Solar Integrity

Hot Water Systems

Reclaim Energy Heat Pumps

Welcome to the hot water revolution!!  

Reclaim Heat Pumps have changed the way we do hot water.  Heat pumps for a long time copped a bad wrap and rightly so, they were installed in areas where the technology at the time was not suited, they were inefficient, noisy and unreliable.  So much so that at one stage the Federal Government removed them from their rebate scheme. 

BUT then Reclaim Energy Heat Pumps were developed.  Reclaim Energy is the sister company to our solar hot water partner Apricus Australia.  Knowing that the same people and level of quality were at the helm was the reason why we decided to investigate the new technology CO2 Heat pump.

People with electric or gas hot water are making the switch to the heat pump.  Why you might ask….  Because they are so efficient.  You can save up to 75% on your hot water bill, and gas is fast becoming expensive.  BUT our favourite reason is, because of its efficiencies and its smart controller it can easily be powered by a solar power system!  So it's suitable for everyone, including our standalone customers. 

  • Average daily consumption of 3 kWh per day
  • Estimated payback period of 3 years
  • 315lt Tanks can be glass lined or stainless steel
  • The quietest system on the market (Average noise: 37 dB) whisper quiet functionality
  • Ozone friendly CO2 refrigerant
  • Built-in frost control operation
  • Built in legionella control operation
  • Smart top down heating mechanism (faster hot water access and recovery)

The Reclaim energy CO2 Heat Pump controller makes monitoring and managing your energy simple. The interactive features enables you to individually customise how and when your hot water system works for you.

The 5 setting choices are:

  • Setting 1 - 24/7 – runs whenever there is a drop in tank temperature
  • Setting 2 - Off Peak Mode 1 – comes on at 10pm and remains active for 9 hours
  • Setting 3 - Off Peak Mode 2 – comes on at 10pm and remains active for 19 hours
  • Setting 4 - PV power setting – our favourite – comes on at 10am and will heat until it reaches its 60oC for a maximum of 5 hours.
  • Setting 5 – Choose your own – our equal favourite – we can set times that are going to suit you and your lifestyle
  • Another feature of the smart controller is that if you suddenly run out of hot water there is a 1 off boost button on the controller you can hit.  It will come on and heat the water to 60oC and then revert back to its primary setting.  No need to keep playing with it.  So for those Christmas time showers when the family & some come home and you all have to be up, showered and ready for church by 8.30am.  Or it’s the middle of winter and  you live in Tawonga, Bright or Mansfield and you have a house full of skiers that get home at 6pm all desperate to warm up under a hot shower.  This button will be your saving grace.

    Here’s an example of the power output comparison between an electric storage unit and a Reclaim Heat Pump

    • Standard electric hot water = 3.6 kW electrical input to create 3.6 kW thermal output
    • Reclaim Energy Heat Pump = 1 kW electrical input to create 4.8 kW thermal output

    Apricus Solar Hot Water Systems

    Heating water can be very expensive, so why not use the sun’s energy to do the bulk of the heating for free. Using the sun’s energy to heat water can reduce your household hot water bills by more than 60% each year.

    How Does It Work?

    For solar water heating in your home, there are basically two types of solar collectors; conventional flat-plate collectors (eg: Thermosyphon & split system) and evacuated tube collectors.

    The 3 common types of Solar Hot Water that we are accustomed to and still using today are:

    Thermosyphon (TS)/Close Couple System - where the storage tank is located on the roof, with the flat plate solar collectors attached below the tank.

    Split System - where the flat plate solar collectors are located on the roof and the storage tank is located on the ground. Evacuated Tube system –the newest technology in Australia (even though it’s actually an Australian invention), which consists of a bank of tubes on the roof and a storage tank on the ground.

    Evacuated tube systems are the most efficient form of solar hot water, surpassing other solar hot water systems by up to 40% on a year round basis. Converting to solar hot water could lower your energy bills substantially and reduce greenhouse emissions by using the sun's heat to heat water, instead of having to rely solely on gas or electricity.

    Solar Integrity sells the Apricus Evacuated Tube system

    Evacuated tubes have a number of advantages; they work on overcast days, in colder weather and the tubes can be replaced individually should an accidental breakage occur.  In saying that we have only seen 1 post installation tube breakage in 10 years.

    Put simply, an evacuated tube acts like a giant thermos, allowing 93% of the sun's radiation in, but only 3% to 5% out.

    The tube is made of 2 layers of toughened glass with an evacuated airspace in between. Thermal conduction and convection losses are almost nothing (under 2%) because of this vacuum gap.

    Inside the tube is a copper pipe (called a rise) which is the heat conductor and inside the copper rise is a small amount of water, which vapourises into steam.  The steam then travels to the top of the pipe and into the bullet, which is lodged in the manifold. This is where the heat transfer takes place and your hot water is then circulated back to the ground mounted tank, and stored.

    This design allows the system to work in very low temperatures (approved in Australia to -15°C).

    Solar Hot Water - How It Works

    An auxiliary gas or electric heater (booster) is included to boost water temperature on days when solar energy may be insufficient to meet your hot water requirements, and to ensure you are never out of hot water - e.g. your solar gain may only be to a temperature of 35°, therefore your boost will only have to compensate for the remaining temperature variance -i.e.25°.

    Your tank can either be vitreous enamel or stainless steel. We can explain this further for you. These tanks can vary in size, and government incentives may also vary as a result.

    Frost Protection

    Due to the design of the Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water systems, they require no glycol or anti-freeze chemicals in frost prone areas.

    In an Apricus system the frost protection is built into the design of the unit.  If the temperature in the tank drops below a certain temperature the pump will kick in, circulating the water.  As long as the water is circulating the water wont freeze.  So PLEASE do not turn your pump off. 

    Systems that use glycol lose 10% performance and need regular changing of the glycol which can be costly.

     Technological advances in recent years mean that the evacuated tube systems are now 40% more efficient than their counterparts of 30 years ago, and frost problems have been eliminated, with no requirement for an anti-freeze glycol system.

    In the event of something happening to an evacuated tube system and a tube breaks, you only lose the use of that tube, and it can be replaced individually at low costs...and therefore continuing to produce hot water for free.

    The diagram demonstrates the passive tracking principle of the evacuated tube.

    Having something that is cylindrical in shape makes more sense than having something that is flat…don’t you think?

    Solar Hot Water - Passive Sun Tracking

    Government Incentives

    The Federal Government offers the STC rebate for solar hot water systems, the same system that is available for solar power installations.  Then some state governments may offer other incentives.  These rebates can change from time to time and state to state. If you would like information regarding your eligibility for rebates, get in touch with our team.

    Replacing an existing electric water heater to an Apricus 30 tube Solar Hot Water System is equivalent to planting 240 trees and reduces as much greenhouse pollution as taking one car off the road each year.

    The Victorian Government are also offering a hot water rebate under their Solar Homes Program.  For more information head to our rebates page (whatever I decided to call it), or to or simply call us on 0455 461276 and we will be able to discuss what your options are.

    Contact the Solar Integrity team to discuss your solar system options