HWA members promote the importance of annual servicing

4th Sep 2017


By Isaac Occhipinti, Head of External Affairs

Servicing a hot water cylinder annually helps to ensure that they remain in prime condition, operate efficiently, and are in safe working order. We know that heating engineers take this message to their customers, but it can be hard to persuade them when there is a cost implication.

But consider this…..

It is imperative that homeowners take steps to ensure their system is healthy enough to safely and cost-effectively keep the home fires burning all year round. A boiler service will help maintain their heating system, but very few people know that in order to keep their hot water cylinder running properly and efficiently, very simple maintenance procedures need to be performed. Even though this is stipulated in the product instructions, it is often overlooked.

Making annual servicing a condition of the hot water cylinder warranty goes some way to addressing this problem, but this is just one approach. In addition the Hot Water Association (HWA) are calling upon heating engineers in the UK to ‘promote the importance of a ship-shape hot water cylinder’- an annual hot water cylinder service.

HWA and its members are working together to help raise awareness with homeowners on the importance of central heating TLC. Stuart Elsy, Managing Director, Oso Hotwater UK Ltd and Chair of the HWA commercial group said;

As a representative of the heating industry I often talk about system and product efficiency.

But rarely have I talked about the importance of having a well maintained heating system, after all it isn’t as stimulating a topic in comparison, and isn’t it a given that consumers don’t want an inefficient system?

A well maintained car lubrication and water cooling system ensures optimum performance, likewise our heating and hot water systems need the same consideration.

Heating engineers and Plumbers should remember that a high performance unvented cylinder is an entirely different beast to a conventional low pressure copper cylinder. They operate at much higher pressures, and are controlled and protected by a manufacturer supplied valve chain and expansion system. , which should be annually serviced.

It is this control system, rather than the cylinder itself, which is the subject of the service. Regular maintenance will ensure that the cylinder keeps its warranty, operates at the correct pressure and can provide a simple but valuable income stream for a G3 qualified installer.”

Let’s look at some facts.

Water entering a cylinder from a public water supply is obviously fit to drink but many cylinders are in hard water areas which means that over a period of time limescale can build up on heat exchangers and immersion heaters. Monitoring and possibly replacing affected parts during an annual service is cheaper than a full cylinder replacement. In areas where scale exceeds 200ppm it is a good idea to fit a scale reducer.

System controls also need checking to ensure they are working efficiently. With unvented cylinders the need for annual maintenance is even greater, because of the possible dangers associated with water stored in a sealed vessel under pressure and at high temperature. An annual service will amongst other things test the functionality of the safely valves that operate in the event of a fault. The expansion vessel pressure and general performance will also need checking to ensure continued good pressure in the system, and associated ‘good shower experience.

If a replacement part is required it is important to always use parts supplied by the manufacturer of the cylinder.

A properly serviced and maintained hot water cylinder and system should provide years of trouble free hot water. All HWA member products are manufactured to the highest standards however, like any electrical and mechanical component good maintenance will extend their life.

An annual hot water tank service will;

  • Provide peace of mind regarding the safety of an appliance
  • Guarantees that the tank is working to maximum efficiency, minimising the risk of breakdown
  • Ensures the tank is working at optimum efficiency may reduce energy consumption and therefore bills too.
  • Keeps the tank warranty or extended warranty valid (most warranties require an annual service)

On completion of any maintenance or service of the tank, the Benchmark Installation, Commissioning and Service Record should be filled in to record the actions taken and the date the work was undertaken.

HWA is raising awareness of the importance of an annual service for hot water tanks, and calls upon you, the heating engineer to do the same. When you take into consideration how much the average household depends on their hot water system, keeping it in tip-top condition is essential. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, but with the addition of an annual health check, homeowners can rest assured that hot water problems are less likely to become such a major issue.

As ever, HWA members will be pleased to offer advice on best practice. Member details can be found at www.hotwater.org.uk