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Four types of hot water system...

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There are more than four ways of providing hot water, but these are the most common:

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1) Open-vented hot water cylinder

2) Combi boiler

3) Mains pressure unvented hot water cylinder

4) Thermal store

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I'll expand on these shortly.... This page will eventually replace the Mains hot water page in the 'Miscellaneous' box.

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Open-vented Hot Water Cylinder:

This is the most common. It is the ordinary dome-topped copper hot water cylinder most houses have in the airing cupboard. A simple store of hot water that can be heated by a central heating boiler or an electric immersion heater. When both are installed, the immersion heater is a useful backup method of obtaining hot water if/when the central heating boiler has a fault or breakdown.

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Combi boiler:

A central heating boiler with a complex internal arrangement that allows it to directly heat the domestic tap water as it flows through the boiler. Primary advantages are low installation cost and no space required for a hot water cylinder. Numerous drawbacks though. Combis discussed in detail here.

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Mains pressure unvented hot water cylinder:

These run at mains pressure instead of being fed from a tank in the loft. The hot taps run as fast as the cold mains taps! Showers work brilliantly and baths fill quickly. They are expensive, need to be installed by a specialist with the correct qualifications, and can go wrong if not serviced regularly. Just like everything else really.

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Thermal store:

An initial page on thermal stores here.

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