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Old 07.05.2015, 14:16
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What size water boiler

Hi All,

As it's the tenth anniversary of EF, I think this should be a great example of the community at work helping each other (I hope!!).

Our water boiler has got water dripping out the bottom of it, which is not really a good sign. I've seen Mr Plumber and he confirms new boiler. I can get 200, 300 or 400 litres. There is no water based radiators in the house its all electric so this is just for heating the water for hot water taps, baths etc.

We have a 200l at the moment, which was there when we bought it. We are a family of 5 but the kids currently are very young, 1, 3 and 4. There's debate here at work as to whether a 300 or a 400 is the one to go for. 400 isn't going to run out of course but its more expensive to heat, so although the upfront isnt much more (800) the end cost could be significant.

Can anyone provide any examples here if they have a family of X and a boiler size of Y how they get on ?

thanks all
Mike
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Old 07.05.2015, 14:33
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Re: What size water boiler

I can't give you any concrete examples but I will say as the parent of a teenager that once you've got three teenagers all having (minimum) 20 minute showers every day you'll probably need every drop of those 400 litres.

Actually no come to think of it I can give you and example. We had all the kids here for Christmas a couple of years ago and with 6 adults plus a teenager and a six year old in the house the 300 l tank was not enough. We frequently ran out of hot water in the evenings as the water was heated at cheap rate overnight and we never overrode that to allow it to heat up during the day.
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Old 07.05.2015, 14:38
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Re: What size water boiler

500 litres for a family of 5. We haven't run out of hot water yet. Combination Solar/Electric boiler.
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Old 07.05.2015, 14:39
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Re: What size water boiler

Is the 400 actually more expensive to heat excluding the obvious 33% initial heat-up cost?

I'd be surprised if the cost-per-litre is much different, the larger tank should be equally well (or better) insulated and less heating cycles slightly helps the efficiency, offsetting the extra heat loss if you don't use the water.

That said, we have a 200 and aren't shy about using water in a family of four with no problems, so 400 sounds pretty big. And a modern boiler heats up so quickly I can't really imagine running out with a 300 unless you run a bath and then take two simultaneous showers.

After that running out may be a useful cost-limiting feature!
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Old 07.05.2015, 14:41
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Re: What size water boiler

We've got a 300L tank and when it's just the two of us it is more than enough. However when we have guests we have to stagger showers and let the tank recover in between. It won't do for 4 adults to shower in the same morning. But staggering works so I'd say since the kiddos are young you can probably get away with 300, and teach them now how not to shower for half an hour (good luck!)
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Old 07.05.2015, 14:55
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Re: What size water boiler

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We've got a 300L tank and when it's just the two of us it is more than enough. However when we have guests we have to stagger showers and let the tank recover in between. It won't do for 4 adults to shower in the same morning. But staggering works so I'd say since the kiddos are young you can probably get away with 300, and teach them now how not to shower for half an hour (good luck!)
You must take really long showers. Our 300 l tank was fine for 8 showers every morning and it was only much later in the day when it started to run out ( if we'd done extra washing up and stuff).

As I said in my post above it depends on what system you use for heating the water. If you have a tank only heating at night on cheaper rate electricity then you may run out eventually but if the boiler heats the water continuously throughout the day then there won't be an issue at all.

Last edited by Belgianmum; 07.05.2015 at 16:25.
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Old 07.05.2015, 14:57
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Re: What size water boiler

The answer is clear - one 50 litre tank each

With a coin slot for when the kids start earning
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Old 07.05.2015, 15:52
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Re: What size water boiler

We have a 250l tank. It's entirely sufficient for the five adults, as our boiler is very fast and efficient.
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Old 07.05.2015, 15:56
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Re: What size water boiler

300l will be plenty, kids will soon learn that cold showers not nice
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Old 07.05.2015, 16:24
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Re: What size water boiler

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300l will be plenty, kids will soon learn that cold showers not nice
Just make sure the kids go last in the shower.
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Old 07.05.2015, 22:15
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Re: What size water boiler

We were looking at a new system a while ago (not yet purchased) and I was not paying 100% attention but in addition to the question of litres was the system/number of heater tubes within the boiler. This seems to be more important than the number of litres when it comes to having hot water for X people.

I would ask the plumber a couple of questions in this direction.

EDIT: I would add that the current one (unless it has been cleaned) would be full of "calc" so the efficiency of the heating coil (covered in calc) would be < 50%. This factors into the question of how many people can take a shower. Living in CH you need to have a model that can be cleaned mechanically (the coil) and not chemically which is messy and expensive (or put in a water softener).
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Last edited by Verbier; 07.05.2015 at 22:19. Reason: added some info
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Old 07.05.2015, 22:23
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Re: What size water boiler

Our 300l tank is definitely NOT big enough for us (two adults and three teenagers most of the time). Runs out frequently.
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