52 questions from our users
Hi i live in Bendigo Vic with west facing roof Peter Carr Plumbing have suggested a 22 Tub 315 Lt Electric Boost Apricus system, I have had a New Energy System that lasted one year , now an Eco Smart it has just not worked and hard to get any help to fix it had it for 7 Years , my concern is all these Solar hot water units have cost me a lot of money so for with little to no cost savings, ? can i get Government rebates on a new system and will this system be good for me
Firstly, from my own experience, I think all this green crap is just that: CRAP! We do not have sufficient development of of materials to do what a good clean coal powered generating station can do AT THIS TIME IN OUR DEVELOPMENT TO POWER OUR HOMES. Having said that, i did invest in an Apricus Solar Hot water system, as it impressed me with the way in which it operated. I only got 1 1/2 years out of it before the electric water pump died - and left me with a huge $625 bill for a replacement. That was a very costly 18 months for hot water. I found that by lowering the flow rate to "minimum" put far less stress on the pump, and touch wood, this has now been going for the past 3 years without problems. The system works exceptionally well; but the water pump is its Achilles heel. Also about every 6 to 7 years you will have to have the insulation packing at the end of the tube array going into the heat exchanger replaced to maintain performance. I would not suggest getting a separate floor tank unit, as this still provides water pump problems - as well as consuming electricity. A suitable roof unit would be ideal. It certainly works on dull days, and in winter very well. If you use hot water for more than 1 shower in the early morning, I would suggest you engage the meter box timer to heat the water tank for 1 hour before the sun rises. This would be very important in colder climates down south.
All in all, it is far better than the majority of units I have looked at. with the provisos I have explained. Site the unit on the roof in a NW orientation, as this will give the best results.
I hope this helps you.
An Apricus Solar Hot water system has market leading warranties to protect the customer from what you have been through with the other manufacturers. If there are any issues with our system pre and post sale at any time you are encouraged to call us on 1300 277 428.
Apricus evacuated tubes have been installed through your area and have a lot of happy customers there.
We would recommend 30 tubes with a 315L tank to get sufficient winter efficiency.
Government rebates are not available but STC rebates through companies like Greenbank are available and equate to around $1000-1200 depending on what system you buy.
Customer Service Manager
Would recommend that you DO NOT INSTALL an APRICUS system . Our system is exactly 2yo but the Manifold on the roof has split with the frost! However the Controller ( with only a 1yr warranty ) has also failed so WE HAVE NO WARRANTY COVER whatsoever. APRICUS have stated that the cost to replace will be over $1000 and the same thing could happen next winter ! It would be cheaper to pay for your electricity than the cost of maintaining one of these systems.
We have just had our tubes replaced as they were not functioning efficiently, I noticed some of the removed tubes had scale on them similar to annealed copper before quenching. As an engineer this tell me these were not transferring heat, the unit was only installed in late 2014 so I would expect much longer life from these. What is the anticipated lifespan and how long is the warranty for the new tubes?
Had exactly the same issue as yourself. Found that just after 2 years the system was running at least 10C cooler on average than it had been at the start. I actually had my controller installed inside the house so I picked this up quite quickly. I assume many people wouldn't even know this as they do not think about it. Anyway, the system was topping at at around 65C in the middle of summer which is pretty poor as I have a 40 tube 315L system. Apricus eventually admitted that there had been some bad heat pipes from that vintage (2014) although I have read of issues with others from 2012 perhaps. Anyway, getting to the point- when the heat pipes were replaced I noticed exactly the same black scale that you did. Some pipes were still completely shiny as if new and others with peeling black scale. Plumber said black corrosion was normal but I found it interesting with the complete contrast. Apricus eventually helped out with the warranty (appreciated) and system is now running 60C in middle of Autumn which is much better. As you mentioned- I'm hoping this is just a bad batch rather than an ongoing issue as labour for removing and replacing 40 heat pipes was around $400 which I would not want to cover myself. I just assumed that they would replace the entire tube which would be a lot easier- but more expensive in parts for them.
I contacted Apricus following the replacement of my tubes and they indicated that the new tubes would still be covered by the 10 year warranty. I have to say they were very responsive in supplying the tubes and labour given it was over the Christmas period.
My 30 tube 315litre ss system has started a high pitched resonating noise when the water is turned on lately. I live in Northern NSW so rarely have to use the electric element but this noise is annoying any thoughts?
Hi, I have had my Hills system for about 8 years and have been fully satisfied, but lately the |Collector sensor alarm| has lit up, followed by the internal relay clicking on off on off etc.many time, starting and starting the pump again and again.
I that a new one or do you know what does it.
it stops for hours but will recour, but only during day
Thank you for your advice, if possible Stelmach@ozemail.com.au
Is your controller located in direct sunshine Our Solarstat one did this until i shifted it to a more shaded position on the wall Had no more problems since
No, tried that too, I bought a new controller for 330 dollars, but that one only lasted a month before the relay started "hacking"
I had 8 years of perfect service from it but now it is a bottomless pit for wasting money and no comeback
Why does the apricus hot water tank pressure release valve leak? I am a single person household and all the installer tells me to expect a bit of leaking because I am not using enough hot water . 12litres in 7days is a waste. He says take more showers, come home from work and have a shower. Would not recommend this system to anyone. Very disappointed.
There is always a build up of pressure whenever the hot water cylinder is being heated as water expands when heated . All hot water systems do this whether they are solar, gas or electric. We have the same system and we have a large bucket under the outlet and put it on the garden occasionally (cooled!). I have found that most of the leaking occurs during the electric boost phase. Not sure where you are but if you are in a warm climate you could probably turn off the booster to save a bit of power and water.
I agree with Jules. Hot water expands when heated & pressure builds up, so a relief valves lets the excess pressure out. Some solar panels have a PR (pressure relief) on the collector unit on the roof. Hot pressure is blown off out of sight on to the roof & down the gutter etc. What I'm told is the Apricus System relies only on the PR valve attached to the storage tank. Mine does this occasionally too. The water in a solar system gets very hot in summer like a kettle & something has to give. Therefore you have to expect a leakage of water in extreme conditions. 12 litres is a lot so if this persists maybe the PR valve is suspect and should be changed. If the leakage is now & then on hot days or boost do what Jules suggests, put it on the garden when cooled.
Thank you both for your response. I live in Port Macquarie NSW Australia. Since I have had this system I have not used the Booster and the leaking is still constant and continuing. I even had a visitors and that day there was a total of 4 showers had, still leaking. For a country that is trying to be more energy efficient and encourage residents to be more energy efficient, this system does not do that. Would it reduce the leaking if several of the solar tubes were disconnected?
We installed an Apricus hot water system. As indicated, we keep the pump switch and the element main switch always on. During cloudy days, we use the booster. Water temperature is fine.
My concern: the element has a continuous noise (like a fast running clock) that only disappears if i turn the switch of. I do not remember there was any running noise when the system was installed.
Any suggestions? Thank you.
I have a gas boosted system and not an element with electric boost. I am unfamiliar with this problem. I am not convinced that it is the element causing the issue.
I would ring Apricus on 1300-277-428 as I have always found them to be very helpful.
They can also pass you on to a rep who can assist even further if required.
Good luck with it. I would be interested in the outcome as it sounds unusual.
Thanks. Yes i contacted Apricus some weeks ago and the person on the phone suggested to contact a local Apricus rep. They charge $200 to come home an 'have a look'.
I thought it would be wise to post the problem first. Perhaps someone experienced the same problem and could comment on the outcome.
I had this issue with our system at one stage. Apparently it is cavitation in the system which is bubbles forming in the water when it is warm. This means that the pump stops pumping properly and remains on trying to pump bubbles. I can't quite remember what fixed it for us but I got an Apricus plumber out and he changed the controller but can't remember if that was linked. We have not had that issue for some time.
$200 sounds like a lot for a look. My visit was a mere $90 + the $180 for the controller.
I think the Apricus guys are probably the best to talk to.
I would like info on a 250 Litre Hot water system that is solar ready with high energy rating with a performance of 25 RECs to pass the BASIX for a single bedroom granny flat. It has to be electric rather than gas as it is a dwelling for a physically handicapped person. Also delivery charges if any? Also warrant details besides the cost of the product and manufactures details including model number withABN number and also if solar to have an electric boosted system. This is for the Construction Certificate. I do plan to have solar panels and hence this may help in the long term electricity bills. firstname.lastname@example.org
The plumber who installed my 30 tubes 250L tank Apricus system told me that on cool days I shouldn't expect to get enough warm water without boosting. I always thought that it is not the outside ambient temperature, but the incoming solar radiation that determines how much hot water is produced, so not "cool" days but "cloudy" days. Am I correct? or would my plumber win the argument. We indeed seem to need a bit of boosting now summer is over but the sun is still out and day temperatures are in the 20s.
Hi Alfred... I have a 40 tube 400L system on my place (family of 4, myself, wife and 2 x kids - and pretty high usage - e.g. Showers generally twice a day + bath) - and I remember last winter - on the shortest day of the year - I had my booster off and it was a nice clear day - and there was plenty of hot water....
If I had 2 days of cloud - the storage would run out - so would have to boost it back up - but clear days = enough heat... But it all depends on the temperature the water is in the morning ... E.g. if it's 20°C in the morning... may be struggling, but if it's 40°C in the morning - much better chance of getting to 65-70°C
Where are you based Brendan? We are in northern Vic so generally little cloud cover. And even now, still > 1 month from the shortest day, we (only 2 adults) have had to boost our 250L system over the last month to get a hot shower in the morning. I have heard that these systems need fine tuning to perform to its optimum. One person I know had his system 'evacuated' to improve its performance. But who to contact? Would anybody know who to see to get this done?
I have heard that evacuated tube solar water heater panels are TOO efficient, leading to problems if you don't use much water i.e that the system overheats and boils, causing noise. We live a quiet, peaceful existence, in Tasmania, with just two of us, considering the smaller tank size. Does anyone have experience of this?
This is an issue if the sizing is not correct. Because Tassie is colder it shouldn't be an issue but if you contact Apricus their technical guys are awesome! They will definitely help to make the right selection and also give advice to the installer to make sure it doesn't happen.
Hi Danielle, when we were looking at buying we heard that the Hills system (which is now not being sold anymore) had some challenges with this. We purchased the Apricus because it is the only evacuated tube manufacturer selling in Australia and we felt confident that the quality and design would be more polished. To be honest we have never had any problems or experiences with too much efficiency or noise. We live in a hot climate (compared to Tasmania) and we have a large system and I can tell you we haven't had a problem! I dont think it will be an issue in Tassie, and trust me the Solahart guys tried to tell us the Apricus would be too efficient. We like efficiency cause it has given us lots of free hot water when we need it the most in the winter time!
This is Troy from Apricus if you have any questions feel free to call me on 0488688300. And i can support you in the right direction
What could happen if the pump is plugged in all the time, could this create a leak?
Gary my pump and controller are always plugged in. I have simply turned my booster off at the meter box. This means I am running my unit off Solar only. How good is that!!!
G'day Gary my system is gas boosted with a continuous flow water heater & I've simply switched it off at the external power point. The power point has a socket for the booster & a socket for the controller which controls the pump. It's important to keep the controller switched on so the solar still does its job. I now it's probably wishful thinking but I'm hoping I don't have to switch the booster on until May & that means I'll easily get all of my hot water from my for over 6 mths of the year.
The pump needs to be plugged in all the time so the system works. I'm unsure about whether it can cause a leak but I can't see how?
What should I do when leaving Apricus Solar HWS unattended while we are on extended holidays of 3 months or more?
My opinion is that these things are designed with fail safe features. It _should_ dump hot water when the pressure in the tank gets too high. However, systems do fail. My neighbour covers his tubes with a tarp, but I don't know how practical that is for you. I haven't bothered.
Hopefully The Apricus rep is still watching this thread. They may have other (better) advice.
Enjoy the trip.
Hi, I would check with a plumber to see if your system can be isolated or turned off.
I personally would switch off my cold water inlet valve, as well as the power to the pump and controller - The system will easily handle the pressure and temperature - however if a fitting fails or plumbing fails and I'm not around to see the leak for 3 x months - who knows what could happen. I'm on tank water too so it would empty my tanks + burn my water pump out - so would be an expensive holiday - I guess the downside to me doing this would be the fact that I'd have cold water when I return - but a couple of hours of boosting ($2-$3 worth of power) will soon fix that.
since the storage tank needs a pump, what happens if there is an electricity outage?
no problem..they do have a safety element as all solar systems......the tank cannot "blow up" as there is no overheating....the only problem is that if the controller doesnt switch the pump off at the correct temperature....thats where Apricus Australias cheap and nasty minimal warranted controllers should be looked at carefully...they could cause major damage to your system and possible personal harm....streer away from them
Thank you for the advice. There are so many hidden traps!
The pump doesn't work all the time anyway. It only works when the sensor in the tank shows a lower temperature than the sensor in the roof manifold, and it doesn't work when the tank has reached the maximum temperature.
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