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Indirect Cylinders & Calorifiers For Commercial Hot Water

Adveco considers the application of indirect cylinders, or calorifiers, to meet commercial hot water demands within sustainability goals…

A reliable and efficient hot water supply is not a luxury, but a necessity for commercial establishments. Whether powering showers in a hotel, cleaning equipment in a restaurant, or sterilising instruments in a hospital, consistent hot water keeps operations running smoothly. Choosing the right hot water system for your business depends on various factors, including hot water demand, budget, available space, and fuel preferences. This is where indirect hot water cylinders, also known as calorifiers, can form a key component of a system.

Unlike directly heated systems using gas or electricity, calorifiers work indirectly. They have a large, insulated tank filled with cold water which incorporates a heat exchanger coil. This coil connects to a separate heat source, such as a boiler, heat pump, or solar thermal system. As hot water circulates through the coil, it transfers heat to the surrounding water in the tank, creating a readily available reservoir of hot water.

By separating the heat source from the water storage, calorifiers can offer higher efficiency compared to direct heating systems. The insulated tank minimises heat loss, so hot water stays hot for longer, reducing the need for frequent reheating.

This makes calorifiers a good choice for a variety of commercial buildings, particularly those with moderate to high hot water demand such as Hotels, restaurants, hospitals, sports facilities, and light manufacturing.

Businesses looking to switch to more sustainable heating sources or wanting backup options can benefit from indirect heating which supports fuel flexibility since you are no longer limited to a single source when specifying a system. Calorifiers can work with various heating systems, including boilers fuelled by electricity, gas, oil, biomass, or renewable sources such as heat pumps and solar thermal. This flexibility allows you to choose the most cost-effective and sustainable option for your needs. This makes them a positive choice when specifying low-carbon water systems that address net zero requirements of new and refurbished buildings.

Indirect water heaters also provide greater versatility when addressing the needs of larger commercial systems or applications that have greater demands for hot water.  Calorifiers come in various sizes, from compact models for smaller businesses to large-capacity tanks for high-demand applications. You can also connect multiple units in parallel to increase your hot water capacity further. Hot water systems based around heat pumps also demand a larger storage capacity to optimise delivery. Depending on the heat source and tank size, refilling the hot water after heavy usage may take some time. For applications requiring consistently high hot water flow, the indirect cylinder should incorporate twin coils allowing for consistent low-level pre-heat and top-up heating to meet demand via the upper coil. This primary top-up heating will typically be provided by a gas or more preferably electric boiler.

Due to the larger tank and additional heat exchanger, calorifiers can have a higher initial upfront cost compared to direct heating systems. However, this separation of heating and storage also greatly simplifies maintenance. The tank itself requires minimal upkeep, and issues with the heating system will not directly affect the stored hot water. With the extremely low-maintenance requirements seen in monobloc heat pumps and solar thermal systems, a low-carbon indirect heating system potentially offers greater value over its operational lifetime compared to direct systems.

Depending on the size and capacity, calorifiers can require dedicated space for installation, which might be a limitation in some buildings. Adveco has been working hard to develop more compact alternatives and the FUSION packaged electric water heating systems are prime examples of indirect systems that offer space-saving, highly-efficient, low-carbon applications based around stainless-steel single and twin-coil cylinders.  

Quality of insulation is also a consideration when using calorifiers as some heat loss from the tank is inevitable, potentially impacting efficiency, especially in larger units. Adveco cylinders employ 100mm insulation and many tanks also incorporate a tough outer jacket to prevent such heat loss.

Adveco stocks the widest range of commercial hot water cylinders in the UK, offering a wealth of capacities and additional features including large flanges higher flow, easier maintenance access, stratification plates for improved efficiency, smart controls for optimised hot water management, and integration with renewables. We are leading experts on this provision of hybrid systems, combining the calorifier with other low-carbon hot water technologies such as electric boilers, heat pumps and solar thermal to provide enhanced versatility, business resiliency and carbon reduction in line with corporate sustainability goals. All are backed by manufacturer-grade warranty and servicing to ensure regular maintenance of the tank and heat source, optimising efficiency, and ensuring long system lifespan for greater return on investment.

Calorifiers present a compelling option for commercial hot water needs, offering efficiency, fuel flexibility, and scalability. However, understanding their limitations and carefully considering your specific requirements is essential before making a decision. By weighing the pros and cons, exploring advanced features, and seeking professional guidance, you can determine if a calorifier is the right fit for your business, paving the way for a reliable and sustainable hot water solution.

Explore Adveco’s range of hot water cylinders for commercial projects