Copper Facts

Copper Hot Water Cylinders – Copper’s Natural Super Powers Make it The Perfect Solution

The hot water cylinder is a key feature in determining the energy efficiency of a building and it is vital that you consider the importance of your material choice and the impact it has on the solution’s lifetime costs. We believe Copper’s natural super powers make it the right choice for your project.

Copper’s superior heat transfer properties means it takes less time to heat water 

  • Copper’s thermal conductivity is almost 30 times greater than that of other materials
  • As Copper is a flexible material, you can squeeze more Copper coil into a cylinder, further improving heat recovery times
  • Copper coils can also be supplied with a finned profile to enhance heat recovery times

Copper cylinders are more efficient and cost less to run

  • A leading heat pump manufacturer stated a Copper cylinder could save over £100 per year on running costs when used with heat pumps
  • A leading manufacturer of solar thermal panels estimated that a system incorporating a Copper cylinder is 17% more efficient than with other cylinders

Copper cylinders may significantly reduce the threat of bacteria growth, such as E.coli and Legionella, in your water system. 

  • In tests, the level of E. coli was 100 times lower on Copper than stainless steel
  • It took 34 days for E. coli to die on stainless steel and just 4 hours on Copper

Copper is 100% recyclable which means you are using the most environmentally friendly material possible for your hot water cylinder.

The flexible nature of Copper, means your cylinder can be manufactured in a wide range of heights, diameters and connection positions to suit your installation.

Copper has an extremely long lifespan.  Last year we received one of our cylinders back from 1947.  It had been taken out, not because it was leaking, but they wanted to replace it with one of our thermal stores.

And when it comes to a Copper hot water cylinder from McDonald Water Storage, we provide our clients with even more benefits including:

  • Our technical sales team ensure you get the optimum hot water cylinder for your project
  • We use thicker Copper in many of our products, than most other cylinder manufacturers, for extra strength and durability
  • Our flexible manufacturing process means we can customise the positioning of your connections to reduce the installation time and costs


If you wanted to share this information or keep a copy why not download our “Discover Coppers Supernatural Powersclick here

Ancient EgyptThe ancient Egyptians were advanced in many fields including astronomy, construction and irrigation. They were also some of the earliest coppersmiths and made copper vessels, tools and the pipes used for their irrigation systems. It should come as no surprise that they were advanced in matters of indoor plumbing, as well.

In 1994, archeologists excavating the remains of a 4,500-year-old Egyptian funerary pyramid complex unearthed a sophisticated copper drainage system.

Located in Abusir in Northern Egypt, the pyramid is believed to be the oldest of many pyramids found in this region, which is just south of the Nile River. It served as the final resting place of King Sahure, the second King of Egypt’s 5th Dynasty, who ruled from 2517 to 2505 B.C.

Ancient Egyptians believed the dead enjoyed the same earthly delights as the living, so they built elaborate temples alongside the pyramids where royalty were entombed after they died.

Copper pipe was found inside the temple closest to the pyramid – which is called the “mortuary” temple. Here priests assembled daily to present food and other objects as offerings to the dead king’s spirit.

Only the finest materials were used to build the temple, which consisted of an elaborate entrance hall, courtyard and sanctuary made with white limestone ceilings, alabaster floors and red granite columns. Magnificent relief paintings of the king hunting, fishing and trampling his enemies covered the inside walls, while multiple statues of the king were displayed inside the sanctuary.

Experts speculate that the copper pipes, which extended some 330-yards along a causeway leading to another temple, were used to drain well water that was hand-carried into the temple to bathe the king’s statues. These statues were anointed with oil as part of daily purification rituals.

Although the overall condition of the pyramid and temples today is poor, the copper piping has survived, attesting to the longevity of copper plumbing.

Protection of staff and visitors has never been more important than today. With this in mind, our range of COPPERtouch surface protection products can help contribute to this protection in your workplace.

It is widely recognised that copper contains fantastic properties to kill and prevent bacteria growth. In fact, 99% of the bacterial population introduced into a copper plumbing system, will disappear in under five hours.

Our antimicrobial copper surface protectors are an innovative weapon in the fight against cross infection.

McDonald Water Storage are using specially selected antimicrobial copper to produce overlays and push plates to cover high touch points around the workplace and public areas, protecting your staff and customers against COVID19.

Commonly touched areas such as door handles often fail to get wiped and can transmit germs or COVID-19, and the antimicrobial copper will kill the virus 12 times faster than a stainless steel handle!

Easily retrofitted, they quickly destroy bacteria and virus pathogens on contact and provide increased protection and peace of mind, see our brochure for more details.

Copper infused products and clothing are on the increase and it’s all thanks to Copper’s natural superpowers.

Its bacteria killing properties is being used in pyjamas to help combat superbugs such as MRSA, socks to prevent odours, gloves and knee supports to combat arthritis.

Its also being used in material for dog beds to reduce the smells from man’s best friend.

Check out the feature on BBCs One Show where they explain how they are using copper.


Copper and Stainless Steel are the 2 most common materials used for hot water cylinders and their heat exchangers, due to their similar properties such as resistance to corrosion.

Arguably, between the 2 materials, Copper is seen as the more beneficial to use, mainly due to its high thermal conductivity as well as other properties, such as its Antimicrobial properties.

Due to increases in the price of the material, copper cylinders have become more expensive to manufacture and more customers start to look towards cheaper options. Some people opt for a Stainless Steel cylinder due to the lower initial price.

However, whilst both cylinder types are highly efficient for providing customer hot water needs, this report proves Copper cylinders to be faster, more efficient and more cost effective than Stainless Steel cylinders.

In addition, it is interesting to see the performance difference, not only between materials, but also the types of copper coil utilised in cylinders.

Ultimately meaning that a Copper cylinder is better value in the long term.

Click here to download the full report now.

The University of Ulster has recently published a report which compares the performance of a copper cylinder with a stainless steel hot water cylinder manufactured to the exact same specifications.

The research project’s aim was to provide a definitive answer to how effective a copper coil type heat exchanger was, in comparison to that of a stainless steel coil.

The results of the report found that using a copper hot water cylinder on an exact like for like specification reduced the heat up time of the water by 28.8% over stainless steel.

In addition, of particular note, is the coil in the copper cylinder had to be downsized from a standard unit to ensure an equal surface area to the standard stainless steel cylinder’s coil.  The University of Ulster then went on to compare a standard copper cylinder with a standard stainless steel cylinder, and found the copper cylinder showed a 62.6% increase in the power output.

The findings of the report are even more compelling for projects looking to incorporate renewable energy into hot water systems.

The 62.6% increase in power output means the transfer process of the energy collected by the renewable energy source, will be far superior using a cylinder with a copper coil.  More hot water delivered quicker and therefore requiring less energy from other “paid for” fuel sources.

The report goes a long way to demonstrating the long term cost benefits of using copper hot water cylinders in your project, without even mentioning the copper’s superior bacteria killing properties, flexibility, long lifespan and recyclability.

Click here to download the full report now.

And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, here is some additional information regarding Copper’s incredible super powers.

Hospitals – Copper and Copper alloys such as brass, are now being used in hospitals for handles and push plates to stop germs from spreading. In fact data from clinical trials have shown that installing key touch surfaces manufactured from Copper can reduce a patient’s risk of catching an infection whilst in hospital by 58%.

Construction – Copper flashings and Copper wire are regularly used on roofs to prevent moss and algae from growing. It works because the oxidization process provides a thin layer of Copper salt to the roof which kills the algae.

Currency – One of the main reasons Copper is used to manufacture coins is so that germs are killed and not passed on through daily transactions of currency.

Health – Japanese soldiers avoided dysentery by having a Copper ball in their water bottles which kept their water fit for drinking.

Health – Early American pioneers are said to have put Copper coins in large wooden water casks to provide them with safe drinking water on their long voyage as they moved west across the continent.

Tourism – The world famous statue of liberty is made from Copper and the Copper exterior coating is just 3/32 of an inch thick.


Copper bottomed boats were built to stop barnacles and seaweed from growing and this hugely improved ship’s speed and efficiency.
Copper bottomed pans are preferred by all of the top chefs as they maximise heat transfer.


Copper nails are hammered into tree stumps to stop them re-growing.
Copper strip can be used to prevent slugs getting onto plants.


Whisky “the water of life” may be matured in oak casks, however it is only ever made in Copper stills as Copper is the only material which removes the unwanted elements from the spirit. And whilst the whisky industry has experimented with other materials, it just cannot match the performance of Copper.

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