Most homes have a hot water cylinder to help meet their hot water needs, providing a source of hot water for multiple outlets while they’re in use in synchronisation.
If you have a larger property and struggle to meet the demands of your occupants in terms of their hot water use and commonly coming to the shower at night to find the water is cold, then a hot water tank could be the answer to your issues.
In this article we’ll be covering:
- How much it costs to replace a hot water cylinder
- What affects the cost of replacing a hot water cylinder
- How to save money on a new hot water cylinder
- What’s involved in replacing a hot water cylinder
- How to find and hire a professional
Whether you need a replacement hot water cylinder or you’re just cluing up in the event that does happen, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the replacement and the most cost-effective way to get the job done.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Hot Water Cylinder?
There are two various types of hot water cylinders installed in homes across the UK. They operate to provide hot water to your home with slight differences.
The prices for replacing a hot water cylinder will depend on each type as there are different system designs available.
|CYLINDER TYPE||ESTIMATED SUPPLY COST||LABOUR COSTS||TIME REQUIRED|
|Vented (direct)||£200 to £400 each||£30 to £80 per hour||3 to 4 hours|
|Vented (indirect)||£210 to £450 each||£30 to £80 per hour||3 to 4 hours|
|Unvented (copper)||£200 to £550 each||£30 to £60 per hour||3 to 4 hours|
|Unvented (stainless steel)||£200 to £2,000 each||£30 to £60 per hour||3 to 4 hours|
For a vented (direct) cylinder, you can expect to be charged between £200 to £400 for the supply cost, while a vented (indirect) cylinder will come in at between £210 to £450 each.
Vented hot water cylinders are typically cheaper to buy and install, and give a consistent level of water pressure. They do, however, need an additional water tank elsewhere in the property, so adequate space is required for them to be operational which can be a drawback for some.
If we look at an unvented (copper) cylinder, you can expect between £200 and £550 for the supply cost, and an unvented (stainless steel) cylinder can set you back between £200 to £2,000 each.
Unvented cylinders are great for those with space restrictions, as they can be installed in your roof or loft space. They are also good for the environment, as well as being energy-efficient.
It’s good to remember that there will always be labour charges on top of the base product price which will need to be factored into your budget, also.
Heating engineers can charge anywhere between £30 to £60 per hour, while plumbers will likely charge between £40 to £80 per hour depending on your location – with prices being higher in the capitals like London to meet demand.
To replace a hot water cylinder, you can expect your workers to need between three to four hours, which will typically add a few hundred pounds onto your job bill.
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What Affects the Cost of Replacing a Hot Water Cylinder?
There are a few aspects that can affect the cost of replacing hot water cylinders and, as we can see from the table above, simply changing the material type has a great impact. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at what affects the cost of replacing a hot water cylinder so you’ve got an idea of what to keep an eye on when creating a budget.
Whether You Need a Vented or Unvented Hot Water Cylinder
To get started, there are two types of hot water cylinders: vented and unvented.
The main difference is that with an unvented system, there is no water storage tank or vent pipes, but instead, an expansion vessel is connected to the top of the cylinder to take the water directly from the mains supply.
The purpose of the expansion vessel is to accommodate expanding water coming from the cylinder. The following safety devices are necessary for unvented cylinders:
- Primary and secondary thermostats. The main thermostat maintains the temperature of the water below 65 degrees while the secondary switches off the heater or cuts off the water supply if the temperature exceeds 90 degrees Celsius.
An unvented hot water cylinder connects to the mains cold water rising mains and supplies hot water at mains pressure. Similar heating methods to the vented cylinder also apply to this type of cylinder. Indirect heating, however, is not possible if you use a solid-fuel boiler to produce your hot water.
A vented hot water cylinder system has a cold water tank that feeds cold water to the cylinder. This is typically found in an airing cupboard. Heated water rises to the top and feeds the heating system.
A vent pipe acts as an outlet for air bubbles, and steam should the cylinder overheat and also keeps the cylinder pressure at atmospheric pressure. The two different ways of heating water with vented hot water systems are:
- Direct heating – immersion heaters are fitted in the cylinder, and they solely provide the hot water, alternatively, a gas boiler is connected and this is what provides the hot water. Commonly a boiler-heated cylinder has immersion heaters to provide redundancy.
- Indirect heating – the water is heated in the cylinder, with an immersion heater provided so that the boiler can be switched off when needed and the cylinder will then provide the hot water.
The Cylinder Capacity
As with most items in the home, the bigger it is, the more money it will cost. The same is true for hot water cylinders and in particular their capacity.
You should work out what size you need based on the number of occupants in your home, roughly allowing 35 to 45 litres for every occupant, according to HotWater.org.
The Cylinder Material
As we have seen from the table above, the material you select for your hot water cylinder will greatly affect the price you’ll pay for your replacement.
Copper is an incredibly efficient conductor of heat, making it a great option for your cylinder, while stainless steel is another favourite owing to its resistance to corrosion which has the potential to make it a far longer-lasting investment.
The Cylinder Accessories
As we’ve covered above, some types of hot water cylinders will benefit from accessories from expansion vessel kits to shock arrestors. Depending on the type of hot water cylinder you settle on, there will be necessary add-ons, and your installer will be able to advise you on these.
Whether You Have an Existing Hot Water Cylinder
Similar to needing to move your hot water cylinder, whether you have an existing cylinder will come into play and have an impact on the price you pay for your replacement – or in this case, your brand new hot water cylinder.
A like-for-like replacement is by far the best way of keeping your costs down, but it’s good to be mindful that if you don’t already have one, you will be paying more for the installation than a plug-and-play replacement.
Whether You Want to Move Your Hot Water Cylinder
Much like wanting to move a radiator or other existing appliance in your home, there is going to be an additional cost incurred by moving it from an existing position to somewhere brand new.
In most instances, it’s best to try to keep the cylinder in the same position to save the need for new pipework, but if you’re undergoing a full renovation and are repositioning items within your home, it may be a non-negotiable – meaning you’ll have to be prepared to accept that cost.
Frustratingly, the one thing you have no power over when it comes to changing your hot water cylinder is your geographical location. If you’re situated in the city, you’re likely to pay more than those in more rural locales.
How Can I Save Money on a New Hot Water Cylinder?
Comparing quotes is a great way to potentially reduce the cost of your heating project. HouseholdQuotes can help you get quotes from multiple plumbers near you, so that you can find someone that suits your budget.
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While there are plenty of ways your hot water cylinder can cost you more than expected, there are a good few ways of bringing the cost down, too.
As we’ve covered already, there are efficient materials to choose from when picking your hot water cylinder.
Although stainless steel is more expensive than copper, it will serve you longer as it has corrosion-preventing properties that will make maintenance easier. However, copper is incredibly heat-conducting so if you do opt for that material, you certainly won’t be missing out.
We have mentioned how moving the position of your hot water cylinder will incur higher installation fees – so understandably, our advice to keep it in the same position where possible will stand true to save you money if that’s an option for you.
Slotting in a newer model of the same type of hot water cylinder will be easier than changing the system from vented to unvented, for example. It’s all down to you and what you need and what’s best for your property, but be mindful that with many changes come higher prices to pay.
How Do I Know If Replacing My Hot Water Cylinder Is Right For Me?
Replacing your hot water cylinder can be time-consuming and expensive, so it’s best to know for sure if you need the job done before you enlist a professional to help you. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of just that.
|New hot water cylinders are typically more efficient than older models, saving you money in the longrun||Can cause a lot of disruption and mess in your home|
|Improved controls, making it easier to set your schedule||Costs a lot more to replace than it does to repair|
|Helps to stop rust, leaks and other problems assosicated with older models||Replacement might not always be necessary if you can have a repair completed instead, saving you time and money|
The main advantages are fairly simple – a new hot water cylinder will improve your energy efficiency, reduce any cold water issues and leaks from your old system, and generally give your home a better experience. While new hot water cylinders can be tempting if you have issues with your old model, it’s a good idea to check if a simple repair or maintenance check can help in the first instance to reduce your overall costs and upheaval.
Newer models will likely have better controls compared to your old model, which can help you to navigate your system and set routines that make sense for your household. They can also help to prevent the build-up of rust due to the improved parts.
It’s always good to carry out regular servicing and maintenance on your appliance to ensure you get the best lifespan out of your equipment before choosing to have it replaced.
What’s Involved in Replacing a Hot Water Cylinder?
Hot water cylinders are durable and will only need to be replaced if they leak, or if you are upgrading to a bigger one. Replacing a hot water cylinder is easy for an experienced professional – however, for a DIYer, it can be a lot more complicated than it may initially seem – if you think more work may be necessary than you are comfortable with, then you should seek the services of a competent plumber.
A plumber will usually quote a day rate for this sort of job. A straightforward cylinder swap should be completed within one day. The price we’ve quoted below includes labour and secondary materials such as washers, fittings and PTFE tape – also included is the cost of scrapping the old tank and any waste created during the job.
Standard copper water cylinders are available for around £200 and a thermostat for the cylinder costs under £20.
For the total job excluding the tank, you should expect your plumber to charge you around £250. If you prefer to let the plumber get on with providing everything they will need for the job then expect a quote of between £500 and £600 for the complete job.
It is possible to upgrade your hot water cylinder from a vented to a vented system, and a plumber should detail the work involved. For stainless steel, unvented, insulated and pressurised cylinder it will take two plumbers a day to complete the installation.
You should expect to pay around £450 for labour, fittings and sundries excluding the cylinder.
How Do I Find and Hire a Professional?
Finding the right plumber can be challenging. At HouseholdQuotes, we can connect you to plumbers in your area.
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Replacing hot water cylinders may have disastrous consequences if not carried out professionally. Getting quotes from reputable tradesmen is vital if you are to prevent problems further down the line and give you peace of mind as soon as it’s been fitted.
The best port of call is with friends, family and neighbours to find out if they’ve had similar work done recently and if they’d recommend their tradesman. This will save you hours of searching online and give you someone pre-vetted which is invaluable.
If this isn’t possible, you can also check the Gas Safe Register to enable you to find registered tradesmen capable of undertaking the job.
Ensuring the Professional Is the Right Fit
You must ask for a written quote from your traders to make sure you know exactly what you are committing to and what is included in your fee to make sure nothing is forgotten or missed during the work.
Much like a job interview, it’s good practice to seek out a trader’s experience and see their references to understand how they work from a customer’s point of view. Further to this, you must make sure they have the necessary insurance to cover themselves and you in the event of an issue during installation or after.
You should also check if there’s a manufacturer’s guarantee which will help to save you money on maintenance if anything does go wrong with your appliance further down the line.
If you think you need to replace your hot water cylinder, doing so could bring you far more efficiently heated hot water and a supply that doesn’t abruptly run out.
Here are the main things you need to remember when taking out the job decide whether a like-for-like swap is possible:
- Choose which material is best for you (such as stainless steel or copper)
- Ensure the capacity is correct for the number of people in your household
- Make sure to get a written quote and check for insurance and manufacturer warranties.
Use HouseholdQuotes to find local plumbers and potentially save money on your hot water cylinder replacement project.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Needs a Hot Water Cylinder?
Hot water cylinders will alleviate some of the strain on your household plumbing if you have a large property with increased demand for hot water from multiple outlets at once.
They can be great solutions for sending water to the places you need it at most, whereas combi boilers may be a better fit for smaller properties with a reduced amount of demand. If you’re in a property and struggle to have enough hot water for the number of occupants, then a hot water cylinder may be the answer to your troubles.
What Type of Hot Water Cylinder Do I Need?
There are a few questions that come into play when deciding which hot water cylinder is right for you. They consider energy efficiency, the size of your household and hot water usage, running costs and the initial set up and installation fees.
There are pros and cons to each cylinder, and the choice is largely down to preference, although it is more cost-effective to change your old hot water cylinder for a like-for-like newer model to save any additional work needing to be done.
Should a Heating Engineer or Plumber Replace a Hot Water Cylinder?
It’s important to note that only heating engineers can replace unvented cylinders. A plumber can work on your heating system, but cannot touch the boiler or gas pipe.
Defending on whether or not your hot water cylinder is linked with your boiler will distinguish who you need to work on it. If in doubt, ask a professional and they’ll be able to give you the answer you need.
How Often Should I Replace My Hot Water Cylinder?
Vaillant says that if taken good care of, your hot water cylinder should last for ‘between eight to twelve years’.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace an Immersion Heater?
Depending on the type of immersion heater you have, the cost to replace it will differ – as well as if you’re having one newly installed. For all the information you need on immersion heaters, see our dedicated page here.
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