Electric Immersion Heater
Conventional water heaters work on the principle of heating water in a boiler and then storing it in a hot water tank. This method is now becoming obsolete as it is proving to be less efficient, rather expensive. Because water is consumed upon usage and all the water in the hot water tank is not used up at once. As it stays there, it turns cold over a period of time. Therefore, there is no point boiling and filling an entire tank with hot water and not using it immediately.
An alternative to this heating system is a combi boiler. The word combi is short for combination. These boilers heat water upon requirement and are designed in such a way that they maximize the amount of energy that is required for heating water. Heating and storing water more than the requirement is not needed.
The main advantage of a conventional boiler is that it provides hot water even in the case of a boiler break down as it has hot water stored in a tank. However, in the combi boilers, if the boiler breaks down, hot water is not available. With the addition of an immersion heater in a hot water tank, hot water can still be used if the boiler stops functioning.
Immersion heaters are placed on top of the hot water tank. It functions like a large electric kettle and has nothing to do with the boiler. Even if the boiler is barely functioning the immersion heater can be powered on and enough water would be available for consumption. As ideal as it sounds, the immersion heater is almost four times more expensive than a gas heating system. Hence they are great for an emergency situation but are not best for everyday use.
Immersion heaters take water directly from the water tank. It consists of a metal tube that contains a temperature sensor. It operates by passing a strong electric current through the metal tube which as a result heats the water around it. A thermostat is present which helps regulate the temperature of water in the tank. If it drops to a lower point the thermostat brings it back to the required level.
Immersion heaters are one of the two most expensive household electric products, the other being electric showers. It is usually observed that immersion heaters are unnecessarily running in houses and consuming a large amount of electricity. And it would save you a generous amount of electricity bill if it is powered on only when needed.
Most of the time the immersion heater has a power switch close to it which makes it easy to turn off. If the switch is not there then it could be getting a power supply directly from the fuse box. In the fuse box, a circuit breaker labeled as “immersion” can be powered off to shut down the immersion heater.
Immersion heaters can prove to be a great backup source. However, it is recommended to use boilers for water heating purposes as much as possible especially for domestic use and immersion heaters to be kept as an emergency backup only.
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