Isaac Occhipinti explains the importance of ensuring a home’s hot water facilities are tailored to the occupants’ needs.

Hot water is central to many aspects of our lives; from making a morning cup of tea, to taking a hot shower. In essence, having hot water on tap keeps our days running smoothly.

I’m sure many householders have been in the scenario where water begins to run cool before everyone has had a shower – the source of many an argument and early morning stress, no doubt. Often this boils down to a household simply not having the right hot water system to meet their needs, especially when considering simultaneous water use.

Within the industry, we have a duty to ensure that people’s hot water needs are met and that the systems they have in place are appropriately matched to their current or projected usage.

With the government’s Autumn Budget outlining a commitment to build hundreds of thousands of new homes and many existing homeowners going for a system retrofit, there exists an opportunity to educate consumers about the various systems, and to individually tailor the system to meet their needs, making many a morning routine far more stress-free.

Setting the scene

Picture this: following on from a morning cup of tea, our hypothetical householder has a shave, using hot water from the tap and then goes on to shower. Let’s say the shower provides a flow rate of 9l per minute at 43°c, so a combi boiler is all that is required.

So far, so good from the combi boiler.However, add more people into the mix and things start to get interesting. If the kids are getting ready for school, and our householder’s partner is using the other bathroom, the combi starts to struggle to provide an acceptable flow rate at all the requested outlets.

Combi boilers, in all but exceptional circumstances, fail to meet the needs of those living in large households, thanks to the busy nature of daily life and that, often hectic, morning routine.

As a result, many are working their daily routine around the hot water limits of the combi boiler’s performance, which is not always practical in the real world.

For families living in a multi-bathroom household, a storage cylinder provides the comfort of simultaneous hot water use, on tap. Of course, a single bathroomed property has differing needs to a multi-outlet, four or five bedroom property, so it really is about selecting the hot water system that best suits the needs. There is no one size fits all approach.

Take the average householder – they’ll have a pretty good idea of how much hot water they need. For instance, when making a cup of tea, they’ll boil the kettle – no one has a 50l kettle for domestic use. By contrast, people often give little thought to the size of their hot water systems.

Size matters

A hot water cylinder must be correctly sized to meet the demand based on the number of people in the household, and their bath/shower and kitchen hot water use. This is where manufacturers and installers can provide tailored advice.

Cylinder manufacturers who are part of the Hot Water Association (HWA) charter scheme can provide any help required to ensure the customers’ requirements are being met, even going so far as to future proof the cylinder installation for a renewable heat source application.

The right choice

The consumer must carefully consider what their home needs from its heating/hot water system and find the product which best fits their household.

In general, for multi-occupancy or larger houses, water storage systems work better than instantaneous hot water technologies.

This is where the HWA can help. Without bias to any particular hot water production equipment, we can advise on the correctly specified equipment for any initial build or retrofit.

Even though combination boilers are becoming increasingly prominent, it is worth considering the merits of more traditional water storage systems.

Everyone’s morning routines and needs are individual and different, therefore their hot water system should be individually tailored to meet those needs. In multi-bathroom households, hot water cylinders hold the key to seamless hot water provision and, as a result, stress-free mornings.

Isaac Occhipinti is Head of External Affairs at the Hot Water Association