I’m looking to replace gas with solar hot water. Two of my quotes say ‘Apricus’ is the system to choose. When I googled this make I got some good and some bad reviews (50/50 nearly). I would be especially interested in any Central Qld owners’ reviews of this system: how long you’ve had it, how many break-downs, how many days without hot water and how did your warranty perform?
We have had an Apricus system for a number of years. We live on the coast of mid-NSW. Our first problem was the electric pump. This was replaced free under warranty the day after I rang. Being on the coast we have sea air and I noticed the covering of the unit on the roof was starting to show signs of corrosion. I contacted Apricus and a new covering was installed within three days. (It didn’t stop the unit providing hot water so it wasn’t an inconvenience.) The new covering was a different material and has been great. The control unit failed and was replaced immediately under warranty.
Then the pump failed again and was replaced. After this I did some research and discovered that the initial brand being used by Apricus didn’t seem to have the life expectancy that it should. A couple of years later the pump failed again and this time I had to pay but had a more reliable brand of pump fitted which has been fine.
When you look at it it seems that the system has had its share of problems which I guess it has but I would make no criticism of the service I have received - it has been quick and effective and I can’t remember actually ever being without hot water as the repairs have always been very timely.
I have noticed criticism of Apricus systems in other areas and wonder whether the local dealer is a key component in customer satisfaction. It would probably pay to check on local experience before purchase. Apart from the last pump replacement everything else was replaced under warranty with excellent and fast service. The system itself has been fine.
Just curious, since you seem to have evidence of a bad pump range being installed, and reinstalled, did you try to get rectification or recompense under the ACL after the repetitious failure?
I have just been through the same selection process some 8 months ago. We looked at a number of solar HW systems including Apricus and Solarhart. There are many matters to consider such as price, durability and efficiency.
Apricus uses a ground tank with a roof collector. The flow of hot fluid from the roof down to heat the water and back again is managed by a pump and control circuitry making the plumbing more complex and increasing the number of moving parts. If the power goes off or if either pump or control break down the system doesn’t work. Apricus is comparatively new tech.
Solarhart needs no such active control, the flow between collector and main tank is all on the roof and works by convection. Whenever the sun shines it is heating water. Solarhart has been around for decades and has polished and improved the product during that time.
In the end we decided that simplicity of architecture and longer time in the field would both give greater reliability and that was the decider, so we picked Solarhart. We have had no problems except when the weather is cloudy - they all have that!
No I didn’t but probably should have. The original pump was a Bianco brand. The new pump which has operated flawlessly is a Grundfos.
We have a Aquamax rebadged to Conergy split system (tank on the ground with collectors on the roof). Touchwood, the system is 7 years old and has been faultless. The only changes I possibly would do if installing again would be a stainless storage tank (for longevity) and gas boost rather than electricity.
We manage the electric booster and have used about 60kWh per year in Brisbane to heat water when needed.
I have used solar hot water for over 30years in fact so long that in the early days you had to get permission from the SECV the then state run and only power company then in Vic to install one because it reduced their off-peak revenue.
I have had a rheem low-line and while generally a good performer i has had a litany of pump failures and occasional panel pop on nice chilly -6 degree night we sometimes get in the Vic central highlands.
In my experience the frost protection systems on most flat panel designs are OK for the occasional -1 to 0 degree nights but cannot keep up with much colder extremes.
The evacuated tube system is a much better design and far more frost tolerant, in fact i was actively considering converting at that design at the next HWS replacement but I decided to go to heat pump technology at last cylinder replacement and do away with roof top collectors altogether and the performance is far superior.
Power bills for the HWS have fallen noticeably the performance is faster and no risk of frost damage ever, unless the ambient goes to lower than minus 40 degrees and even then they won’t pop just stop producing hot water.
My quantum heat-pump HWS has been in about 5 years and it has been great still only operates for few hours on the overnight off-peak system. Because they are most efficient HWS it earned the greatest federal and state government rebates and as such the final installed cost was equivalent to the installed price of a simple replacement HWS cylinder.
And when you think about they are the best solar collector/concentrator as they get their heat from the atmosphere which is the planets biggest solar collector of them all.
Thanks, tndkemp - for your contribution. I live in Central Qld. and do not have a frost problem. Our problems are more likely to be cyclones and things falling on the roof and the panels… And, of course, we may lose power alltogether and, I gather, the pump stops working then. So thanks, for reminding me that this needs to be considered.
If you are able to wait, we’ll have some updated information about reliability of Hot Water System brands in the August issue of CHOICE. If you aren’t willing to wait, we last covered it in Jul 2015.
Yes, can wait - and am looking forward to the updated report!
Not sure if you have seen the August CHOICE with the results for this, but they are now also available here:
Thanks, just read what’s available online — this report was NOT in the August print edition; when will it be available in print?
Have already decided on Solar, but wondering what your report shows re particular systems.
We do have a summary of this - on page 45 - as part of our greater reliability article.