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With a modern hot water heater, you should have access to plenty of warmed water for use with showers and bathing, washing dishes, and for any other needs. However, if you’re running out of hot water on a regular basis, there may be any number of causes. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the more common ones. Cylinder Size The most common reason to run out of hot water regularly is that your cylinder is simply too small to meet your usage needs. Consider installing a larger cylinder to hold more water. Over Use It is possible that too many people are trying to use the hot water at the same time. For instance, if someone is taking a shower and you are also washing dishes, you will deplete your store of hot water twice as fast. Sediment Build-Up Sediment is found in all water and it settles to the bottom of the water heater cylinder over time. If your cylinder has not been properly maintained, it can build up to the point that it affects both the volume of water stored in your cylinder and the temperature your cylinder can maintain. Programming If you have a programmable thermostat on your cylinder, it is possible that it is set to a schedule that does not match your lifestyle. Make sure it is set to heat water so that you have a full supply ready during peak usage times. In some cases, you may have a timer on your cylinder rather than a programmable thermostat. Heating Element Issue If your water heater used to provide you with ample heated water but is no longer doing so, the issue could be a heating element inside the cylinder itself. Many water heaters use dual elements, and if one fails, the remaining element may not be sufficient to heat the water, causing you to run out quickly. If you’re experiencing problems with your water heater running out of hot water regularly, it is time to contact a heating engineer certified to work on unvented water cylinders. If you're in Greater Manchester, Warrington, Liverpool, Chester or Leeds, EasyFlow can help you. Call us now on 0161 941 5571.

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What Is an Expansion Vessel For?

Water heaters are wonderful devices that allow us to enjoy a stream of hot water when we open the tap. However, they can be complicated, particularly if you’re dealing with an unvented cylinder (also called a closed water heating system) and require quite a few components in order to work properly. One of those is the expansion vessel. What Is an Expansion Vessel? If you’ve noticed that there’s a smaller tank attached to your water cylinder, this is the expansion vessel. It may be mounted to the top of the cylinder, or it could be attached in some other location. With some models, it is actually within the casing of the water heater. It all depends on the make and model in question. You’ll find quite a few different styles of expansion vessels have been used over time, but the most modern (and most common) style uses a flexible membrane within the vessel itself. The expansion vessel actually contains two sections. A rubber diaphragm separates the two. One side of the vessel is connected to the hot water system and holds water. The other side holds air. How Does an Expansion Vessel Work? The purpose of an expansion vessel is to help prevent overpressure situations with an unvented cylinder. As water is heated, it expands. The air within the expansion vessel compresses and absorbs additional pressure to help ensure that your water heater operates in a stable way. A Schrader valve on the vessel allows more air to enter the system when necessary to prevent it from becoming over pressurised. Common Problems with Expansion Vessels For the most part, expansion vessels operate without any need for your intervention. You may need to drain and recharge your expansion vessel periodically depending on its age and the style of vessel in question. However, they can suffer from some problems, particularly as they age. For instance, hard water and even water treatment chemicals can cause the rubber membrane within the vessel to degrade and break down. Eventually, it will fail, requiring replacement.  If you think your expansion vessel needs to be repaired or replaced, contact a engineer experienced with unvented cylinders and their operation. EasyFlow can send an engineer to you if you're located in Greater Manchester, Warrington, Liverpool, Chester or Leeds.

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The ability to heat and store water in our homes reduces wasted time and effort and adds a lot of convenience to our lives. However, there are several options available to you in terms of how you achieve that. For UK residents, the primary choice is between vented and unvented cylinders. Once, unvented cylinders were the only option, but today more and more people are choosing to go the unvented route. Are unvented cylinders actually better? Yes, they are, but you’ll need to know a little more to understand why that’s the case. Why Unvented Cylinders Are Better Choices For most UK residents, unvented boilers are the better choice. Why is that? There are several reasons. Good Pressure – An unvented cylinder ensures good water pressure at all of your taps, including upstairs taps. Good Flow – Using an unvented cylinder helps provide good flow of hot water from all your taps. No Cold-Water Tank – With an unvented water cylinder, there is no need for a cold-water tank located in the attic. This is good news for homes without much in the way of upstairs space. No Mains Pressure – If your home has low pressure from the mains, then an unvented cylinder can increase your hot water pressure (but only for the hot water). As you can see, there are many advantages to installing an unvented cylinder. However, there are some drawbacks that should be considered, as well. For instance, unvented cylinders are usually more expensive than vented cylinders. For most residents, better access to hot water and improved water pressure are enough incentives to offset that additional cost. Unvented cylinders also require a specialist touch. Only plumbers certified to work on unvented systems can handle installation, maintenance, and repairs. You will also need to make an informed choice about your water cylinder. There are many different manufacturers, and each has their own set-up in terms of heating elements and even heating type (direct vs. indirect, gas vs. electric, etc.). Working with the right heating engineer can help ensure you make an informed decision. We have engineers in Manchester, Liverpool, Chester, Warrington and Leeds who can maintain and repair unvented cylinders. Call us on 0161 941 5571 or fill in a Contact Request and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

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How Does the Boost Button Work?

Unvented water heaters offer us access to hot water with the turn of a tap. However, there are many different styles and types of water heaters used across the UK, including those with boost and without boost. If your water cylinder has a boost button, it can be a little confusing to determine its purpose, particularly because there are both E7 and non-E7 boost variants out there.  What Does The Boost Do? The boost function is designed to provide you with additional water heating solutions. It can be used in conjunction with your regular water heater timer, or it can be used instead of it. For instance, if your water heater is not connected to your radiators, then you may only need hot water for your daily shower. Using boost instead of keeping the unvented cylinder heating throughout the day and night can provide you with financial and energy savings. Additionally, if you have significant hot water needs each day, boost can give you that little nudge beyond what the water heater is capable of on its own. E7 If you have an older E7 tariff-oriented unvented water cylinder, then pressing your boost button will give you one hour of water heating. This will heat roughly 10% of the water in the cylinder, giving you enough for a quick shower or another brief use. Non-E7 If you have a newer, non-E7 unvented water heater, you get 30 minutes of heating that will warm roughly 10% of the water at the top of the cylinder. Element Location A lot of the functionality of your boost button depends on where the heating element(s) is located in the system. If you have a dual element system and the upper element is designated for boost, then you’ll be able to warm only the very top of the system. If the element is at the bottom, or if both elements in a dual set-up are used for boost, then you will get a combination of hot water and warm water. If you’re experiencing problems with your boost button, make sure to call a heating engineer certified to work on unvented cylinders. Call EasyFlow for an engineer to visit your property in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Chester and Warrington.

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Once upon a time, all water heaters installed in the UK were vented to the outside atmosphere. However, that changed in 1986, when unvented cylinders were made legal. These allowed homeowners to enjoy a number of benefits that were not possible with older, unpressurised types. Today, unvented cylinders are very popular, but how do they work? Unvented Cylinder Operation With vented cylinders, the water heater had to be installed in an attic or another location where gravity combined with the pressure of the mains could move heated water down through the pipes to the taps. This limited your ability to install water heaters in some homes, and also meant that hot water pressure at the taps was usually low. Unvented cylinders, on the other hand, are pressurised, and can supply mains-pressure water anywhere in a home without the need to be installed in an elevated location. An unvented cylinder is connected directly to the mains water supply. It uses electricity or gas to heat water to a pre-set temperature. The act of heating water causes it to expand, which creates pressure within the cylinder. That pressure pushes the water outward throughout your home’s pipes. However, because water expands when it is hot, there is a need to account for this additional space needed. An expansion vessel is attached somewhere to the system to handle this need. It may be attached to the cylinder, attached to the hot water system somewhere else, or even be part of the cylinder itself. Your unvented cylinder also includes additional safeguards against overpressure situations, such as a pressure reducing valve to limit incoming pressure and an expansion relief valve to allow overheated water to be discharged. A temperature and pressure relief valve is also fitted to your cylinder to provide additional protection. While unvented cylinders are safe for use within UK homes, they must be installed, maintained, and repaired by plumbers certified to work with unvented water heaters. If you’re experiencing any problems with your unvented cylinder, or would like to have annual maintenance performed, EasyFlow can help. We cover the areas of Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Chester and Leeds. Call us on 0161 941 5571

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How Does a Combination Valve Work?

Unvented cylinders have greatly changed how UK residents access hot water within their homes. Rather than dealing with low water flow, they help ensure good pressure and excellent flow at all taps, all the time. However, in order to operate safely, unvented cylinders require a number of components. One you may have heard of is the combination valve. What is it and how does it work? From Many, One A combination valve is exactly what it sounds like – a valve that combines the function of multiple other valves. It’s a way to simplify and streamline unvented cylinder operation and to make maintenance and repairs easier. A combination valve usually includes four different types of valves. One of those is the pressure reduction valve, which reduces incoming pressure from the mains to a safe level. Another is the check valve, which prevents water from running out of the cylinder back into the fresh water supply line. In addition to these two valves, the combination valve will also include an expansion valve. This is a critical component and is designed to help protect the cylinder from over pressure situations and will bleed off water/pressure if dangerous conditions occur. Finally, your combination valve will usually also contain what’s called a line strainer, which is a piece of mesh that helps prevent debris from entering the cylinder. Problems with Your Combination Valve While combination valves make maintenance and repairs easier, they can suffer from some problems. For instance, the line strainer can become blocked, which reduces pressure and water flow throughout your home. The pressure relief valve can also fail, as can the expansion valve. When these fail, leaks can develop, which should drip into the catch pan under the cylinder. Finally, a failing pressure reduction valve can cause low pressure at the taps. The solution to all of these problems is to replace the combination valve, but that is not something you should handle on your own. A plumber certified to work on unvented cylinders can provide your repairs for you.

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With modern water heating technology, you expect to have mains pressure hot water at the tap. However, there is a chance that you’ll open the tap and find that your pressure is very low. What is the issue? While there are several potential causes here, one of the most common is a failing (or failed) pressure reduction valve, or PRV. What Does a Pressure Reduction Valve Do?  Really, the name says it all. A pressure reduction valve, sometimes called a safety valve, is actually responsible for reducing the pressure of water flow to something that your home’s system can handle. The water within the mains is most likely at 60 PSI or higher. However, your home’s appliances, piping, and fixtures, likely cannot handle anything over 50 PSI. The pressure reduction valve’s job is to make sure that your water supply system does not become over pressured. Why Would A Failing PRV Cause Pressure to Drop? To be clear, a failing pressure reduction valve does not always lead to a drop in pressure. In fact, it can sometimes result in the opposite – an increase in pressure as mains pressure water pushes past the valve. However, it is also possible that a failing pressure reduction valve will cause a drastic, system-wide reduction in pressure. How Can I Tell If It Is My Pressure Reduction Valve? While the only sure way to tell if the pressure reduction valve is the culprit is to have your system serviced by a professional technician, you can do a quick check that will at least point you in the right direction. Check the hot water pressure at all taps in the house, including the kitchen, bathroom sinks, showers/tubs, and more. If the low pressure is consistent across the system, this is a good sign that the pressure reducing valve is to blame. However, if you notice that some taps have normal pressure while others do not, the cause is most likely something else. A number of issues can cause a reduction in pressure at some taps but leave others unaffected, including dirty shower cartridges, clogged filters, and more. Another quick check you can conduct is to look at the end of the pressure reduction valve. Do you see water leaking? It could be dripping, or it could be a more serious flow of water. If either is the case, the valve is failing and must be replaced. What to Do If You Suspect Your Pressure Reduction Valve Is Bad If you suspect that your pressure reduction valve is responsible for your loss of hot water pressure at the taps, you need to contact qualified help immediately. Call Easy Flow at 0161 941 5571 and we will schedule a service call to determine what the problem is and to get your hot water system back in working condition once more. In most instances, our technicians carry accurate replacement parts with them, so a repair could take mere minutes.

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It is tempting to forget about your water heater, particularly if it is working just fine. After all, out of sight is out of mind. And, if the cylinder is functioning just fine, why worry about it in the first place? While that might seem like a common-sense approach, it is the wrong one to take. Your unvented water cylinder actually needs annual maintenance just like any other system in your home. Why, though? Improved Safety Perhaps the single most important reason to invest in annual water cylinder maintenance is to ensure the safety of your home and family. While unvented cylinders are completely safe to use as long as they are installed properly and maintained correctly over time, they do carry some risks. Without proper annual maintenance, those risks grow. Improved Efficiency Another reason to consider annual water cylinder maintenance is that it can increase the efficiency of your system and ensure that it is in peak condition at all times. This offers you two primary benefits. First, improving the system’s efficiency may actually equate to reduced power consumption and reduced operating costs. So, you could save money over time. Second, improved efficiency means that your system is working properly, that the risk of a breakdown is minimised, and that you’ll experience fewer costly surprises. Catching Small Problems before They Become Major Hassles Your water cylinder is just like any other piece of equipment in your home. It is subject to wear and tear over time and will eventually need components replaced. At some point, hopefully years in the future, the cylinder itself will need to be replaced. With an annual maintenance plan, you get regular inspections, which helps to catch small problems before they become large ones. This ensures that you are able to maximise the lifespan of your water cylinder, saving you a considerable amount of money over the years. Maintaining Your Warranty Finally, you will find that having an annual maintenance plan for your water cylinder is essential to maintaining the manufacturer’s warranty. This applies to both the tank warranty and any extended warranty that you might have purchased along with the tank. If you cannot prove that you have had the water cylinder maintained properly over time, the manufacturer/warrantor will not honour the warranty agreement, meaning that you could be on the hook for a lot more money than you expected. How to Choose a Maintenance Provider Of course, you need to ensure that you choose the right water cylinder maintenance provider. Not all companies are the same. Look for a company that has a long history in the industry, as well as a track record of satisfied customers. Ask about the cost of the annual maintenance and what is included in each service. You should also ensure that technicians are available in the case of an emergency to handle any unexpected occurrences. At Easy Flow, we offer a comprehensive annual maintenance plan that covers everything from expansion relief valve testing to electrical ground checks. Call today at 0161 941 5571.

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If you have a thermal store water cylinder that heats water for use throughout your home, chances are good that you have run out of hot water at least once in your memory. Perhaps everyone in the family got a shower before you did, leaving you with tepid water for your bathing. Perhaps you jumped in the shower after running the dishwasher, only to find that your dishes had consumed most of the hot water. In these situations, the boost setting on your water cylinder could come in very handy. What is boost all about? What Does the Boost Setting Do? The function of the boost setting varies from one type of water cylinder to another, but they all work in a roughly similar way. When the boost kicks in, it heats only a portion of the water in the cylinder to your specified temperature, and it does so very quickly, at least in comparison with the time it would take the immersion heater to warm the contents of the entire cylinder. The primary difference between various water cylinder types is how much water is heated and how long that heating process takes. For instance, with an E7 system, the boost setting would heat water for about 60 minutes, and it would warm about 10% of the water in the cylinder, giving you enough for a standard shower before the water would run cold once more. If your system is a non-E7 setup, then it would run for about 30 minutes and provide the same 10% of the cylinder’s contents warmed. In addition to system types, you also need to consider the location of the boost element. If it is located in the top of the cylinder, you will usually only get about 10% of the cylinder’s contents heated within the operating window. However, if the system has an element located midway down the cylinder, you could see 30% heated within 30 minutes. With a boost element near the bottom, you could feasibly warm 90% of the water in 30 minutes. Why Use the Boost Setting? If you have a modern water cylinder, then it should be equipped with a thermostat. When left on, this ensures that you always have a full cylinder of hot water. Why would someone choose to use the boost setting instead of the thermostat? There are a couple of reasons here. First, the boost setting is useful for situations in which most of the cylinder’s hot water has been used but you still need more hot water and don’t have time to wait for long periods. Second, the boost setting is useful for situations where you want to conserve energy and do not have significant hot water demands. You could simply use the boost setting to ensure there was enough water heated for your bathing and washing needs, without having to heat the entire cylinder, thus reducing your energy usage. As you can see, the boost setting on your water cylinder is actually quite handy and can provide several benefits.

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Water too hot?

Your hot water cylinder helps ensure that you have access to a ready store of hot water for bathing, washing dishes, or any other task. However, sometimes the water inside that cylinder just isn’t the right temperature. Do you open the tap to find that your water just isn’t hot enough? Perhaps you’re worried that very hot water might scald someone and want to turn the temperature down. Don’t worry – it’s actually very simple to do this.  1. Locate the Thermostat If you have a water cylinder, as opposed to a combi-boiler, you’ll have a thermostat on the unit itself. You will need to locate this in order to change the temperature. In most instances, you’ll find the thermostat between 1/3 and 1/4 of the way up the cylinder’s body from the bottom and will usually take the form of a plastic box with a dial and a temperature scale on it.  2. Adjust the Thermostat Once you have located the thermostat, you will just need to turn the dial to the temperature that you prefer. The temperature scale is marked on the thermostat’s body, and it is simple to determine what temperature has been set. If your water is too cold, turn the dial toward the higher end of the scale. If your water is too hot, turn the dial toward the colder end of the scale. As a note, you should ideally set the temperature of the water between 60 and 65 degrees Celsius.  3. Have Patience It is important to note that changing the temperature on your thermostat will not result in an instantaneous temperature change to the water within the cylinder. It takes time for water to heat up or cool down. If you are increasing the temperature of your water, you will likely need to wait around an hour or so before the water reaches your desired temperature. However, if you are turning your water temperature down, you will likely need to wait a longer period. Modern water cylinders are well insulated and can maintain their internal temperatures for long periods. To speed up the process, run a load of dishes, or wash clothes that require hot water. The cylinder will then refill, and the water will be heated to the new temperature set on the thermostat.  A Note on Temperatures You likely noticed the specific temperature range suggested above – 60 to 65 degrees. Why is that range selected? There are two reasons. First, that is warm enough to kill most pathogens that might be in your water. Turning your water cylinder temperature too low could leave you at risk of becoming ill. A minimum of 60 degrees helps you avoid this. On the other hand, 65 degrees is not hot enough to cause severe scalding injuries, so you avoid getting the water too hot and injuring someone in your home. As you can see, changing your water cylinder temperature is not all that complicated. With a little bit of time, you can ensure your water is just the right temperature.

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