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What’s the difference between a vented and unvented water cylinder?

Vented CylindersIt is essential for homeowners and professionals alike to have in place a reliable heating system in order to allow all facilities to function smoothly and economically. At some point you may have to make the choice between the installation of a vented or unvented water cylinder and before you go ahead and install such a system you may want to consider what options might be best for the property.

Unvented cylinders work directly from the mains supply of water and are essentially a hot water storage cylinder, whereas vented cylinders are connected, via a vent pipe, to the cold water storage tank which is usually located within the loft space of most properties.  Because unvented cylinders are fed directly from the mains supply of water, the water pressure and flow is much stronger, providing hot water at mains pressure to all outlets within the home. This means you don’t have to rely on a pump to maintain the strength of the flow when using hot water outlets or heating systems and great water pressure is a huge benefit, especially for homes with more than one bathroom. 

Choosing a high performance unvented cylinder also eliminates the requirement for a cold water storage tank, meaning valuable space isn’t lost to extra pipe work and fittings. This is ideal for interior designers and architects alike as it provides a greater number of options when it comes to installing an unvented cylinder, as they can be easily incorporated into the design of the home in an aesthetically pleasing manner. As the unvented cylinder is supplied via the mains you also have the option of placing it anywhere around the home, which is a great architectural benefit for homeowners.  Unvented cylinders boast safety features and controls to keep them from malfunctioning such as pressure relief valves and temperature controls. They also benefit from fast reheat times, minimal heat loss from the water stored inside and they are available in modern, innovative designs that are more favourable within the home.

Unvented CylindersTraditional vented cylinders are popular within many households as they are simple to install and they are very effective in supplying the home with heating and hot water, smoothly and efficiently. Vented combination units are a popular modern choice and are suitable for homes which do not have a loft space such as bungalows and apartments as the unit comprises of a cold water cistern and a hot water tank in one. This can be a great solution for eliminating pipework to a cold water tank elsewhere in the property. However, non-combination vented cylinders do require a cold water tank, which is usually located within the loft of a property. In both cases the pressure of the water to the cylinder and all outlets relies on gravity, which can create a problem. This is where installing a pump might be considered in order to boost the water pressure throughout the property ensuring powerful showers and fast filling baths. The installation of a pump might be essential, but uses more electricity. In such cases you must consider the pros and cons of the installation to establish what is best for requirements of the household.

Many vented cylinders are designed to take advantage of off-peak electricity tariffs, potentially saving money on any utility bills. These types of cylinders can be used with most outlets whereas unvented cylinders have the disadvantage of not being compatible with some mixer taps and power showers.

Vented cylinders are also much easier to install whereas choosing an unvented option requires the services of a specialist engineer which can be costly. You must also consider that your unvented cylinder will require regular servicing to ensure it is in good order. In simple terms, vented cylinders are in fact much less complicated, meaning they are much easier to install and maintain but they can be unsightly and take up more valuable space.

On the other hand unvented cylinders can be an expensive option in terms of installation and fitting but once in place, a correctly fitted cylinder will save on heating times, emissions and utility bills. Choosing the right option for your property is essential and can potentially reduce your utility bills and provide you with a long-lasting energy efficient solution.

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