If you are planning to use a solid fuel stove, AGA type cooker or renewable energy, using a thermal store as your hot water storage solution could enable you to dramatically reduce your energy bills.
Thermal stores’ ability to capture both renewable and conventional energy sources, as well as handling multiple sources, can often make it one of the most efficient hot water storage solutions on the market.
The approach reverses the traditional approach to hot water cylinders which uses a coil or immersion to continually heat the stored water which is drawn off on demand. Instead a thermal store uses the heat from the stored water to heat the water passing through the coil at mains pressure.
The additional advantage of a thermal store is that it allows you to enjoy the benefits of mains pressure hot water and space heating with no ongoing maintenance requirement.
Copper vs Stainless Steel Thermal Stores
But not all thermal stores are the same – in a similar way to assuming all cars achieve the same levels of performance.
Copper thermal stores capitalise on the material’s superior ability to transfer heat quickly and efficiently. By using specifically designed high performance finned copper coils, therefore maximizing the heat transferred into the store or to the cold water as it is heated instantly. Copper’s bacteria killing properties also reduces the risk of legionella as well as being 100% recyclable for a more environmentally-friendly solution.
In comparison, Stainless Steel cannot transfer the same level of heat to the water passing through the coil and therefore uses an external mechanical heat exchanger and pump system to achieve an acceptable level of hot water. This also removes the ability to have a back-up heat source, increases the potential for greater heat losses and ultimately pushes up running costs.
Getting the Optimum Thermal Store for Your Project
Ensuring the right capacity and design of your thermal store and its inputs and outputs is key to both avoiding unnecessary running costs for your system and ensuring your hot water requirements are met, especially, when renewable energy sources are used.
This is why our thermal stores use high efficiency finned copper coils, increased insulation and a minimum material thickness of 1mm to ensure the long term running costs and the alternative energy payback are the best on the market.
If space is an issue, you may want to consider the physical dimensions of the unit. McDonald Engineers UK are the only UK manufacturer that can offer their thermal stores as slimline, stumpy or rectangular, meaning you never have to compromise on the optimum capacity.