Flexible, future-proof and easy to fit: A thermal battery is the ideal hot water cylinder replacement

Hot water accounts for 17% of the average household’s energy consumption. With consumers increasingly considering energy bills and sustainability when making home improvements, energy efficient hot water solutions are an attractive option.

Nearly 9 million homes in England alone use a hot water cylinder to provide hot water. However, the majority of homes – 80% of households in the UK – have a combi boiler which provides both space heating and hot water, negating the need for an additional hot water tank.

But the tide is changing, and the hot water cylinder market is likely to grow as heat pump installation expands. The UK Government aims to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028, in a move to reduce gas boiler uptake and reliance on fossil fuels. Gas boiler installations in new homes will be banned from 2025 and gas boilers will be phased out of all homes from 2035.

The need for a heat pump compatible hot water cylinder replacement

Heat pumps are a low carbon alternative to gas boilers, using electricity to capture heat from the outside and move it into the home to provide space heating. Although heat pumps are highly efficient for space heating, they aren’t designed to supply high flow rate hot water for baths and showers. Usually a hot water cylinder is required to meet this need, meaning that as heat pump installations grow, so too will the market for hot water cylinders.

However, hot water cylinders aren’t suitable for all homes. They take up a lot of space compared to a combi boiler – meaning a heat pump can be a harder sell, if it also means giving up valuable storage space.

One alternative hot water cylinder replacement is a Sunamp Thermino thermal battery. These systems are up to four times smaller than the equivalent hot water cylinder and are compatible with a range of energy sources, including heat pumps, allowing householders to store the energy captured by the heat pump and use it as needed for high flow rate hot water.

Thermal batteries allow all households to benefit from heat pumps, whether there’s room for a hot water cylinder or not. This complementary technology represents a big opportunity for installers to capitalise on the growing demand for heat pumps.

Make the most of the growing heat pump market

Although heat pump uptake has been slower than some policymakers would like, the UK market grew by about 40% in 2022. According to estimates from Nesta, there are only 3,000 trained heat pump engineers in the UK, but at least 27,000 will be needed in the next six years to meet installation targets.

The opportunities generated by heat pump installations haven’t gone unnoticed within the industry either, as 72% of plumbing and heating engineers believe they will expand into renewables installations within the next three years. However, there are some barriers to retraining as a heat pump engineer, including the costs of training and becoming certified under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme.

For plumbers and heating engineers who aren’t trained to fit heat pumps, beginning to install Thermino batteries is a great way to capitalise on the growing demand for heat pumps by supplying the best compatible hot water solution. And for established heat pump installers, easy to fit thermal storage is a fantastic upselling opportunity with a number of clear benefits for customers.

The differences between a heat battery and hot water cylinder

Thermal batteries have many advantages over a hot water cylinder, whether paired with a heat pump or not.

Firstly, their small size means installation is possible where there isn’t enough space for a hot water cylinder. Sunamp Thermino batteries contain a phase change material which is much more efficient at storing energy than water, meaning the systems are up to four times smaller than the equivalent hot water cylinder.

This makes the Thermino ideal for a number of situations, from busy family homes where storage is an issue, to social housing where lack of space can make it more challenging to make the improvements needed to meet energy efficiency targets.

Thermal batteries are also highly insulated, which is ideal for keeping the heat in. Compared with current hot water cylinders, Thermino batteries have around 50% lower heat loss, which leads to lower carbon emissions and energy costs as less heat is wasted.

As carbon reduction targets make it necessary to improve energy efficiency in UK homes, a heat battery is a great choice for future-proofing hot water. Thermino systems work with a range of energy sources, including grid electricity, heat pumps and solar PV, meaning householders can set their hot water system up for any future changes to their home’s energy mix.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, thermal batteries provide the reliable, on-demand high flow rate hot water which customers expect in their homes.

Why thermal batteries are a great choice for installers

The benefits of a heat battery over a hot water cylinder are clear for customers, but there are advantages for installers too. Thermino batteries are easy to install, with flexible pipework which can come from the top or either side of the unit, meaning it’s easy to cut into any existing pipework and reconnect.

The cuboid shape means a Thermino thermal battery is flexible to fit in different spaces. There’s a good range of sizes too, from the equivalent of a 70l hot water cylinder right up to a 300l model. Installation takes less time than a hot water cylinder, meaning installers can maximise the amount of jobs done in a day.

There’s no routine maintenance or need for Legionella testing, and Sunamp offers a ten-year warranty on the heating element, making this a ‘fit and forget’ technology.

If pairing with a heat pump, an all-inclusive package can be purchased from Trianco. This includes a Trianco ActivAir heat pump, Sunamp Thermino battery, and everything else needed for a successful install, all delivered on one pallet to avoid the need for multiple deliveries.

Installers don’t need any mandatory qualifications or certifications to fit Sunamp products, unlike renewables systems, but can benefit from free training to become a Sunamp approved installer. With 25,000 units installed worldwide, this is a great opportunity for installers to upskill and take advantage of the move to low carbon heating and hot water.

Want to know more?

Visit Sunamp’s dedicated information hub for installers to see resources and find out about training opportunities.

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