If you have a renewable energy source, you need a buffer tank to make it function with efficiency. Regardless of whether you’re using heat pumps, solar hot water, or a wood-powered boiler, a good buffer tank will help reduce your carbon footprint. Dependable buffer vessel manufacturers recommend that you install one even if your heating unit does not need it specifically because it is beneficial in the long run.
Just a word of warning: buffer tanks can be expensive. This is primarily because of their intricate components and the way the system operates. A buffer tank stores heat and serves as a capacitor or battery for your heating system. When your boiler is warming up, it balances the burst of heat, which prevents overheating.
How a Buffer Vessel Works
As already mentioned, a buffer tank serves as an energy storage mechanism. When the boiler fires up to temperature, the buffer releases hot water into the heating system. Here are the steps involved in this process:
1. The boiler fires up and increases in temperature. When the thermostat senses an increase in heat, it will start filling the buffer vessel with water but prevents it from circulating by controlling the pump. This is to prevent condensation from forming in the boiler and the heat from dissipating in the thermal storage.
2. When there is a demand for heat, the thermostat and timer start while the boiler is on. In this way, the thermal storage will be bypassed if the boiler reaches the right temperature right away.
3. When the thermostat and timer kick in but the boiler is not at its right temperature, the buffer tank releases hot water into the heating system to provide heat while the boiler still firing up.
How to Choose the Right Buffer Tank
There is some boiler system that doesn’t require a buffer vessel, but there are others that do. Still, even if your system does not need a buffer tank, it’s still advantageous to install one because it helps in energy efficiency. How do you know if you need one for your heating system?
If your heating system does not have enough water to absorb the extra heat when the heater fires up, a buffer tank is needed. In other words, if the boiler output is greater than the system load, a buffer vessel is needed. It can store the extra heat and serve other smaller heating purposes without involving the boiler.
So how do you choose the right buffer tank when you need one? There are a lot of factors that you need to consider when choosing the right size for your buffer tank. First, you need to know the minimum run time for your boiler. For a typical boiler, the run time is usually 10 minutes. You also need to consider the minimum output of your boiler and the minimum load that you put into your system. This can be a lot of information to process. You’d better consult a local professional installer so that you won’t make a wrong decision.