Thermal stores from companies such as Gledhill have been around for decades, and with the growing popularity of renewable energy, there has never been a better time to invest in a one.
A thermal store is a vessel for storing and managing heat until it is needed. It differs from a conventional hot water cylinder as the stored water is not fed to the taps directly from the thermal store. Instead, it is heated up by passing through a plate heat exchanger that transfers heat from the thermal store water to the domestic water. Heat exchangers, especially flat-plate heat exchangers, have the ability to transfer a lot of heat in a short time.
Thermal stores can use multiple heat sources to heat the water. A popular option is solar and using a high-efficiency solar coil, the homeowner can benefit from natural solar energy produced during the day. Once the solar energy available is insufficient to heat the store, it will revert to a conventional boiler as its primary heat source.
If the property has a wood burner, which is generally lit in the evening, this can also be connected to the system which will boost the temperature of the water in the thermal store generated by the solar energy during the day.
The combination of a wood burner and solar for heating can significantly reduce your reliance on mains electricity while also reducing your overhaul carbon footprint and providing considerable cost savings in the long term.
For users that have a property off the grid then a thermal store is perfect, if not essential, allowing you to limit your reliance on oil or LPG.
It is worth noting that with multiple heat sources when ordering a thermal store, you need to plan in advance. So if you think you may want to use solar a few years down the line, you should get a thermal store that is compatible with the start.
Gledhill has a wide range of thermal stores, each with its own specific features. For example, the PulsaCoil ECO Stainless is designed to utilise off-peak electric, specifically designed for use in apartments. The Torrent Stainless OV SOL utilises a high-efficiency solar coil to allow the homeowner to benefit from natural solar energy as well as a wide variety of alternative energy inputs.
Thermal stores are extremely low maintenance and safe. There is no standing water there is no risk of Legionella or contamination. Installers do not need to have a G3 qualification to install a thermal store, and the installation is far easier and more flexible, this should, in theory, make the cost of installation lower than a pressurised system.
Furthermore, due to the nature of thermal stores, they are very few mechanical components, and as it is not a pressurised system, there is no requirement for annual maintenance. However, as with most things, regular maintenance and health checks can help prolong the life of a heat store and the Gledhill Response are the official company for repairing and maintaining Gledhill products.