Hot water is something we take for granted in modern life. We use it every day in our personal and work lives for a massive range of things, from hot drinks to washing. It’s so important that it makes sense for you to be able to access it as easily as possible, which is why instant water heaters are becoming increasingly popular!
However, there is a massive variety of instant water heaters, from catering urns to tankless boilers to autofill boilers. If you’re unclear on what the differences between them all are, read on – our buyer’s guide to water heaters will give you all the information you need.
Why Might I Need a Water Heater?
As we mentioned above, you’ll always need hot water. However, if you work in a busy office or attend a large community group, it might not be easy to instantly have access to it whenever you want it. Without a water heater, you’ll have to boil and re-boil the kettle every time someone wants to make a drink – and depending on the type of business you run, this could be very often. This is very time-consuming and is a particularly troublesome problem for employers who can’t afford for their staff to be hovering around the kitchen area waiting for the kettle to boil. It’s also really inefficient, causing your electricity bills to go through the roof.
This problem is made even worse in sheds, garages, and other outbuildings which might not be plumbed into your hot water supply. Getting a boiler fitted in these places can be extremely expensive, which is why instant water heaters have become an incredibly popular alternative. However, there are many different varieties of water heater, so which one is best for you depends entirely on your requirements.
Catering urns are simply essential for any workplace or community group. They provide instant near-boiling water for cups of tea, coffee, soups, and more, without the hassle of waiting for the kettle to boil. Also known as tea urns, they keep large quantities of water at near-boiling temperatures (although some more advanced models can be accurately set to any temperature you like for making mulled wine and so on) and only use energy to reheat the water when the temperature drops.
It’s a tried-and-true design perfected over decades, and catering urns are now a staple in offices, churches, community groups, garages, sales offices, catering vans, and more. The capacity of your urn should be decided by how often you expect it to be used. Generally, you should expect every 1L in your urn to make 4 regular-sized cups of tea or coffee, so bear this in mind when you’re browsing. You don’t want to be constantly refilling your urn, but you don’t want one that’s unnecessarily large, either.
Catering urns aren’t just for use in professional environments, though – our range also includes small, portable models which are perfect for taking away on camping trips! These lightweight versions work in exactly the same way as their larger cousins, but on a smaller scale. If you’re looking for a cost-effective and reliable way to get instant hot water in the great outdoors, a small tea urn should be the first thing on your list.
Why Every Office Should Have a Catering Urn
Forget petrol and diesel - tea and coffee are the things that keep the country running every day! Every day, people across the UK drink 165 million cups of tea and 70 million cups of coffee, and a lot of that number is consumed at work. It's considered socially acceptable for businesses to provide adequate refreshments for their staff - the bare minimum you're legally required to provide is clean drinking water, but you should also provide them with convenient access to hot drinks, too. Not doing so can have a serious impact on staff morale and motivation! A catering urn offers you the quickest and most convenient way to provide refreshments to your staff - it allows them to make their own hot drinks without any hanging around, meaning your employees can easily take a quick refreshment break without harming their productivity.
Autofill boilers are almost identical to catering urns apart from in one key area: they’re plumbed in. This means you never have to worry about filling your boiler after the lunchtime drinks rush as the unit will continually fill itself for as long as it’s powered on.
If you don’t mind having the unit plumbed in and you know you’ll only ever be serving hot drinks in one area of your building, an autofill boiler may be a better option for you. As a result, autofill boilers are more common in kitchens and other areas where staff need a constant supply of hot water without having to refill and reheat their water boiler.
Over and Under-Sink Water Heaters
If you know you always need a constant supply of boiling water from a particular sink – perhaps the office kitchen sink, or a lab, for example – you may prefer an instant water heater that’s directly connected to your taps. Over and under-sink water heaters require some simple plumbing in, but once they’re set up, you never have to worry about refilling them and you’ll always have access to boiling water at the push of a button. This type of water heater is commonly used in sheds and garages or in remote outdoor areas where there is some plumbing but no access to hot water.
Functionally, under and over-sink water heaters are largely the same, with the only difference being where they’re situated. For most people, the option they choose depends on where their water pipes are, as the water heater screws into their existing pipework above or below their taps.
Under and over-sink water heaters come in two main types; regular water boilers and tankless boilers. The regular models work just like normal boilers – they fill themselves with cold water and quickly heat it up to a near-boiling temperature. When you turn the tap on, it runs this hot water out from its tank. They’re much more affordable than regular boilers and, provided you don’t need large quantities of it constantly, should be able to provide you with instant hot water whenever you need it.
Tankless boilers work slightly differently – as their name suggests, they don’t have a tank! Instead, they rapidly heat up cold water as it flows through your water pipes into the heater unit above or below your sinks. By the time this water flows out of your tap, it’ll be piping hot! This is an ultra-economical method of boiling water as it only ever heats up precisely as much hot water as you need – when you turn the tap off, the heating stops. They’re also great for places where space is at a premium as they don’t have a tank to store water in.