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You need hot water for showers, washing up, doing dishes, and more. While the right brand of water cylinder will ensure that you have reliable operation and fewer hassles, you still need to ensure that you choose the right size for your needs. It’s actually pretty simple to determine what size cylinder you need for your family. We’ll walk you through everything below. Why Does It Matter? First, let’s address why size matters in the first place. While we are talking about physical dimensions, what we’re really discussing here is volume. The more volume the cylinder holds, the more hot water you’ll have at one time. That means more showers, more loads of dishes, etc. However, the larger the cylinder and the more water it holds, the more energy it will require to heat up to temp in the first place, which means your costs will be higher, too. The Rule of Thumb The UK’s Hot Water Association offers a good rule of thumb that may help you estimate the size of your hot water cylinder. In a home with low consumption, you’ll need 20 to 30 litres of hot water per person per day. In a home with average consumption, you’ll need 30 to 50 litres of hot water per person per day. In a high-consumption home, you’ll need 50 to 70 litres of hot water per person per day. However, remember that this is only for personal use – showering and the like. It does not include any other uses, such as heating. General Size Considerations In general, our recommendations for cylinder size are based on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in your home. We’ve included a handy sizing chart below for your reference. # of Bedrooms # of Bathrooms Cylinder Size in Litres 1 1 120 litres minimum 2 1 150 litres minimum 3 Up to 2 180 litres minimum 4 2 210 litres minimum 5 and up 2 and up 300 litres minimum *Note that these sizes are for direct/unvented cylinders. The chart above should at least give you a starting point. However, there are numerous factors that will influence the size of the cylinder you ultimately choose. For instance, do you use your cylinder for central home heating? For underfloor heating? The more uses the water is put to, the more volume you will need. You will also want to factor in other things in your decision. Number of People: Sometimes, the number of bedrooms does not accurately reflect the number of people living in a home. How many people live under your roof? How frequently do they shower or bathe? Volume of Dishes: How often do you use your automatic dishwasher or wash dishes by hand? Again, this will be affected by the number of people in the household – washing up after a dinner for four will be very different from washing up after a dinner for six or eight people! While we can help you find an estimated size, the best way to ensure accuracy is through a professional in-home assessment. Call EasyFlow today on 0161 941 5571 to schedule an appointment in Greater Manchester or Liverpool

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Modern water heaters offer improved performance, reliability, and access to hot water throughout your home. However, they are not without their problems. If you’re experiencing loud banging noises from your cylinder, there is definitely an issue that needs to be resolved. A couple of things could be the cause of this situation. Sediment The most likely cause of a loud banging noise from your water cylinder is build-up of sediment at the bottom of your cylinder. All water contains at least some degree of sediment – dissolved minerals from the earth. Over time, these settle out to the bottom of the cylinder and begin to build up. With enough time, the sediment can become thick enough that steam may build within it. When steam bubbles release, they can cause loud noises. The solution to this issue is to have your cylinder drained and flushed regularly. It should be part of your annual maintenance, actually. Water Hammer Water hammer is a phenomenon unique to indoor plumbing and it occurs in very specific situations. If you notice that you hear the banging noise from your cylinder or pipes after flowing water has shut off, chances are good that it’s water hammer. What happens is simple – when the water heater is full, the inlet valve closes. Then, all the water flowing through the pipes crash into the closed valve, which can shake the pipe and make a banging noise. Fixing the problem usually means draining your home’s water supply (cutting it off at the mains and then opening a tap to let it all drain out) in order to recharge the air chambers. Note that this is most common with older homes. If you have a newer home, it could be that a water hammer arrestor has failed, or that you need them installed within your pipes. Water Pressure Finally, you may hear a banging noise if your water pressure is too high. Note that this noise will not come from the water cylinder, but from the piping within your home. Overpressure situations within your pipes can cause them to rattle and bounce, creating banging noises. The solution is to reduce the pressure of water entering your home, and this is something that should be handled by a professional plumber. If you’re experiencing banging from your water cylinder, it is best to call for professional help.

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While modern water heaters are built well and designed to last, they do require regular maintenance and can suffer from some issues that require repairs and replacements. Most of those problems stem from one thing – sediment build-up within your water heater over time. In addition, sediment can even affect your home’s pipes. Why is sediment and issue and where does it come from? Why does it build up in your water heater? The Source of Sediment No matter where you might live within the UK, all water contains dissolved minerals. Lime is probably the most common, but there are many others, including iron, magnesium, calcium, copper, and more. What Causes Sediment to Settle? Sediment is held in suspension when water is at cool temperatures. However, the heating process actually causes it to settle out, or to come out of suspension. As the water heats up, minerals condense, and small bits aggregate into larger and larger particles. Eventually, those particles are too heavy to remain in suspension and they settle to the bottom of the tank. The Problem with Sediment  While these minerals might be naturally occurring, that does not mean that they are harmless to your water heater. In fact, sediment build-up can cause a number of different problems. One of those is that, over time, the layer of sediment at the bottom of the cylinder can become quite deep. This limits the amount of water your cylinder can hold, reducing total volume. There is also the fact that sediment build-up can lead to a loud banging noise from the cylinder as steam bubbles up through the material and then escapes into the cylinder itself. Other problems caused by increased sediment include rumbling and popping sounds, increased energy bills, and even fluctuating water temperatures. How to Remedy the Problem If you suspect that sediment build-up is causing problems within your water cylinder, there is a simple fix. The water heater will need to be drained and flushed in order to remove the sediment. However, this type of maintenance should be handled by a plumber certified to work on unvented water cylinders. If you are in Greater Manchester and require this service please contact us on 0161 941 5571.

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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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