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Why Stainless Steel Cylinders For Commercial Hot Water?

Adveco takes a deep dive into why stainless steel cylinders reign supreme for hot water provision in the demanding and increasingly sustainable commercial built environment.

Cylinders sit at the core of hot water systems which for many commercial establishments – from hotels to high-rise office buildings – provide a business-critical daily service. Cylinders are responsible for the storing and delivery of heated water and there are options when it comes to material choice for these critical components. Stainless steel though is the clear frontrunner for commercial applications. With a lighter weight for the same strength compared to some traditional materials, the use of this alloy can simplify installation and reduce structural load requirements.

Hot water systems operate in a harsh environment. Water, by nature, can be corrosive, especially in areas with softer, high mineral content water. Traditional materials like mild steel or copper, while seemingly cost-effective initially, can succumb to corrosion over time. Rust weakens mild steel, compromising its structural integrity and leading to leaks. Copper, while a good heat conductor, is susceptible to pitting corrosion, creating pinholes that compromise water quality and system efficiency.

The Robust Choice

Stainless steel cylinders, on the other hand, boast exceptional resistance to corrosion. The secret lies in the chromium content. When exposed to air or water, the metal forms a thin, invisible layer of chromium oxide on its surface – a passive film. This film acts as a robust barrier, shielding the underlying metal from further corrosion. This inherent resistance translates to a longer lifespan for the cylinder, minimising replacement costs and downtime associated with failing equipment.

Modern commercial buildings will also utilise unvented hot water systems as these operate at mains pressure, delivering high-powered hot water flow necessary for large-scale applications like showers, laundry, and dishwashing. However, unvented systems necessitate cylinders that can withstand higher pressure. The alloy’s inherent strength makes it the ideal material for unvented cylinders. Unlike traditional materials that may not be able to handle the increased pressures, stainless steel cylinders can be manufactured to withstand significantly higher pressures, ensuring safe and reliable operation for unvented systems.

Unlike some other materials that may harbour bacteria within cracks or crevices, the inherent properties of stainless steel contribute to superior hygiene in the water storage system. The alloy’s smooth, non-porous surface inhibits the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. In commercial settings, hygiene is paramount, making stainless steel cylinders particularly critical for hot water systems used in hospitals, hotels, and food service establishments.

Commercial hot water systems require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and hygienic operation. Fortunately, stainless steel cylinders are relatively low-maintenance. Their smooth surface makes them easy to clean, this can help minimise the risk of scale buildup and sediment accumulation. If scale formation – resulting from high-intensity heating and hard water – is a recurrent problem on-site Adveco recommends indirect stainless steel cylinders and electric boilers. Available as the packaged FUSION system, limescale buildup effectively ceases. Additionally, the corrosion resistance of stainless steel reduces the need for protective coatings, simplifying general maintenance procedures.

Stainless Steel: Versatile & Sustainable

Commercial hot water systems come in a variety of shapes and sizes, catering to diverse needs. Stainless steel offers the versatility needed to create cylinders suitable for various applications. They can be manufactured in different sizes, with varying wall thicknesses to accommodate pressure requirements. Additionally, stainless steel can be seamlessly welded, ensuring leak-proof construction for even large cylinders. The alloy also exhibits good fire resistance, offering an additional layer of resilience for commercial water heating systems.

When a commercial organisation considers how to introduce sustainability in their buildings, the relatively high energy demands of water heating is often identified as a major source of carbon emissions. Addressing water heating is also a relatively easy way to quickly and effectively tackle a building’s carbon footprint. Whilst attention typically focuses on renewable heat sources such as heat pumps or solar thermal, wider consideration needs to be given to other core system elements, especially cylinders. Stainless steel, while not the absolute best conductor of heat, offers a good balance between heat transfer and retention. This property ensures that water within the cylinder stays hot for longer periods, minimising the need for frequent reheating cycles. This translates to lower energy consumption and reduced operational costs, contributing to the energy efficiency of the wider hot water system.

For commercially conscious businesses looking to reduce their environmental footprint, stainless steel cylinders also offer sustainable end-of-life as the material is highly recyclable for use as new products, once again minimising environmental impact.

A Sound Investment for Optimal Performance

When it comes to commercial hot water systems, stainless steel cylinders stand out as the clear choice. Their exceptional corrosion resistance translates to a longer lifespan, lower maintenance requirements, and improved hygiene. Additionally, their ability to handle high pressures and operate at elevated temperatures makes them ideal for unvented systems and demanding applications. Stainless steel also has a sleek, modern appearance, making it a visually appealing choice for exposed locations. The versatility, adaptability, and sustainability profile of stainless steel cylinders further solidify their position as the preferred material for commercial hot water needs. While the initial cost may be higher, the long-term benefits of stainless steel cylinders significantly outweigh the extra investment.

Adveco supplies the widest choice of commercial hot water cylinders in the UK including stainless steel buffers, indirect cylinders and electric water heaters. The FUSION system also leverages ATSx single and twin-coiled cylinders specially adapted to mount an electric boiler for compact, low-carbon water heating.