Freeloader Dead? Stellar Ahead

The Vulcan Freeloader is a very common cylinder found around New Zealand for gas water heating. Available in Natural Gas and LPG, they were a popular choice in the 80s and 90s. However, these heaters are known to fail and have been the subject of many replacement jobs we have done.

These cylinders were originally made in Australia by the company Vulcan. In 2002 , Rheem aquired the Vulcan Company, and the Freeloader was no longer produced.

99% of these Vulcan Freeloader water heaters fail because of the thermocouple, which causes the pilot light to go out, meaning no hot water. Every one of these cylinders we have replaced had this issue. And the problem is that the parts are no longer manufactured, which makes repairing them impossible.

Here is a very old Vulcan Freeloader that we had to deal with recently. It failed on the customer and we tried to repair it, but were not able to due to lack of parts. So the customer was advised that they would need to replace the Vulcan with a new water heating system. As you can see in the pictures, this Vulcan was so old that the green color on the casing has actually faded to brown. Even we rarely see them in this state!

Is your Vulcan Freeloader dead? Check out our Vulcan Freeloader replacement deal here.

vulcan_freeloader_old_water_heating_systemsvulcan_freeloader_old_water_heaters

 

 

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Rheem 180L Mains Pressure Upgrade And Waste Disposal Replacement

A customer recently called us with the issue of their low pressure cylinder finally giving up on them. They needed a solution for hot water and decided that mains pressure would be the ideal thing to go for. So we recommended going for a Rheem 180L mains pressure cylinder to provide them with the solution they were looking for.

rheem_mains_pressure_upgrade_old_cylinderThe old cylinder was a Simplex low pressure unit, which are very popular around older Auckland homes. Some are even up to 30 years old! We have replaced many of these old low pressure Simplex cylinders around Auckland.

We sent our plumber off with a new Rheem 180L mains pressure cylinder to replace the old Simplex unit and provide the customer with higher pressure hot water in their home. These hot water cylinders are extremely popular upgrades for old low pressure systems because they are easy to install, provide reliable mains pressure hot water, are very efficient and last for years to come.

rheem_mains_pressure_upgraderheem_mains_pressure_upgrade_2

While there, our plumber was also asked to replace an old faulty Wastemaster with a new Hurricane unit that do an even better job of chopping up the scraps.

rheem_mains_pressure_upgrade_waste_disposalWould you like to upgrade to mains pressure hot water? We can provide you a mains pressure solution no matter what your requirements. Contact us today and let’s get your hot water going again!

rheem_Stellar

What’s A Rheem Stellar Gas Hot Water System?

If you have had the blessing of gas hot water for many years and are looking to upgrade or replace your water heater, then the Rheem Stellar is the most efficient domestic gas storage water heater available in New Zealand. It is the gas storage water heater of choice by many installers and is ideal for replacing the Rheem Vulcan Freeloader.

rheem_StellarWhat makes the Rheem Stellar so popular? Well it has high flow rate capabilities – which makes it ideal for homes that have multiple bathrooms and / or moderate to high hot water use. On top of this, it is suitable for all water pressure types – you can operate it using mains, and low pressures with no issues. The Rheem Stellar requires no electrical connections to run – in fact, it will continue to work even if the power goes off.

Rheem is known to be at the forefront of both technology and design and the Stellar does not disappoint. The Stellar is a bold cylinder with a matte enamel finish and small footprint. It’s stylish design and construction carries a solid 10-year warranty that covers both the cylinder and super flue. The warranty also gives you a 5 year labour warranty on the cylinder and super flue and a 1 year parts and labour on all other components (there are warranty conditions).

Example:

A customer requested a technician call out to investigate their Vulcan Freeloader which appeared to not be lighting.

On attendance it was found that the gas valve was not letting the pilot gas through. This was rendering the Vulcan Freeloader unusable.

We advised our customer that their Vulcan Freeloader was not able to be repaired and it was uneconomic to do so. The Rheem Stellar NG was recommended and the benefits were explained. The customer agreed to replace their Vulcan Freeloader with a Rheem Stellar NG.

As you can see from the photo the Rheem Stellar has a much more contemporary design. There are a lot less exposed pipes on the outside of the unit which removes a lot of the maintenance issues that can show with the Vulcan Freeloaders. The installation required just a new paver for the Stellar to sit on and the customer was back up and running with hot water.

Before:

rheem_stellar_gas_hot_water_before

 After:

rheem_stellar_gas_hot_water_after

 

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Is Your Hot Water Cylinder Leaking?

Is your hot water cylinder leaking? There are few home maintenance issues that can make your heart sink and your wallet run and hide than finding out your hot water cylinder is leaking, or worse yet, has completely corroded and the leak has been undetected for a while.

The most common faults with hot water cylinders can be put down to loose connections, faults with the element washers, faults with the valve, excessive pressure or due to time, heat or pressure – having a cracked tank.

But whether you need just a repair made or you want to replace your hot water cylinder – hotwatercylinders.co.nz are the company for you. Instead of simply replacing your hot water cylinder – why not talk to us about upgrading while you’re at it?

Hotwatercylinder.co.nz are stockists of Mains Pressure, Low Pressure, Gas Water Heating, Solar Cylinders, Wetback Cylinders, Boilers and Heat Pump Water Heaters.

The traditional water heater has been stuck in a cupboard taking up precious space in many homes in New Zealand. The latest in cylinders can now be installed both inside or outside the home with the latter providing you with more usable inside space.

If you are looking to repair, replace or upgrade then hotwatercylinders.co.nz will take the guess work away for you. You won’t be mucked about – what you see is what you will get – and best of all you will always get our best price upfront.

If you are unsure of what type to choose or what your upgrade options are then we are happy to give you free quotes so you can compare your options and make the best decision.

Hotwatercylinders.co.nz can provide hot water heating options from Southland to Northland and everywhere in between. Our technicians are experienced and know what will work best in your area.

So if you are wanting to repair, replace or upgrade your hot water cylinder – call us today on 0800 4 CYLINDERS.

New Zealand’s first Hot Water Cylinder Size Finder

Will your new hot water cylinder fit in the same space as your old one?

Which hot water cylinder will fit? Find hot water cylinders by size.
Hot Water Cylinders LTD makes it possible!

CLICK HERE TO USE OUR HOT WATER CYLINDER SIZE FINDER

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Our new hot water cylinder finder is a search engine that will find any cylinder available in New Zealand that will fit within your given parameters.  Enter the available space you have in terms of height and width (diameter), then submit.

The result will deliver which cylinder will either exactly fit or is just over your given parameters.

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For your convenience you can also filter by brand, pressure type and price. We are confident that this tool will help you find the right product quickly. Enjoy!

Once you have found your product, why not get an installation price? Free and best price quotes are available around the clock. Call us on 0800 429 546 for more information or use our hot water cylinder price calculator.

Hot Water Cylinder Trays Are Now Mandatory

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Safe trays are now compulsory with all new internal hot water cylinder installations, as per G12/AS1 clause 5.2.3 of the New Zealand building code.”

The above notice is what you will find on most newly sold (Image of a Rheem) hot water cylinders. Last year one of our blog posts discussed whether or not you need a cylinder tray. At the time the blog discussed a faulty product which resulted in flooding and insurance claim. In that particular instance the damage was minimal and covered by the manufacturer. Can you imagine the yearly claims when thousands of hot water cylinders are installed without hot water cylinder trays?important_notice

You can take a big guess on who would have lobbied the idea and pressed to get this incorporated into recent New Zealand building code G12 amendments. This standard sets a legal guideline on how a hot water cylinder may and may not be installed.

WHO BENEFITS?

Looking across the ditch, our Australian friends have had this requirement (regulation) as part of their compliance documents (e.g standard AS/NZS 3500) since 1996 but for some reason it never made it into the New Zealand building code, until now.

AS/NZS 3500 is also an acceptable standard in NZ which begs the question, why bother with two sets of standards in the first place?

Previously, accidental discharge control was optional unless a potential risk of water damage to another property existed, which in most cases only really applied to multi-story situations. Although control was considered “good practice” the homeowner could “opt out” to achieve savings on the installation. Or the plumber would keep it on the quite “to be competitive” and win a job against more expensive quotes that included the installation of a hot water cylinder tray.

Before the change, manufacturers such as Rheem have stated in installation instructions that a safe tray must be fitted, meaning plumbers should have already been recommending, quoting and installing hot water cylinder trays.

Now that this law has come into effect, ignorance is no longer bliss and benefits are relative to:

> The manufacturer knowing that installers can made responsible for water damage if the standard is not followed.

> The homeowner, knowing that any potential leaks are controlled while they are sleeping.

> The insurance, knowing they can legally peruse compensation on behalf of the homeowner.

Additional benefits also include:

  • Level playing field when plumbers are pricing jobs.
  • Prevention being the best protection.

NOTE: Plumbers and homeowners should ensure the installation complies with the updated standard to avoid any costs associated with non-compliance or resultant damage from water discharging from a hot water cylinder. 

SOME CHALLENGES AND CONSIDERATIONSunderbench_cylinder_on tray

Progress is always accompanied with challenges and challenges are accompanied with questions.

Some legalities are still undefined and It is not clear on whether a cylinder try must be installed on replacement hot water cylinders as well as newly installed hot water cylinders. When a “repair” or “like for like replacement” takes place, the building act allows one to maintain the current state of affairs. For example, although tempering valves are required by law, a plumber does not have to install a new one when replacing an existing old or damaged hot water cylinder that never had a tempering valve to begin with. Its good practice but not a legal requirement. He can just go ahead and maintain the existing setup treating the installation as a “like for like” situation.

But then this principal does not apply to seismic restrains. The DHB is yet to comment on this and we will update the blog once we know more.

Because compliance is relative and no job is like another, you want to be safe and ask the right questions before committing to any installation. Its always best to make an educated decision rather than deal with the unwanted consequences of ignorance.

ALTERNATIVES WHEN IT GETS TO EXPEN$IVE!rheem_27_instant_gas_water_heater

A cylinder tray needs to be connected to an approved point of discharge via a 32mm – 40mm drain. In many cases, for example double story homes the route of this drain becomes a major challenge. Especially when you are talking about cutting walls open or having surface mounted pipework to get the drain out.

If the cost or convenience of having a cylinder tray is not attractive, there are alternatives within the same ballpark in terms of $$$.

 

 

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For example Instant water heating. For about the same price of new hot water cylinder + tray you can convert to gas and enjoy the many benefits. We offer LPG and natural gas solutions. Future-proof or expand, your possibilities are limitless.

Alternatively…

Relocate your hot water cylinder to the outside and free up that cupboard space. In external situations, no cylinder tray is required and the costs are about the same as a new internal hot water cylinder + tray.

Most of our customers tend to go for this option when the installation of a cylinder tray becomes too difficult or expensive. Talk to us for more information.

AMENDMENTS IN G12, 

Lets have a look at G12 a bit closer.

You can view the old and newer version (third edition) of G12 by following this link VIEW G12 AMENDMENTS.

Its very interesting to see that they have removed the wording from 6.11.3

a) Safe trays complying with Paragraph 5.2.3 where water could penetrate another household unit within the same building.

Which now reads:

6.11.3 Storage water heaters shall have: a) Safe trays complying with Paragraph 5.2.3

tray insallation

The above relevant paragraphs read as follows:

5.2.3 now reads..

Safe trays Performance E3.3.2: states that; Free water from accidental overflow from sanitary fixtures or sanitary appliances must be disposed of in a way that avoids loss of amenity or damage to household units or other property. An acceptable method of preventing water damage is to locate a safe tray below the water tank (see Figure 4). The safe tray shall incorporate a drain with a minimum diameter of 40 mm. Where the tank overflow discharges into the safe tray, the diameter of the safe tray drain shall be greater than the overflow pipe from the tank and comply with Paragraph 5.2.2.

RELATED PARAGRAPHS

5.2.2 Overflow pipes Water tanks shall have an overflow pipe to discharge any overflow to a visible place within the same property that does not create a nuisance or damage to building elements. The overflow pipe shall be sized so that the discharge capacity is no less than the maximum inlet flow. The outlet of the overflow pipe shall not permit the entry of birds or vermin. Overflow from a WC cistern may discharge internally into a WC pan.

COMMENT: Manufacturers’ literature must be referenced for pressure and flow information on tempering valves and tapware. Outlets (e.g. shower mixers and showerheads) must be appropriate for the available flow and pressure. Note the limitations on lengths and pipe sizes given

6.11 Water heater installation

6.11.1 Water heaters shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

6.11.2 Where heating units, sacrificial anodes, thermostats, pipework connections, valves, or other accessories being components of a storage water heater are installed, they shall be accessible for inspection, maintenance and removal.

6.11.3 Storage water heaters shall have: a) Safe trays complying with Paragraph 5.2.3 b) Connections compatible with the pipe material used, and c) Drain pipes (for every storage water heater of more than 45 litres capacity) which: i) have a conveniently located isolating valve, and terminate with a cap or plug suitably located to easily empty the vessel for maintenance, or ii) terminate outside the building with a cap only.
cyl;inder setup

The installation below shows the safety valves discharging into the cylinder plug and waste, which does not comply as one could argue that these pipes are blocking the passageway designed for the control of accidental water which is managed by the safe tray only. NZ Regulations define acceptable methods of discharge which includes safety valve drains.

cylinder_drains_into_tray

 

 

What Is A Water Heater?

When selecting a new water heater for your home, choose a water heating system that will not only provide enough hot water but also that will do so energy efficiently, saving you money. This includes considering the different types of water heaters available and determining the right size and fuel source for your home.

Every home has a water heater and most of us are familiar with the big metal cylinders that can be found tucked away in our laundry room, basement or special “hot water cupboard”. Like all technology though, water heaters are constantly evolving with new design, new fuel systems and new sizing.

Storage Hot Water Heaters:

  • Inexpensive and widely available in a variety of sizes.
  • Waste 10%-15% of energy through radiant heat loss.
  • Can run out of hot water during extended use.
  • Life expectancy 10-15 years.
  • Average EF rating 0.67.
Storage_hot_water_heater

Tankless Hot Water Heaters:

  • Take up little space and can be mounted inside or on an outside wall.
  • Little or no standby energy loss.
  • Use 20% to 30% less energy than comparable storage tank models.
  • Hot water flow rate is limited by the size of the unit.
  • Can be expensive and costly to install.
  • Life expectancy 20 or more years
  • Average EF rating 0.75
tankless_water_heaters

Solar Hot Water Heaters:

  • Low to no energy cost.
  • Savings can pay for the unit in 8-12 years.
  • Requires the collector to be in full sun throughout the year.
  • Expensive and costly to install.
  • Usually use a conventional water heater for backup.
  • Life expectancy 20 or more years
solar_hot_water_heater

Heat Pump Hot Water Heaters:

  • Low operating costs.
  • Can only be installed in locations that stay between 4°-32° C.
  • Do not operate efficiently in a cold space.
  • Can install an air-source heat pump that combines heating, cooling, and water heating; or a standalone heat pump just for heating water.
  • Can be two to three times more energy efficient than electric water heaters.
  • Higher initial cost than storage water heaters.
  • Colder climates using a heat pump water heater may add to heating and cooling loads.
heat_pump_hot_water_heaters

The newer styles have generally lost the big bulky tank completely in favour of hot water-on-demand. What makes a water heater (no matter which type you have) interesting is that they exploit the heat rising principle to deliver hot water right to your tap with a minimum of fuss.
To create hot water, a scientific process called thermodynamics is required. This process uses an energy source to heat water above the initial temperature it arrives into your home at. In a typical home, we use hot water in cooking, cleaning, bathing, and space heating.
There are various types of water heaters available and the type you choose will inherently depend on where you are based, how many people are going to be using hot water and the kind of energy sources you’ll be using (electric, gas, solar or wood).

Your water heater is a cleverly designed system that heats cold water to an ambient temperature. They are generally reliable and can operate for years without any issues. When water comes into your home, depending on the time of the year, it makes a journey through a system of pipes, and it’s usually cold or cool. If you are not a fan of bathing in cold water or washing your dishes or clothes in cold water, then you need a water heater.

When choosing a water heater, you should keep an eye out for a technical term – “recovery rate”. The Recovery Rate is the speed at which a water heater heats your water to 37.7C in an hour. Once you draw water faster than it’s heated, the temperature drops. Choosing a water heater that has an appropriate capacity and recovery rate depends on how much water your home demands and how your unit heats the water. Typically, heaters with low recovery rates have a high tank capacity. Although it takes longer to heat the water, there’s more of it for intermittent use. Electric heaters fall into this category. On the other hand, a fuel-fired heater (gas or oil) with a high recovery rate needn’t have a large tank, because it can heat the water faster. In general, electric models have the lowest recovery rate, and oil-fired units have the highest.
If you’re considering replacing or simply installing a new water heater, looking at the various advantages and disadvantages is always wise. Some of the general pros and cons we can share with you are:

We know that purchasing a water heater requires a lot of thought. Call us on 0800 429 546 today and we can help you select the best water heater for your needs.

Explaining electric hot water heaters

What is an electric hot water heater?

How do electric hot water heaters work?

What are the differences between hot water heaters available?

Most of us don’t give a passing thought to how our water is heated as long as it is hot when we turn on the hot water tap or get in the shower. There are various ways our water can be heated and these generally are by Gas, Heat Pump, Solar, Wetback or Power (Electricity).

An electric powered water heater can be referred to by many names – a hot water storage tank, a hot water tank, thermal storage tank, hot water thermal storage unit, heat storage tank or a hot water cylinder.

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Electric hot water cylinders are the most common form of water heating in New Zealand.

The cylinders use an electric element in an insulated tank to heat the water to a temperature set by a thermostat.

It acts a bit like a hot water jug or kettle. It has an immersion element inside the cylinder (which looks like a metal loop or coil) and it heats the surrounding water.

The cylinder is an insulated water tank with a cold tube to carry water in, and a hot tube to send the water where it’s needed inside the home. The heating is controlled by a thermostat that turns on the heating element when the water goes beneath the pre-set temperature.

When the heating element is on, electric power runs through it, creating heat. Unlike a gas water heater, the heat does not go through a heat exchanger. Instead, it flows directly into the tank’s water supply.

Electric water heaters (with an immersion element) are more energy efficient than gas water heaters. A conventional electric model averages a 90 percent efficiency rating, while a conventional gas water heater averages a 60 percent rating. Electric power is generally more expensive than natural gas.

Gas does outperform the electric model in water heating speed and recovery time. A gas heater can heat around 190 litres in roughly an hour, while an electric heater takes several hours to heat the same volume.

Some other benefits to electric hot water heaters are that out of all the various types of water heating products available, they have the lowest upfront cost.

They also have a certain amount of flexibility. You can buy cylinders with additional connections suitable for having a solar water heater, heat pump water heater or wetback added in the future. This allows you to change the way you use your hot water, and for adaptation should your family size grow or the demands you require on hot water change.

You can purchase an electric hot water heater that has a thermostatic control. This means that it will automatically turn off when it reaches the temperature you set on the thermostat. This will save you money over time.

If you have a boiler system in your home, an electric water heater will not be connected to your boiler. This means that if your boiler breaks down, you can still generate hot water for your home.

If you well insulate your electric water heater, it can keep water hot for several hours after it switches off. You can set a timer on your heater so that it only switches on during cheaper off-peak electricity hours.

You can usually turn your electric water heater on or off by simply flicking the switch on the wall socket. This is a great power savings ability especially useful if you are going away on holiday and you will have no need for hot water in the house while you are away.

And what kind of things should you be aware of regarding an electric hot water heater?

  • Heating water using electricity is more expensive than heating water with say, gas. A typical electric water heater uses 3 kilowatts of electricity an hour, so it will cost the average house about 78c an hour to run. Most households will need to run an electric water heater for at least a couple of hours a day to get the water hot enough – costing at least $560 a year.
  • An electric water heater needs a thermostatic control, otherwise it can heat the water to far too high a temperature.
  • Some heating engineers may recommend you leave your electric water heater on 24/7 – however, this can be very expensive unless it has a thermostatic control.
  • Be aware that you need to heat the water in your electric water heater to above 50°C to kill off bacteria.Above all consider all of your options. What works for one household might not be the best option for yours. Getting the sizing, the placement and the installation right is important for obtaining your long term enjoyment from your new water heater.

Rinnai is getting greener in 2017

Rinnai have been busy with some exciting changes to products making sure they remain one of New Zealand’s preferred suppliers of electric hot water cylinders. The next 12 months will see some exciting changes to their range starting with changes to some of the Mains Pressure Enamel products.

Always striving to be at the forefront of future-proof technology, Rinnai, as part of our commitment to the environment has made changes to our manufacturing process. Innovations to the materials that we use to assemble our finished products will enable our cylinders to be kinder to the environment while still allowing us to meet the same exacting standards you have come to expect.

These changes will mean that the height of some of our Mains Pressure Enamel Electric cylinders will be changing over the coming months.

The first of these changes will be reflected with the production of our Mains Pressure Enamel 180L 488 product (ME18048830/ME18048820). This means that all orders from now on will be fulfilled with the new height.

The full schedule of changes to affected Mains Pressure Enamel cylinders can be found below:

CODE LITRES DIAMETER EXISTING HEIGHT NEW HEIGHT KW CHANGE WINDOW
ME18048830 180 488 1660 1695 3 NOW
ME18048820 180 488 1660 1695 2 NOW
ME25059030 250 590 1580 1595 3 MID NOV 2016
ME25059020 250 590 1580 1595 2 MID NOV 2016
ME250590D30 250 590 1580 1595 2X3 MID NOV 2016
ME250590D20 250 590 1580 1595 2X2 MID NOV 2016
ME18059030 180 590 1190 1205 3 END NOV 2016
ME18059020 180 590 1190 1205 2 END NOV 2016
ME09048830 90 488 955 1030 3 EST MAR 2017
ME09048820 90 488 995 1030 2 EST MAR 2017
ME13548830 135 488 1295 1328 3 EST JAN 2017
ME13548820 135 488 1295 1328 2 EST JAN 2017
ME30059030 300 590 1790 1805 3 JUN 2017
ME30059020 300 590 1790 1805 2 JUN 2017
ME300590D30 300 590 1790 1805 2X2 JUN 2017
ME300590D20 300 590 1790 1805 2X3 JUN 2017

From November 2016 we will be phasing out the dual element 2kW and 3 kW 180L Mains Pressure Enamel products (ME180590D30 and ME180590D20) from our range. Stocks of this product will not be replenished and orders for these products will continue to be fulfilled while stocks last.

As always, Rinnai is committed to the environment and to our customers. For more information on any of the products discussed above please contact us 0800 4 CYLINDERS

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Blowing up a hot water cylinder

I made this GIF from an experiment done by Myth Busters to show the extent of damage a hot water cylinder can do when there is no pressure relief. blowing-up-hwc

The image above reinforces the importance of using individuals that understand the physics of hot water and the effects an installation can have on its surroundings.

So at what point will a cylinder explode?

In principal it’s simple to understand. Heating a substance causes molecules to speed up and spread slightly further apart, occupying a larger volume that results in a decrease in density. So “larger volume” means “more space” which is limited to the size of the hot water cylinder.

If hot water is not used and your thermostat fails, your immersion element will continue heating your water (to boiling point) until such time one of the pressure relief valves activates and relieves the pressure. Every installation should include two relief valves, one on the cold water side and one on the hot water side.

This regulation was put in place around 1997 meaning that any cylinders installed prior to that may only have one source of pressure relief. Hence the low pressure vent copper pipe going through the roof.

This is where it gets tricky. Many installers dont bother replacing older valves when replacing an old hot water cylinder with a new one. Others have managed to install a tempering valve on a low pressure system right into the overflow pipe, blocking the only means of pressure relief. The hot water system then becomes a time bomb which may result in something pictured above.

Sometimes its not the plumbers’ fault but rather the homeowner who sees a pipe dripping on the outside of a house and thinks.. “Oh, this should not be leaking” and decides to “blank” it off by any means available, creating the perfect conditions for a catastrophe. My recommendation on this is, see a dripping pipe? Please call the plumber.

If you are unsure about what valves you need or already have, send us an email or give us a call for help.