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Choosing the right copper cylinder can save you a lot of money on your energy bills.

However, if you are not an expert, you may find choosing the right one is determined by the initial cost rather than anything else.

But there are some questions you should ask before investing in a copper cylinder.

What are the advantages of copper?
Copper is used in hot water tanks because of its excellent heat transference, bacteria fighting ability and flexibility.

As copper is more flexible than steel and other materials, more of the coil can fit into the water, so less energy is needed to transfer heat.

What about alternative materials?
You can choose a water cylinder that uses steel.

However, steel requires more energy to heat than copper, is less flexible and does not have the same ability to kill germs.

What is included in the price?
When buying a copper cylinder, it makes sense to check what fittings are included as standard, as otherwise you could face additional costs in the long term.

The cylinder should have pre-plumbed relief valves and compression connections as standard, which helps minimise installation times and reduce the risk of leaks. Some cheaper cylinders may only have the bare minimum fittings as standard.

You should also make sure your cylinder is backed up with a 25 year guarantee. This will save you money in the long run, as any repairs will be covered by the guarantee.

A shorter guarantee may mean you will have to pay out to have the cylinder repaired.

Where was it made?
You should look for copper cylinders built in the UK. Not only does this mean you will be supporting local business, it ensures your cylinder was built to meet the highest standards of quality and safety.

Buying from a UK manufacturer also cuts down on the distance your cylinder has traveled, which will help the environment.

What is the bar relief?
You should look for a cylinder that provides at least level 5 bar relief. This will provide protection against damage to pipes.

Do I need a pump?
Depending on the layout of your home and the placement of the cylinder, you may need a pump to work with the copper cylinder.

You should check with the experts whether you need a pump system of not, as failing to install one could dramatically affect water pressure you will receive at the taps.

Will it work with renewables?
Many people are now installing miniature wind turbines or solar panels to create energy. And most copper cylinders can be adapted to work with renewable energy sources.

However, if you are planning to install solar panels, the tank may require a source of supplementary energy, so be sure to ask if this is required.

Once you have had these questions answered, and found the right copper cylinder for you and your home, you can begin to enjoy efficient, low cost hot water throughout the home.

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