Upgrading your sacrificial anode when replacing a hot water cylinder.

hot_water_cylinder_anodeHow would you like to increase the life span of your current or new hot water cylinder by at least 10 years?

Sounds too good to be true? Every hot water cylinder contains a sacrificial anode which prevents the breaking down of the tank and components. As the name suggests “sacrificial” would mean that at some point it would have to be replaced to maintain this form of protection. In the image to the right you can clearly see the difference within 10 years of operation. Most house holders are not made aware of this fact and unknowingly allow the continuation and breakdown of their relatively young or new hot water cylinder.  By replacing this sacrificial rode you can easily add another 10 years to its operation saving significant cash by preventing the breakdown of metals.

The sacrificial anode (also called an anti-corrosion rod) is typically made of magnesium. It it used to attract corrosive elements so that the tank itself will not corrode as quickly. It can be replaced when it is badly corroded.

But when your hot water cylinder is installed in a tight spot with limited height which is the case in most scenarios, how can you replace this rode (typically over 1 meter length) without actually removing / disconnecting (which would cost you more than its worth) the hot water cylinder to fit it in?

Making it easy to change a cylinder anode when clearance is tight.

When is time to replace your sacrificial anodes you might be faced with several challenges. Either HWC_Anodeyou will have to drain and remove the hot water cylinders or you may have to put a hole through the ceiling above for access. So what is the solution? A flexible Anode! this specialized anode requires less than 250mm clearance and can be installed within 1 hour. So whether you have an existing cylinder or getting a new one, why not ask to be upgraded to one of these allowing you to make the replacement when its due? Saving you cash long term!

Please ask our team about this upgrade which can be purchased for under $200 with a new installation.

 

 

 

Hot Water Cylinder faults and problems?

If your hot water cylinder suddenly stops working (producing hot water) it’s a good Idea to go through a checklist of elimination to determine what the fault is before getting any quotes to repair or even replace your hot water cylinder. Initial understanding of what the problem is can save you lot of cash!!

WHY DON’T I HAVE HOT WATER?

If your hot water cylinder is not producing hot water, one of the reasons could be:

  • You are setup on ripple control through your current power provider. If so, your current power provider has the ability to disconnect your Hot water cylinder from the grid during peak times. Give them a ring and find out whether you are. (This is common in the Auckland area)
  • Have you checked your switchboard to see if the fuse has blown? You should be able to confirm this visually.HWC_Fuse

With all electrical fault scenarios, if you are unsure how to investigate / rectify, we strongly recommend asking a professional for assistance. This could be a registered electrician or registered plumber holding a current limited electrical certificate.

WHY HAS THE FUSE BLOWN?

If you have determined that your fuse has blown , there will be a good reason why that has happened in the first place.

This could include the following:

hot_water_cylinder_immersion_element

  • With tear and wear an immersion element will break down over time eventually causing an electrical short due to a broken circuit. This will lead to an RCD tripping (RCD’s are not common with hot water cylinder) or fuse blowing. Sometimes a new hot water cylinder element can also be faulty as shown in the image here. Within 2 hours this brand new element failed majorly causing a fuse to blow and leaving the homeowners with no hot water.
  • Every hot water cylinder incorporates a thermostat that controls the element. Thermostats are designed to ensure the immersion element switches on when the water temperature is below 60 degrees. Unlike older style thermostats, modern versions cannot be set below 60 degrees. Stipulated by law to prevent the growth of legionnaires bacteria. (for alternative systems to manage legionnaires bacteria please follow our blog for upcoming information) Thermostats may fail, turning off the element permanently. Some models incorporate an integrated trip device which can be reset. Caution is advised though because also in this case, there is a reason why the thermostat has tripped in the first place.

CAN MECHANICAL FAULTS RESULT IN “NO HOT WATER”?

Alternative to electrical faults mechanical faults may also result in your hot water cylinder not delivering hot water. The reason we say “delivering” is because your cylinder may still be “producing” hot water but delivery prevented by a different component in the system. One of these components is your tempering valve. (assuming the installation is a compliant one, for more information please visit our blog post Cheap cylinder quotes)Tempering_valve block

A tempering valve is installed to protect your household from scolding hot water. For a more legal description please download NZBC G12. Most tempering valves incorporate a non-return valve on the hot, cold or both sides (Tempering valves shall comply with NZS 4617 or AS 1357.2) which prevents the hot water from siphoning back into the cold water line. Additionally on both the hot and cold sides the tempering valve includes a miniature style strainer which catches any debris before entering the valve. This is designed to protect the valve from damage and prevent maintain clean delivery. Keeping the above in mind two things can happen with this valve that will prevent your hot water cylinder from delivering hot water to your taps.

  1. If your cylinder thermostat recently failed then your immersion element would have continued to heat your water to boiling point which can put a lot of strain onto the integral HDPE parts of the tempering valve. Standard tempering valves (not rated for high temperatures such as solar above 99 degrees) incorporate High density Polyethylene parts which are rated to about 99 degrees Celsius. At 99 degrees, depending on age these will start liquefying or breaking down. Once these parts start cooling down again they will fusion preventing further mechanical operation. In this instance we are talking about the non-return valve which will no longer open allowing hot water to travel to its destination.

apex_tempering_valve

2.  The integral miniature style strainers mentioned above have an approximate straining value of 20 microns. If you are getting a new tempering valve installed on an older system you will most likely get some of the existing lime/sludge/debris caught in the strainer which may initially look like the “pressure” has been reduced but will eventually fully clog to point of blockage.

A new installation involves new pipes, new valves and a new hot water cylinder, all of which can contain debris from the installation, transport or product itself. If the system is not flushed properly at time of the installation this will guaranteed lead to valves blocking preventing hot water delivery.

WHY IS MY HOT WATER CYLINDER OVERFLOW PIPE DRIPPING?

Every hot water cylinder, regardless, whether its mains or low pressure must have a method of cylinder_with_valvesexpansion relief. As water is heated its density will decrease requiring more space and creating more pressure. If this pressure is not managed properly your hot water cylinder could/will explode or “burst” once it reaches its maximum rated manufacturing pressure limit. Some additional factors such as incoming pressure will also affect your system pressure as a whole.

I will cover all the valves in different blog posts, for now what you need to know is that.. If the valve is “dripping” (Especially when the cytlinder then its doing what its supposed to. This includes water exiting your relief vent through the roof.

A “drip” is normal whereas as a regular stream or gush may not be. If you are experiencing a stream, gush or heavy drip some of the following reasons may apply:

  • A recent increase of pressure may have happened due to utility repairs or improvements.
  • Your hot water cylinder is over heating because the thermostat has failed.
  • On low pressure systems your incoming pressure is reduced with a pressure reducing valve. This valve may wear down over time eventually allowing more pressure through than the vacuum relief valve (the vacuum relief may also be the cause) or open vent height may be allowed for. In this case maintenance or replacement will be required.
  • On mains pressure systems, cold water expansion or temperature relief valves may be faulty, worn out or simply requiring a clean. Both valves have a lever which allows you to open and discharge hot water. Often, doing this may solve the issue as grit may be the offending cause or your excessive drip.

We have listed the most common faults above to ensure you can make an educated decision before taking any action. If you cant find information about the fault you are experiencing on our website, please don’t hesitate to call our friendly technical team at no charge.

For more information on possible faults and remedies please checkout out our most recent blog:
Your Cylinder May Just Need A Repair, Not A Replacement.

Rheem Alpha low pressure made in 1967

Rheem_AlphaHard to believe but we got called to this 48 year old Rheem Alpha hot water cylinder because a mains pressure upgrade was requested and not because it was leaking!

A typical low pressure installation with a vacuum relief valve and 15mm hot water feed to the house. No Seismic restraint or tray despite there being another property underneath. Safe-trays are a required by law in Australia but not in New Zealand if the property affected is not a separate title. We from Hot Water Cylinder NZ still believe this is good practice, ensuring that if and when a leak occurs the water can be managed and drained preventing damage to your own and others property. We are currently offering a FREE CYLINDER TRAY with every mains pressure upgrade! Call us for more info.

Rheem Mains Pressure takes the OW! out of your shower!

Rheem Delta mains Pressure

The title of this blog is what you would have found attached to your Rheem hot water cylinder in the early 90’s! A marketing endeavor designed to encourage home owners to return a questionnaire which will enable them to take advantage of the amazing Rheem warranty.

Rheem_Delta

The back of this two color compact A4 flyer which folds into a convenient sized Free-post postcard states “Please return this questionnaire/warranty. It is your advantage for us to have it on file should the need arise to make a claim. As an additional incentive, your warranty will be entered into a monthly draw to WIN AN ELECTRIC JUG OR KETTLE, A TOASTER OR AN IRON.” I do love the “toaster” classic!

Some of these questions (eight in total, some of which are designed to “paint a demographic”) include:

  • Who selected your water heater? you or your plumber?
  • Where/why has this water heater been installed?
  • What did your new water heater replace?

1990_pipe_layout

Whats also interesting is the installation diagram Rheem has attached, stating that all other valves are optional and only required as specified by the local conditions and regulations. If you look at the schematic you will also notice it does not include a tempering valve. the shower priority is correct but some of the others questionable.

Good on you Rheem for taking such an interest in your clients! For over 25 years now Rheem have been the leaders in hot water heating and they continue to lead the industry by example.

The danger of cheap hot water cylinder quotes.

wrongly_installed_hot_water_cylinderThis home owner would have been stoked to get this cylinder installed at $500 below going market price! There is a good reason why…

Often we lose out on installations because of price, home owners don’t know any better employing plumbers that happily install hot water cylinders in manner that is dangerous and inefficient to home owners.

We were called to this job which was just done recently by a local plumber, failing to follow basic building code requirements this installation resulted in overheating and damage of tap ware.

What were the requirements?

The installation was a replacing a faulty low pressure with a new low pressure hot water cylinder. the legal recommendations are very clear in this situation clearly stating that the plumber SHOULD bring this installation up to the current standard. which includes:

 

  1. Installing a tempering valve.
  2. Installing a cold water expansion valve.
  3. Installing earthquake restraints.

Non of which were done on this installation, putting this family at risk and increasing their power bill unnecessarily. Do you have a cheap quote? Before you commit, its a good idea to compare apples with apples!  Not sure? Give us a ring on 0800 4 CYLINDERS.

Is Your Quote Apples for Apples?

Us Kiwis just love to get free quotes for any size job, this includes hot water cylinders of course.apples_with_oranges

Whether we need a quick fix or a complete replacement, its a good idea to shop around and see what the market has to offer.

Once you have all of your quotes its very important to consider some of the following things.

 

WHO IS THE INSTALLER?

The plumbing industry has made some considerable progress over the last few years by introducing a licensing scheme and compliance based requirements to ensure standards are maintained and to reduce the amount of unqualified individuals operating within the industry.

First check to see if they are authorised to undertake the work by asking to see their card. All authorised tradespeople must carry their authorisation card issued by the Board. The card also details what a person’s supervision requirements are, if any (on the reverse).
You can also check to see if a trades person is authorised phoning the Board on 0800 743 262.

It’s simple, If they DONT carry a licence DONT employ them!

IS THE INSTALLER EMPLOYED OR SUBCONTRACTED?

Many Auckland based product supply companies use marketing tricks such as promoting a service which enables them to sell their product. Such companies will in most cases subcontract out their work which presents several issues and challenges that can effect you.

Some of these are:

  • Who is responsible when something goes wrong? Ultimately the person billing you has the final responsibility but a dispute between the supplier and contractor will only lead to your inconvenience.
  • Subcontractors are on a limited “budget” meaning targets need to be met or they don’t make any money. If anything goes wrong it will either cost you more or shortcuts will be taken.
  • Insurance and warranty are always a big factor in a licensed industry. When something goes wrong no one is ever to blame and no one ever wants responsibility. the more middlemen the more complicated it becomes with a claim.
  • Bias attitude towards their own product will always disadvantage you with a high risk of getting what they want to sell and not really what you need.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN YOUR QUOTE? 

We all understand bottom line $$$ but is it really cheaper when we look closer??

The main problem every consumer has, is by not being a specialist they don’t know what is required, what they really need and how to finally compare apples with apples.

This might be the case with many other industries but thankfully with hot water cylinders its almost black and white and very easy to make a comparison. This is mainly because the supply and installation is broken down into two main sections:

  • LEGAL REQUIREMENTS. THE LAW STIPULATES WHAT THE MINIMUM STANDARDS ARE AND WHAT YOUR INSTALLER MUST INCLUDE AND INSTALL WITH NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • INSTALLATION QUALITY AND GOOD PRACTICE. THIS INCLUDES ASPECTS OF THE SYSTEM WHICH ARE NOT A LEGAL REQUIREMENT BUT ARE RECOMMENDED.

WHAT ARE THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS? 

For a full overview of legal requirements for hot water cylinders,
please download the following document clause-g12.

REPLACING LIKE FOR LIKE LOW PRESSURE

Hot water cylinders systems installed 10+ years ago DO NOT comply with today’s legal requirements. When a plumber replaces your hot water cylinder, even if he is only replacing like for like HE SHOULD inspect and ensure the remaining parts of the system are up to standard.

  • If the existing system does not have a tempering valve and he is replacing the hot water cylinder he must include a tempering valve.
  • If the existing system does not have seismic restraint and he is replacing the hot water cylinder he must include seismic restraint.
  • If the existing hot water cylinder is not open vented, he must include a low pressure cold water expansion valve.
  • ELECTRICAL COMPONENT: If you have an existing round (typically black in colour) electrical switch from Bakelite, this must be replaced.

REPLACING LOW WITH MAINS PRESSURE

System that are being upgrading from low to mains pressure are more complex and have even more compliance requirements. Some things to look out for are:

  • Have all the correct valve been installed? these include a tempering valve, cold water expansion valve, correctly sized TPR and isolation valves.
  • Has the installer allowed for a 20mm drain minimum? In most cases your existing drain will only be 15mm. Some installers tend to reuse this drain and discharge two valves into it, which is absolutely not allowed (CWE and TPR valve).

Whether the installer is saving materials by not upgrading the drain, not installing a tempering valve as required by law, not upgrading your electrical switch or not ensuring your seismic restraint is installed correctly the motive is always the same..They want to reduce their spend to increase their income leaving you with a non compliant, potentially unsafe and inefficient hot water system.

Every hot water cylinder installation must legally include:

  • Tempering valve (low pressure systems have low pressure tempering valves which are more expensive)
  • Seismic restraint must applied on all hot water cylinder installations, including external models.
  • Energy saving valves such as a cold water expansion valve.
  • Correctly sized Temperature relief valves.
  • ELECTRICAL COMPONENT: If you have an existing round (typically black in colour) electrical switch from bakelite, this must be replaced.

WHAT IS A GOOD STANDARD INSTALLATION?

As specialists we look at future proofing your installation and ensure your system runs as efficient and safe as possible despite some aspects not being a legal requirement. Some examples include:

  • Installing a drain point at the lowest point possible will ensure the next person servicing or repairing your hot water cylinder will not charge you for an hour because he has to wait for it to drain.
  • Maintaining a compact installation within the hot water cupboard will ensure you have space for storage.
  • Ensuring all pipework is secured correctly will prevent leaks in future when a pipe is accidentally hit by storage items. This will also prevent rattling and noise when hot water taps are opened and closed.
  • Separation of materials is important to prevent rusting (electrolysis), in many cases a cylinder tray is recommended as a base.
  • Using the inlet diffuser correctly is important to prevent cold water patches during showers.

As you can see the list of things you need to be aware of is closely linked to price! We from Hot Water Cylinders NZ have the best price and service policy, always endeavoring to give you the best price possible!  Speak to us today and we will give you a quote tailored to your needs. You can be confident that all our installations fully comply to the standards and that no corners will be cut ensuring you get the best money for value! Speak to us today on 0800 4 CYLINDERS

For more information about our guarantees please visit WHY USE A HOT WATER CYLINDER SPECIALIST.  

 

 

 

 

 

HUNSON RT AKA “THE ELEPHANT”

Hunson_brandManufactured in Glen Innes Auckland on January 1978 by W. Hunt & Son Ltd this HUNSON RT revolutionized mains pressure water heating in New Zealand!

Due to high manufacturing costs and technology limitations, in the 1970’s hot water cylinders were primarily manufactured from copper.                                                         hunson_RT

Copper hot cylinders are made to suit low to medium pressures (75KPA – 120KPA), with medium pressure cylinders being made from thicker copper. The week spot on a cylinder is not the actual copper material but rather the machine manufactured welding seams. Anything above 120KPA depending on weld quality and the seam will crack resulting in a burst hot water cylinder!

So how do you get around this problem and achieve mains pressure using low pressure technology? W. Hunt & Son Ltd certainly acknowledged the demand for mains pressure and their reply was the advanced Hunson RT Direct mains pressure hot water system. Great engineering and ahead of its time.

What makes the Hunson RT so special?

hunson_diagram

 

The basic principal was to use the heat exchanger to supply mains pressure ONLY to one shower making it a semi “instantaneous water heater” (in the 70’s showers started becoming more popular) whilst using the large low pressure body of water to supply the exchange heat to the mains pressure coil and direct supply to all other low pressure fixtures such as a bath or laundry.

On request Hunson could manufacture these cylinders with multiple elements up to a total of 8KW! This would certainly make the supply more reliable and showers longer but expensive to run (not sure about power rates VS income in the 70’s). Modern cylinders use the same technology in reverse because water can now be stored in a mains pressure environment (stainless steel or enamel) and of course also because of a few other reasons such as efficiency and reliability.

What challenges did this “new style” mains pressure cylinder present to home owners?

hunson_rt_instructions

 

 

To start with, it was important the plumber got the installation right. If you have a look at the image you will see the instruction says: “At all times, the flow from the cylinder should be strong and steady, but not excessive”. Mains pressure can be anywhere from 120KPA to 500KPA and the term “not excessive” is too broad. If the pressure was set too high the heat exchanger would not have enough time to keep up with the demand. Plumbers also started using the mains pressure supply (which was originally only intended for one shower) to deliver mains pressure to the whole house and all plumbing fixtures! This immediately presented a problem because the standard supplied element of 3KW could not keep up with the demand and showering usually was over after 5 minutes! This was also the case with Hunson RT you see in this image. the only reason this cylinder survived over 30 years was because the hot water from the low pressure supply side was never used. The sludge build-up on the inside would reach all the way up to the element. Despite a sludge relief point which was most likely never ever used.

Another common issue this technology presented was random cold patches during a warm shower. Have a look at the diagram and see whether you can identify expansion, cold water inlet, hot water supply, overflow and sludge outlet. This date_230178cylinder also provides bottom entry connections for wetbacks.

Why did this hot water cylinder receive the nickname “The Elephant”? 

It turns out there used to be an engineering company in New Zealand call Elephant NZ. Elephant NZ originally came with this technology and design which was purchased by W. Hunt & Son Ltd. Why that actually engineering company was called Elephant, we don’t know but if you do, please send me an email so we can add this info to our article.

Internal natural gas hot water cylinders

Iinternal_gas_hwcinternal gas hot water cylinders are always a bit harder to replace because of existing installation conditions. Gas hot water cylinders installed 10 + years ago may not comply to the latest standards. this includes ventilation, flue penetrations, floor base, seismic restraint and several other factors. New products such as the internal Rheem 170L are much more efficient and carry 5 year warranty. What do our installers look for before installing one these models?

  • Ensure the platform is fire resistant (e.g. concrete paver will do it)
  • Ensure there will be sufficient ventilation at lower level and down draft diverter to allow for complete and safe combustion.
  • Check to make sure the existing gas supply pipe is of sufficient size.

    On completion our technicians are required to do a full gas pressure inspection to confirm there are no existing or new gas leaks. Once the installation is complete seismic restraints will attached to secure your new hot water cylinder and finally a gas certificate can be issued that your new hot water cylinder is deemed safe and sound. Hot water cylinder NZ offer various gas hot water solution’s including instant water heating and combination central heating. For more information please call us on 0800 4 Cylinders.

What are Calorifiers?

A calorifier is a heat exchanger which heats water indirectly by circulating is over a heating coil or multiple coils. The source of heat can be water or steam, heated by an external heat source, contained within a pipe immersed in the water. the two bodies of water or steam do not mix. (touch each other)

In hospitals and factories where steam is already being generated for other uses is can also be used to heat the water by the indirect method.

The calorifier may be a continuous coil of pipe or a cylinder within a cylinder with an annular space between the two vessels.

calorifier_design

With the vertical hot water cylinder, the steam enters the coil though the top connection. the strainer or grit trap removes any solid matter suspended in the steam. The steam then passes through the inlet valve which is thermostatically controlled. the thermostat prevents overheating or boiling of the stored water.

A steam trap, fitted near the outlet of the coil, prevents the steam from leaving the coil until is condenses.

In a hot water cylinder which contains a steam coil, the coil must be able to be removed for descaling. this is more likely to occur using steam because the coil is working at a higher temperature than with the conventional hot water system.

Hot water cylinders Ltd provide custom hot water cylinder (storage tanks) design and construction with integrated calorifiers at most demanded KW sizes. Our services include domestic and commercial applications. With water applications heat sources such as Heatpumps, Gas, Solar or steam can be applied. For more information please contact us on 0800 4 CYLINDERS.

Heatpump hot water cylinder conversion

heat_pump_hpt_water_cylinderIf your looking at saving power ($$$) with your domestic hot water heating demand, your hot water cylinder is leaking or you are keen on upgrading to mains pressure why not consider a heat pump hot water cylinder?

Save up to a third on your hot water bill with this Aquarian Heatpump! These heatpump cylinders can be installed internally as well as externally with the difference that the air intake must be ducted to the outside if the installation is to take place inside. This is usually achieved by ducting directly up through your existing hot water cylinder cupboard and out through the roof. Our installation special includes a flashing fro your roof, all ducting (up to 5 meters), all involved labor and materials for $ 4999 including GST . If your a high hot water user or want a quick return on your investment now is the time to place your order! For more technical info on this heat pump hot water cylinder please CLICK HERE

Please note that electrical services are not included and an obligation free site visit must be made by us prior to our commitment.

For alternative heat pump specials please visit our heat pump catagory section.