What are secondary hot water systems?

Tue 17th Jun 2014 - 7:45pm DIY Troubleshooting What are secondary hot water systems?

Benjamin Clarke

This article will look at secondary return systems on hot water tanks. They are actually really simple to install if you are currently doing some renovation work on your house, but it’s not such a pleasant task if your house is finished or newly refurbished and decorated.

The main component in these types of systems is the secondary return pump, which pumps water up into the hot water tank. The hot water is pushed up out of the outlet on top of the water tank and is distributed to all of the taps.

The difference between this pump and the pump on a normal heating system is the material it’s made of. Because the secondary return pump is pumping fresh water all the time, the impellers in the pumping area are made of brass, which is resistant to corrosion.

Most normal hot water systems in a house will have a hot water tank with the hot water coming out of the top, going off to a tap above a sink. A major issue with this type of system, however, is the problems of taps that are a long way away from the boiler. It can often result in having to run a tap for a long time before any water comes through, which can be very frustrating.

The secondary returns system combats this issue by installing the brass pump and creating a fresh hot water circuit. This means that a tap at the extremity of the system can be switched on and the wait for hot water will be a lot less. The water is pumped round the system, passing the taps, then back into an inlet close to the top of the tank for the process to start again. Hot water is constantly flowing around the system and constantly serving any taps or showers located around the house.

A final important note about having a system like this is to ensure that it is well insulated. Poor insulation will lead to a lot of heat escaping, making your heating system work harder to try and make up for the lost heat, ultimately leading to higher heating bills.

Article by Benjamin Clarke

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