In a lot of cases the flow rate coming into a property is adequate enough to support an unvented system, but what you do if it is not? Stuart Elsy, Managing Director of OSO Hotwater, looks at the simple measure that can be put in place to overcome this issue.
Low pressure to water outlets around the home is extremely frustrating for many homeowners, with them inevitably looking to their installer for the solution.
Poor pressure and flow to hot water outlets can often be as a result of a vented hot water system. In this case, replacing the system with a mains pressure unvented cylinder will dramatically improve both pressure and flow.
However in some cases the quality of the incoming water main is insufficient to drive the unvented system to the satisfaction of the customer. This most typically happens when the running of a second shower reduces the pressure or flow to the first, leading to the inevitable family argument! People often think that this is problem of pressure, but that is not always the case; it is usually a problem of available flow rate. Of course, rural areas are a prime contender as mains supplies are very long, losing pressure as the water travels. However, this can equally affect a new estate where the water system is not yet updated or upgraded to cope with increased demand.
It should be stressed that this problem only affects a tiny minority to unvented cylinder installations. However when it does, it is a pain. Thankfully, a solution is available that will guarantee solving the problem. And this does not involve digging up the drive to run a new main into the property, an expensive practice that often does not work.
This simple option is a cold-water storage system utilising patented accumulator technology, such as OSO’s SuperstreamTM. In fact, this technology guarantees to supply greatly increased flow rates and good shower pressure for multi-outlet demand and can be used to boost both hot and cold supplies. Although this technology is not new and has been proven for over 20 years, many installers may not come across it very often and the option can be often overlooked.
The SuperstreamTMis typically used in large properties with multiple outlets as high flow rates can be assured, even where an incoming mains flow rate is as low as 5 litres per minute.
The system is most easily understood by describing it as an over-sized potable expansion vessel. It works by storing water in a hygienic water chamber that incorporates a virgin butyl diaphragm, this diaphragm then delivers the water at pressure to the cylinder and cold outlets when demand exceeds the mains flow rate available. As the chamber is sealed it ensures water remains drinkable.
Installation remains simple too as no alteration to a property is required. The accumulator can be installed remotely to the cylinder by connecting to the cold supply after the stop cock via a 28mm pipe which is then run to the to the cylinder. A 22mm cylinder can often be used, but for the most challenging circumstances, OSO offers 1” inlet version of it’s A rated Delta cylinder (DCF) to ensure the highest flow rates possible combined with the lowest heating bills.
A 22mm or 28mm upstream fitting kit is required to connect the accumulator to the cold mains. The hot water cylinder will utilise its own G3 fittings kit. Where space is an issue, the SuperstreamTM200 and 250 can be fitted horizontally using a cradle.
The accumulator system is equally at home in commercial situations, improving shower performance for hotel guests or visitors to sports centres.
If the mains pressure is in excess of 2 bar, the accumulator system will work, in the rare cases where mains pressure falls below that figure, the option of a WRAS approved ChargerTMpump will raise the pressure in an accumulator system to 3.5 bar if required.
With no working parts, an accumulator requires no further maintenance and is not affected by power failures so there will be no unexpected loss of pressure for the end user. The system is silent in use – unlike many pumps – and needs no power, meaning there are no running costs & a 100% green solution.
The team at OSO is on hand to offer advice for those approaching this issue for the first time and can offer site visits to assist with sizing options. OSO’s SuperStreamTMaccumulator comes complete with a 5-year guarantee for added peace of mind.
Low pressure to multiple outlets is not something that has to be suffered in a property. For occasions where an unvented system is installed and flows remain low, it is worth having the accumulator answer up your sleeve to provide this cost effective, easy-to-install boost when needed.