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Water Heating by Electricity

Nature volume 141, page 1134 (25 June 1938) | Download Citation



AT a meeting of the Association of Supervising Electrical Engineers held in London on April 12, P. Honey discussed the technical aspects of water heating fry electricity. Since two trades were involved, namely, plumbing and wiring, the question of responsibility for satisfactory working has to be considered. The retailer of the appliance has to take upon himself the responsibility of planning the installation and, with the co-operation of a hot-water fitter, make certain that the workmanship is good. The problems of the water authorities are similar, in some respects, to those of supply undertakings. Unlike electric supply they have not the stimulus of competition. As water for domestic purposes is rarely charged for by quantity, the most urgent need is to prevent waste. They have therefore insisted that the fittings and appliances should be in accordance with certain specifications. To eliminate 'peak' demands which would cause serious drop in water pressure, the use of feed cisterns is insisted on by many authorities to ensure a more even demand. The amount of storage water held in this way in the houses of consumers is a considerable fraction of the total stored by the authorities. Regulations, therefore, were issued which restricted the connexion of electric water heaters of the thermal storage type direct to the cold water main. For example, in London, no heater larger than three gallons must be connected in such a manner. Those of larger size must be fed from an adequate storage system. No water authority in Great Britain would permit the connexion of a pressure water heater direct to the cold mains in the way frequently done abroad. The cost of servicing electric water heaters of all kinds is not a serious item. The majority of the few electrical defects which occur are probably due to the thermostat and are not serious.

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