinder does not become an explosion hazard. What’s Required in Terms of Annual Maintenance? If you have used gas or oil boilers in the past, you will be pleasantly surprised by how little an electric boiler requires in the way of maintenance. There are no specific annual replacements needed, the way there are with other types of boilers. Instead, you really only need a visual and mechanical inspection of the cylinder and the associated systems – including the pressure relief valve and the temperature relief valve. Both of these must be in good working condition for an unvented cylinder to be safe. Additionally, a qualified plumber will also check a number of other things on your boiler. These include the following: Checking all electrical connections to ensure tightness and that there is no corrosion Checking the tundish and surrounding area for signs of water Checking for signs of damage to wiring, such as rodent gnawing, etc. Check the air bubble in the cylinder tank Check and recharge the expansion vessel Check the thermostat for functionality/wear As you can see, it is important that you have it performed. It’s also important that you only work with a G3 qualified plumber. They are the only professionals licensed in the UK to service unvented cylinders (this doesn’t apply if you have a vented cylinder). At EasyFlow, our professional plumbers are all G3 qualified and capable of providing the maintenance that you need. It’s never been easier to ensure that you and your family have access to a constant flow of hot water. Call us on 0161 941 5571 today to schedule an appointment.

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Whether you’re using it just to heat water for bathing and washing up, or you’re heating your entire home with it, your boiler is a critical component. If you’re thinking about installing a new one in your home, you may be on the fence about whether you should go with gas, oil, or an electric boiler. Electric models offer quite a few benefits, but it can be difficult to determine how much you’ll spend in operating costs over the course of the year. We’ll help explain what you should know below.   Type First, you’ll need to consider the type of boiler. There are several options out there. Direct boilers are the simplest, cheapest, and smallest, but they lack any type of storage, so you cannot heat a large volume of water at one time. Storage boilers come in vented or unvented cylinder types and allow you to heat many litres of water at once, but require more space for installation and usually cost a bit more. There are also dry core storage, solar compatible boilers, and electric combined primary storage units. With all that being said, unvented cylinders are the most frequently recommended for UK homes.   Energy Rating It is also important to understand that different boiler designs, models, and even brands will affect the price that you pay to operate the unit over the course of a year. The simplest way to compare these is to look at the energy rating for each unit. In general, an energy rating of C means that you will pay less in electricity costs over time than an energy rating of D. Some units also have different energy ratings for different functions. For instance, an unvented cylinder might have a C rating for hot water, but a D rating for heating.   Your Consumption Rate No matter how efficient your water heater is, the rate at which you consume hot water will also affect your costs over time. Two homes with an identical unvented cylinder but dramatically different usage rates will incur drastically different electric charges over time. Simply put, the more hot water you use, the more frequently the cylinder will need to heat cold water from the mains, which means more energy consumption.   Cost of Electricity in Your Area Another factor that will play a role in how much you pay to operate an electric boiler is the cost of electricity in your area. The cost of electricity per unit varies throughout the UK based on several different factors, including the local distributor charges, the amount of energy purchased from generators in the area, and the volume of energy sold by the supplier. Ultimately, it can be difficult to determine your average operating costs for an electric boiler on your own. Our expert plumbers can help. Call EasyFlow today on 0161 941 5571 to schedule an assessment of your home, your usage needs, and more. We can also help you understand what you might be looking at in terms of annual operating costs.   Source: https://www.boilerguide.co.uk/articles/electric-boiler-vs-gas-boiler-pros-cons-running-costs https://sse.co.uk/help/home-services/types-of-boiler https://www.boilerguide.co.uk/articles/best-electric-boilers

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Whether you’re building a new home or you’re improving your current home’s hot water system, you have many decisions to make. One of the most important is whether to use a vented or unvented cylinder. Is one better than the other? Actually, there are quite a few differences here. It’s important to make an informed decision, so we’ll walk you through the factors to consider. What’s the Difference between a Vented and Unvented Cylinder? Actually, the primary difference between these two types of water cylinders is right there in the name. A vented cylinder vents to the outside. It’s not pressurised. An unvented cylinder is not vented, and it is pressurised. However, while that difference might be obvious, it doesn’t really explain how each system works in your home. With a vented cylinder: The cylinder must be installed high up in the home because the hot water is gravity fed. There is a secondary cold-water tank that may freeze in winter if not properly protected. You do not have mains pressure hot water, which can make showering and washing up less enjoyable. There is no danger of overpressure situations. With an unvented cylinder: The cylinder can be installed almost anywhere, and it requires less room. There is no secondary cold-water tank needed. The cylinder connects directly to the mains for improved water pressure throughout your home. There is a risk of overheating and overpressure situations, but multiple safety devices are built in to prevent these issues. Other Considerations As you can see from the information above, unvented cylinders are generally better suited to modern life. However, that may still not be the right choice for your home. For instance, if you have a vented cylinder currently, connected to a regular heating system, then an unvented cylinder might over pressurise your heating system, causing problems. Another issue here is the mains pressure. If your mains pressure is low, an unvented cylinder is not going to improve things very much. Instead, you may need to have a pump installed to improve water pressure. Yet another consideration is the number of people in your home and the number of bathrooms you have. If two or more bathrooms will be used at the same time, this can create a drop in pressure for both with an unvented cylinder. With an older, vented-style cylinder, the cold-water tank ensures ample volume to prevent a pressure drop, although the system’s pressure will be lower than with an unvented cylinder in the first place. Moving Forward While unvented cylinders are usually the better option, that is not always the case. It’s important that you make an informed decision based on the specifics of your home, your family, and your use needs. The best way to do that is through a professional assessment. Contact EasyFlow today on 0161 941 5571 to schedule an in-home consultation with one of our G3-certified plumbers to determine whether you would benefit from an unvented cylinder. Summary Unsure whether to install a vented cylinder or an unvented cylinder? It can be quite challenging. While most UK homes are best off with a modern unvented cylinder, that is not the case for every home. A number of factors should be considered. First, you should begin with an understanding of how vented and unvented cylinders stack up to one another. In general, unvented cylinders do not create the same water pressure as vented cylinders, require more space for installation, and must be installed near the top of the home. Unvented cylinders offer mains pressure water, can be installed almost anywhere, and require less space, but must be installed by specially licensed plumbers (G3-compliant). You also need to consider other factors, including the number of people in the home, the number of bathrooms, whether you’ll connect the cylinder to your central or underfloor heating system, and more. Call EasyFlow today to schedule a professional consultation. One of our G3-licensed plumbers will be happy to discuss your needs and help ensure that you get the best water heater for your home and your family’s needs. Source: https://www.boilerguide.co.uk/articles/vented-and-unvented-hot-water-cylinders https://www.plumbnation.co.uk/blog/the-difference-between-vented-and-unvented-cylinders/ https://www.mrcentralheating.co.uk/faq/what-is-the-difference-between-a-vented-and-unvented-cylinder  

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Water Heater Maintenance: Does an Electric Boiler Need Maintenance? Gas heat is used throughout much of the UK. However, there are millions of homes that are not connected to the gas network that still need hot water and heat. Electric boilers offer a viable solution there, providing plenty of performance, reliability, and decent energy savings. However, like any other appliance, there are care and maintenance considerations that you’ll need to make with an electric boiler. Do You Really Need to Maintain Them Annually? The simple answer here is “yes”. You should have your electric boiler inspected and serviced every year. The reason for this is that unvented cylinders, while offering better performance and reliability than vented cylinders, do have inherent risks. They are pressurised metal cylinders. If one or both of the safety systems were to fail, it could be very dangerous. Annual inspections and maintenance ensure that your cylinder does not become an explosion hazard. What’s Required in Terms of Annual Maintenance? If you have used gas or oil boilers in the past, you will be pleasantly surprised by how little an electric boiler requires in the way of maintenance. There are no specific annual replacements needed, the way there are with other types of boilers. Instead, you really only need a visual inspection of the boiler and the associated systems – including the pressure relief valve and the temperature relief valve. Both of these must be in good working condition for an unvented cylinder to be safe. Additionally, a qualified plumber will also check a number of other things on your boiler. These include the following: Checking all electrical connections to ensure tightness and that there is no corrosion Checking the tundish and surrounding area for signs of water Checking for signs of damage to wiring, such as rodent gnawing, etc. Check the air bubble in the cylinder tank Check the thermostat for functionality/wear Additionally, there is a need to drain water heater cylinders periodically. The reason for this is build-up from sediment/debris/minerals within the water itself. For instance, a water supply high in lime will create limescale build-up within the cylinder through normal use. Over time, this build-up can become quite substantial, compromising the performance of the cylinder. By draining the cylinder annually, much of that build-up can be removed. This prolongs the lifespan of your cylinder and improves its performance when factored over time. As you can see, while there is not a lot involved with annual maintenance, it is important that you have it performed. It’s also important that you only work with a G3 qualified plumber. They are the only professionals licensed in the UK to service unvented cylinders (this doesn’t apply if you have a vented cylinder). At EasyFlow, our professional plumbers are all G3 qualified and capable of providing the maintenance that you need. It’s never been easier to ensure that you and your family have access to a constant flow of hot water. Call us on 0161 941 5571 today to schedule an appointment.  

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Today, there are two types of water heaters used in residential applications. One type is older and has been around for a long time – vented cylinders. The other – an unvented cylinder – has been in use for several decades, but still represents newer technology and is harder for consumers to understand. At Easy Flow, our goal is to help our customers understand the systems and appliances installed within their home, including unvented cylinders. The Basics of Unvented Cylinder Operation Unvented cylinders are connected directly to your mains water supply. That ensures there is plenty of pressure when you open the tap, and it is heated using either a series of electric heating elements within the cylinder, or via a boiler. Because of the design, there is no need for a cold-water storage/feeder tank, and no need to install it high up within the home. That frees up plumbing space, plus offers additional room for other things you might want. The Expansion Tank While an unvented cylinder does not need a cold-water storage/feeder tank, it does need what’s called an expansion vessel. Basically, water expands when it is heated. Because the cylinder is not vented, there must be somewhere for the excess water to go when it is heated. The expansion vessel is usually installed on top of the cylinder itself and serves this purpose. As the water expands, it moves into the expansion tank. When it cools, it flows back into the body of the cylinder itself. The tank should be inspected annually for safety. Air Bubble Expansion Some unvented cylinders use a different expansion method. Rather than an external expansion tank, they use an internal air bubble. In this situation, air is trapped within the cylinder itself. As the water heats and expands, the bubble becomes compressed, providing additional space for heated water. Like the expansion tank, your internal air bubble should be maintained annually to ensure safe operation. Ensuring Safety Vented cylinders allow all the pressure that builds up as a result of heating water to escape into the atmosphere. Unvented cylinders do not. Because of that, they have several safety systems installed. The first is a temperature relief valve that activates if the unit were to overheat and allows excess heat and steam to be vented safely. The second is a pressure relief valve that activates if the pressure reducing valve on the inflow side were to fail. Who Should Install Unvented Cylinders? Unvented cylinders offer excellent performance and better pressure in showers and at the taps throughout your home. However, they should never be installed by amateurs. In fact, only plumbers licensed to install unvented cylinders should be allowed to work in your home. A qualified plumber understands how to install unvented cylinders safely and quickly, and can also provide annual inspections to ensure ongoing safe operation of your hot water system. At EasyFlow, our engineers are fully trained and qualified to install unvented cylinders. Call us on 0161 941 5571.

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