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Apricus Solar Hot Water System

Apricus Solar Hot Water System

250ltr Tank, 315ltr Tank and 400ltr Tank
3.0 from 94 reviews

See the Best Solar Water Heaters in 2019 as rated by Australians on ProductReview.com.au.


Fantastic, but only for technical people

I had an Apricus 315 litre Hot Water System installed in a new house build in 2015. Finally, four years later it is actually working and I am very happy with it. Having said that, I’ve just spent an additional $2000 and had three separate plumbers out to fix it and actually make it work. I’ve reached the conclusion that whilst the Apricus evacuated tube systems are remarkably effective when they are working, there are too many components that can fail with no real way of knowing when/if they have failed.

Allow me to explain. The Apricus system works by using sensors to detect when the roof heater is hotter than the tank and then circulating water up to the roof if the roof is hot enough. Sounds simple, but in the case of my electrically boosted system, it means that faults can occur in any of:

The tank/booster
3 temperature sensors
Circulating pump
Pump Controller
Glass tubes
Heat Pipes
Manifold

This might get be okay, except when there are faults it is impossible to know, because in most cases the tank will boost the water temperature and you will still get hot water. You will also save $0 which defeats the point of a solar hot water system. Here my sorry story of Apricus woe.

1. Multiple tubes slipping out for the first few years and breaking - I thought this was just poor quality, but it turns out the installer had used the wrong clips. Not really Apricus’s fault, but they need to ensure they only sell through certified installers and then stand by their installers work.

2. Burned out electrical connector on booster tank after 4 years. This is a quality issue, but I shouldn’t have to pay for a plumber to visit to repair manufacturing faults.

3. Failed roof thermal sensor. Similar to above, these should not fail within 4 years of purchase, and if they do, I shouldn’t have to pay for the plumber to fix them. The bigger issue is that the controller is too stupid to detect intermittent faults such as mine was, and more importantly, unless you visually inspect your controller daily, you will never realise it has failed. Apricus should install an audible alert or visual indicator for faults. Expecting your customers to remove the weather cover, cycle through the menu options and know that -88.8 means a failed sensor on a daily basis is ridiculous.

Having fixed all that I though I was going to get wonderful free hot water year round. Think again. I recently had solar panels installed and with it a smart meter. The smart meter showed me that I was boosting for 4 hours even on sunny 30 degree plus days. After much research I discovered that the manifold was heating up and then dropping temperature almost as soon as the circulating pump started. It turns out that nearly all the heat pipes inside the evacuated tube were faulty since new or had failed. Apparently this was quite common in Apricus systems of this era, but the problem is that short of getting a smart meter to detect that you are boosting in summer, owners of these systems will never know. Essentially there is no easy way of checking for this. Theoretically the controller should be able to identify rapid temperature drops in the manifold after the pump is switched on and report this as a fault, but it is not smart enough to do this.

In summary, these systems are very good when they are actually installed properly and working, but they are also extremely complex and Apricus has not provided a simple and effective method for detecting these faults. They also expect you to pay for the plumber to do the repair even when it’s under warranty. The system is great if you are highly technical and can understand how it works and when it is not working, but if you expect a set it and forget it solution like hot water systems have been for the last 50 years I cannot recommend Apricus.

Purchased in February 2015.

Build Quality
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
Household Size 4 person(s)

Problem solved

Hi I hereby fully reciprocate the last review I posted on this site in regards to my 40 tube apricus solar hot water system. I’d have to say I thought it was a total heap of crap up on my roof it’s taken nearly four years to get it sorted until the plumber showed up and told me there was a faulty batch of copper tubes inside the glass ones, since replacing those under warranty the thing is smoking free hot water no gas at all and it’s autumn loving it it’s full steam ahead from here on in go apricus

Purchased in January 2015 for $6,000.00.

Noise Level
Household Size 3 person(s)
Functionality
Temperature Consistency
Heating Speed

10 months free hot water per year

2 to 4 people. Reheats 310 litres quickly with the 30 tubes. I do have tank water so the little grundfos circulation pump has always been flawless.
Bought in 2009, I asked the installer pjt plumbing to raise the angle of the tubes to 60 degrees for maximum winter production. Electric back up fitted.
Love it

Purchased in October 2009 at Pjt plumbing for $5,000.00.

Build Quality
Value for Money
Cleaning & Maintenance
Noise Level
Household Size 2 person(s)
Functionality
Temperature Consistency
Heating Speed

Bad choice

Had a unit for less than 2 years and controller has already gone. Looked them up and they say upto 15 year warranty. Be warned this is a hav! Now im up for $500 for a new controller. I dont believe its ever worked properly looking at my gas bill. At times in business we have to except th hat our products are not upto std and then we fix and everyone wins. These guys are out of touch with warranty and would not recommend to anybody.

Date PurchasedMar 2017

It's been a PerfectSystem

I have had this system for about 8 or 9 years and have never had any problems with it ! The anode has now deteriorated and I am replacing it and cleaning out the tank and hope to get a few more years use out of it!! Love it!!! When it is time to get a new hot water tank I will definitely get the same!

Date PurchasedMar 2009

Damn - wish I had reviews about hopeless warranty - same here!

3.5yr old installation in Tamworth - faulty connectors burnt out and not covered by Apricus warranty. Local Apricus service plumbers (Laser Plumbing Tamworth) failed to return 3 calls and didn't follow up - so I went with an independent plumber and sparky who were able to remedy the situation after 2weeks. Very disappointing after sales service. Apricus should coordinate repairs!

Date PurchasedJul 2015

Apricus is great

Had this system for 5 years now and had only 1 problem (seems like the sensor at the bottom of the tank gets stuck on a high temp occasionally). I have the data logger as well so I can see how it is performing. I live in Sydney and can turn off the electric boost from Sept to April To get free hot water 8 months of the year.

Date PurchasedAug 2013

Complete disaster

$8,000 in electricity bills, lukewarm or cold water, irrespective of fine weather. System was barely used but racked up this bill when previously annual bills were only $700. Had a manual booster so no automatic boosting but still a disaster. Had to disconnect it or risk losing the house. A financial disaster from a brand new system.

Date PurchasedApr 2017

My collector panel is a dud

This is about a 22 tube collector panel, installed about three years ago. The unit is in a new house that has been vacant all of that time Apricus installed new tubes two months ago but it didn't make any difference. The manual says that when the collector exceeds the temperature of the water in the tank by 10 degrees centigrade, the recirculating pump starts and displaces the hot water in the collector, allowing cold water to enter. The pump never runs because the temperature difference is always much lower than 10 degrees, the collector doesn't 'collect'. Next door is an identical unit, both face in the same direction and it s always 20 to 30 degrees centigrade hotter than the dud. Could the scaling you are referring to be the cause, how can I inspect it and what is the remedy, chemical cleaning. Does anyone have other suggestions as to the cause of failure?

Date PurchasedMay 2015

Good unit - good service - a few issues fixed immediately

I purchased an Apricus 30 tube system in Oct 2015 after a lot of research and have been very happy with it so far (nearly 3 years). I live near Brisbane and it provides hot water most of the year with a little boosting over winter (directly north facing). I had a cracked tube (probably from the original installation) which was replaced under warranty after 13 mths. The glass "inspection value" near the pump developed a leak after about 12 mths and put a lot of water through the house (it is in the laundry and we were out at the time). This was quickly replaced under warranty by a new solid brass version (apparently there was a bad batch of the brass/glass ones - only criticism would be that Apricus knew of this issue when I called and could have been proactive in replacing them with a recall - would have saved a lot of carpet drying !).
A few months ago I noticed another cracked tube (possibly hail damage?) - the original supplier no longer did Apricus so I rang Apricus directly - got a call from the State Mgr almost immediately and he personally delivered a replacement tube plus a spare one free of charge !
I have an electronic logger on the unit and can see the operation in real time plus chart temperatures and pump operation and it is working as expected.
There is quite a lot of criticism regarding Apricus's service support on this site but I've found it to be excellent - perhaps just the location and staff involved?

Date PurchasedOct 2015

Waste of money

Get an apricus if you want cold showers. Waste of money. I’m actually furious. Years of ridiculousness and issues. Anyone interested in a class action??? Nearly everything has broken and I don’t know how many Luke warm and cold showers I’ve had to endure. Ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous ridiculous.

Date PurchasedMar 2016

Warranty awareness

Buyer beware Once the system controller, Sensor, or pump, which carry only 12 months warranty after that period if any above fail and burst the manifold warranty is invalid on the manifold repairs are at your expense even though it states manifold has a 10 warranty. Buyer beware of this product

Date PurchasedJun 2011

Poor product, poor Warranty, appalling Customer Service.

I had an Apricus Solar Hot Water system installed 6 years ago and it recently developed a leak in the hot water tank. Water was leaking from the Sensor 2 outlet and there was considerable corrosion (rust) around both Sensor openings.
The installer of the system was no longer trading, so I contacted Apricus directly. It was agreed during my first phone conversation that the tank would be replaced under Warranty. That sounded very promising, however, I would not recommend Apricus Solar Hot Water Systems, nor would I use any of their products again. The reasons…
Product Durability.
The hot water tank developed a leak after just 6 years. When Apricus was contacted, it was agreed almost immediately that the tank would be replaced under Warranty. There did not seem to be any surprise that the tank had failed. I am certain that this was not the first failure of this type that they had had.
Product Warranty
The Sales Brochure states “With 15 years coverage on all key components, Apricus holds the longest warranty of any system on the Australian market.” The reality was that, although the tank replacement was still covered under Warranty, it was only the replacement tank that was covered. Warranty did not cover the cost of switching over the tanks or even the cost of transporting the tank from Sydney to my house. Those costs were only covered for one year. The transport cost charged by Apricus was $310. I have not yet had the plumber’s bill, but I am not expecting much change out of $1,000 for the whole exercise. I was certainly not expecting a cost of that magnitude when the initial Warranty claim was accepted!
Customer Service
That can only be described as appalling! From my 1st call to Apricus, to the time that the replacement tank was delivered, was over 2 weeks. During all that time, there was hot water leaking from my tank. I made more than 10 phone calls and sent 7 emails. On half of the calls, I was not able to speak to the person dealing with my claim. Each time, I left a message, none of those calls were returned. Commitments made to ring me back with updates were never met. I received 1 email, none of the others were responded to. When in frustration I rang Apricus to ask to speak with the Customer Service Manager, the person that I had been dealing with answered the phone, and she told me that she was the Customer Service Manager!! Most of the delays were because of internal administration/documentation. The person dealing with the claim appeared to be incapable of progressing anything in a timely manner.

Date PurchasedJul 2011

Don’t buy.ever!!!

It’s been unsatisfactory since buying it in August 2015. After 3 months of boosting the system in summer Apricus finally believed me and replaced 7 tubes that had corroded. Ever since then we’ve been boosting our system more than our old solar hart Today 2.5 yrs later the heating element went. Great. Stay away from this system!!! Doesn’t save you anything. It cost us 3x more than a solar hart.

Date PurchasedAug 2015

Warranty Customer Service is Terrible

I have been dealing with Theo from warranty - who was great. However, it appears a week later she is too busy and Ive been pushed to a number of people. Perhaps there are a lot of issues with their systems! After a month of dealing with warranty service, I still have not had a call back to provide any update on when my broken system will be repaired. I have now resorted to calling up every day and have been told by a short and angry warranty person. I will get a call back, but I never receive one. I have explained that I have a new family and hot water is important - doesnt seem to matter for this company!

Date PurchasedJan 2017

Very disappointed

I have purchased 5 Apricus hot water systems, and have had nothing but trouble with them. The tubes clogged up within the first two months, even tho the company told me they were suited to our water. We have had to run acid through them to clear the pipes which eventually rotted the tanks...tanks were replaced by the company only for the same thing to happen again. They are now being replaced with Solahart closed circuit systems.

Date PurchasedNov 2013
1 comment
Hello Gwen, Thanks for your review I'm sorry to hear your system hasn't performed well. As we are the manufacturer, we have no control over the systems when they are sold and your area does not have good water quality - it would have been recommended to have water softeners installed or even tried a different system, as our systems will not perform well in areas of poor water quality if not installed properly. I have seen we replaced some roof components (manifolds) for you out of goodwill over a year ago, but as the water quality is so bad this was never covered under standard warranty but we did so to assist the best way we could. If you have any issues it would be best to contact the reseller as from a manufacturers point of view we cannot be liable for this I'm afraid. Kind Regards, Luke McKay Customer Service Manager Apricus Australia

I'm happy with my Apricus hot water

I'd like to thank the technical Apricus team from Melbourne Who fixed my Apricus hot water system when they came to W.A.They were extremely polite and efficient, and put me in touch with their W.A. rep. since been fixed my system has given me as much hot water as I need. Apricus is a fantastic product .It's obvious this product needs to be installed by an Apricus installer.

September 5th 2018 Update: I'm still happy with my Apricus hot water

I live in Southern western Australia,The weather here is cloudy cold and wet in winter and spring. My 30 tube Apricus hot water system is boosted by a 90 litre gas bottle and I have had the same gas bottle which was installed with my Apricus hot water system for 2 years now! and it is still half full of gas! My Apricus is extremely cheap to run. I am very happy with it.
Lucia

January 5th 2019 Update: Apricus hot water system

My 30 tube apricus hot water system works extremely efficiently in cloudy weather and even in winter. using the same 90 litre bottle of gas as a booster ,we haven't had to buy another and we have had the system for 2 and a half years!! I don't think I could find anything cheaper to run ! It's a great product!

Date PurchasedJun 2016
3 comments
Hello Lucia, Thanks so much for your positive review for our two reps who were able to visit you when they were in WA recently. We are definitely committed to making sure your system works and I know we had a lot of correspondence last year after your system was installed incorrectly. I am very happy that everything is all OK now and thanks again for your feedback - we wish you all the best. Kind Regards, Luke McKay Customer Service manager Apricus AustraliaHi Luke McKay, If more Australian Businesses were as committed as Apricus in taking responsibility and fixing warranties Australian Businesses would florish! Kind Regards LuciaVery happy with my 30 tube Apricus hot water system! I'm still on the same 90 liter gas bottle that is used as a booster on our system .This is extremely economical as we haven't had to buy any gas for over 2 and a half years! Can't do any better than that!! It's a great product.

Professional opinion on the Apricus range of Hot Water Systerms

Our company has been running now for around 13 years and I (Director) have been in the Plumbing industry for over 29 years so you could say we have been around this game for a while!

One of the key areas of our business is the repair and replacement of hot water systems, whether it be Solar, Gas, Electric or Heat Pump we do it.

Apricus systems are not new and we have been installing them for a number of years now - the reason we choose Apricus is that we KNOW they are the most reliable system on the market - bar none! We have had plenty of years installing all the major brand names in Solar and though some of them are not bad they just do not compare with the performance and reliability standards that set Apricus apart.

We have always found Apricus great to deal with and unlike some other brands out there, they are genuine when it comes to their after sales and warranty service!

If you are choosing to go Solar for your next hot water system then be VERY careful of what you buy, we have helped so many people over the years that thought they'd save a quid and put in a cheap hot water system or have a good system installed cheaply then after only a few years they have had to repair or replace it - a good hot water system (installed by a specialist) should give you adequate hot water for 10 - 15 years without any trouble but always remember to have it installed by a reputable company that has a proven track record of this type of 'specialist' work and follow the Service guidlines by the manufacturer.

We rate Apricus 5 Stars - we can't say that for any other Solar Hot Water System.

Brisbane Plumbing and Gas
www.brisbaneplumbinggas.com.au

Date PurchasedApr 2018
1 comment
Hi Billy, Thanks so much for your review of our overall systems and company. We really appreciate all your support and are committed for that to continue well into the future. We wish you all the best. Kind Regards, Luke McKay Customer Service Manager Apricus Australia

Good warranty service.

After reporting the problem, the service personell very promptly repaired the unit.
I am very impressed by the standards exhibited by both administration and technical services.
Very impressed all round. The unit is very efficient and works as advertised.
Our Apricus system has earned a recommendation from my wife and myself.
Well done to all!

Date PurchasedDec 2015
1 comment
Hello Ned, Thanks so much for your 5 star review and comments about our system. We are very pleased that you are so happy with the service after you needed help with an issue as we do pride ourselves on the after sales service and speed in response. We appreciate your comments and wish you all the best with your system in the future. Kind Regards, Luke McKay Customer Service Manager Apricus Australia

HWS excellent - service abysmal!

I had my system installed just over 2 years ago because I had used this brand at a previous house and found it excellent. I always had a good supply of hot water since installation, but did not realise that what I thought was the fuse switch in the fuse box, was actually the booster (not labelled as booster and no separate switch as in all previous solar systems). It was only when I turned that switch off when I went away for a few weeks, then when I got home, it was the middle of summer, so expected the water to be hot - not so - barely tepid! I contacted the installer - took an email and three phonecalls before I got any response - and no help at all apparently too far to come and have a look but not too far to take my money for the initial purchase and installation! After over 2 weeks, in desperation, I contacted my local plumber to have a look - he discovered that when installed, the temperature setting had not been changed from the factory setting of 31.4 degrees, so no (or extremely little) input from the solar component as it cut off when the water reached 31.4 degrees, thus needing to be further heated by the booster, even in the middle of summer on a hot day! Not happy at all the electricity I have wasted heating the water in my "solar" HWS. Also not happy that after paying all that money to purchase and install, no-one from the company that installed was willing to have a look to see why it wasn't working properly, even after I explained that I hadn't actually been any evidence of the water being heated by the sun, ever!

Date PurchasedJan 2016
1 comment
Hello Lully, Thank You for your review and I am sorry to hear your installer did not install this to our standards and didn't attempt to assist you after your correspondence with them. Apricus supply the systems to plumbing supplies stores and have no say in any installs at all - we would have certainly assisted in any issues under warranty if they were warrantable problems. From what you have said though this one definitely just looks like installer error which caused the loss of solar gain due to the thermostat set so low (factory setting is actually 60 degrees with the tempering valve set at 50 degrees by law). We have also now heard from you on Feb 2 and have sent some parts to you to upgrade your system under warranty to assist in more solar gain and I do hope that helps your HWS perform to its full potential. We will be in contact with you after these parts have been installed to see how your system is going - anything you need you may contact us anytime. Kind Regards, Luke McKay Customer Service Manager Apricus Australia

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Questions & Answers

13 years old 30 tube system with 315 l Everlast tank. Solar performance of system has degraded after 3 years. Everlast stainless tank still okay but recommended replacement thermostats don't allow boosted water to get above 40 degrees C. Seems to be a thermostat related problem. Tempering valve is set for maximum temperature. Need a competent solar review of my system. Country Victoria. System was brilliant for first few years but only provides warm water now. John Taylor. Please Contact for advice.
1 answer
John, thanks for reaching out to us. I'll need you to give us a call at 1300 277 428 on Monday and we can get you sorted!

booster doesn't seem to be kicking in what could be the problem?
2 answers
Hey Leesa, please hop onto our website https://apricus.com.au to put in a support request. One of our staff from the customer service team will be more than happy to give you a hand!The elements in the heater sometimes degrade and crack. They are not that expensive and a replacement should solve the problem

Can one turn the mains water off for approx. 4 weeks, and leave unattended, without risk to Apricus solar hws?
2 answers
That's a good question i don't know? i guess the main concern is that the tubes dont get too hot?Yes you can but best to just leave it on as it wont hurt. Make sure you turn washing machine and dishwasher taps off though> We have never turned ours off for our 9 week holidays

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