All heat pumps must be installed by a licensed plumber in compliance with government legislation and Hydrotherm’s warranty terms & conditions. Therefore any licensed plumber can install a Hydrotherm unit. We recommend that they read over the Hydrotherm Owner’s Manual if they haven’t installed one of our systems before.
A tempering valve mixes the cold and hot water to 50°C. Every hot water system across Australia must be fitted with a tempering valve in compliance with AS/NZS3500.4, which was introduced in December 2010. This was to protect people from being scolded by water temperature exceeding 60°C.
Every Hydrotherm comes with a Pressure & Temperature Relief Valve (PTR – 850kPa).
The installer is required to provide a high performance tempering valve, ECV (700kPa), pressure limiting valve (500kPa) and isolating valve. The cost of these valves can be between $150 – $250 and are a requirement for warranty compliance.
During the heating cycle the cold water expansion valve and PTR can release between 0-2L of water. This is why the Australian Government have made it a requirement for the PTR and ECV to be drained off to an appropriate drainage point. Different States and Territories have regulations for what an appropriate drainage point is define as.
The release of water is required because as it is heated, it expands and the valves release excess water to relieve pressure. If the PTR or cold water expansion valve is leaking continuously and not when the unit is heating, then please contact your plumber as one of the valves might be faulty and needs replacing.
During a heating cycle, Hydrotherm heat pumps can produce up to 5L of condensate water. If the condensate water is not disposed properly, the following will occur:
- • Condensation water will attract termites.
- • The excess water can damage the house structure as well as cause superficial damage.
- • The condensate water will damage the Hydrotherm system by constantly running onto it.
These reasons are why the Australian government have stipulated for the condensate to be appropriately drained off. Hydrotherm warranties will also be null and void if it is found that the condensate water is not drained appropriately.
The DYNAMIC/X8 does have a 1.8kW backup electric element. If the system has detected an error, the backup electric element will automatically engage.
If you go away for a short period of time (1 week or more) then you can switch the unit off from the screen by pressing the POWER button once. We do not recommend switching the unit off at the mains. There is very little energy usage when the unit is switched off and it will heat up once a week to ensure legionella control. If the unit is switched off at the mains then there will be no Legionella protection.
Hydrotherm systems do have defrost protection. The refrigerant is reversed back through the evaporator and closed loop circuit to heat the pipes and melt the frost. This is done automatically when needed.
A tariff is an electricity pricing structure offered by energy retailers. Different tariffs have different prices per kWh as well as different times of use per day (i.e. the hours per day they physically supply power). Each State and Territory in Australia has a different tariff system. If you have any questions with regards the tariffs in your area please contact your energy supplier.
Generally there are three different tariffs that energy providers offer:
- • Continuous Tariff: This tariff is what the majority of the household appliances are connected to, such as lights, televisions, fridges etc. This supplies power 24/7 and is therefore most expensive tariff. Hydrotherm systems are compatible on this tariff. If you have a Solar PV system, you can only run your Hydrotherm system from the Solar PV system if the Hydrotherm system is connected to this tariff.
- • Off Peak Tariff: This tariff is just for electric hot water systems. This gives you 8 hours of power a day between 10pm and 6am. It is not recommended for heat pump to go on this tariff.
- • Shoulder Tariff: This tariff is designed for hot water systems, pool pumps and other intermittent appliances. This tariff supplies a minimum of 18 hours of power a day, occasionally cutting the power between 7am-10am and 5pm-8am. Hydrotherm recommends this tariff unless your household has high hot water usage, in which case the Continuous Tariff is recommended.
Click here to see more information regarding tarrifs.
The easiest way to check what tariff your system is connected to is by looking at a previous power bill. It will indicate different tariffs by breaking up the energy usage in a table which is normally found on the second page. There should be a contact number to phone for changing over the tariff or for further information if need be. It can take up to 6 weeks for the tariff to be changed over, so ensure you contact them at the earliest point possible if you’re in a hurry or planning to install a Hydrotherm system.
The Hydrotherm is a fixed unit and must be hardwired into a 10 amp circuit. The junction box must be rated for outdoor use and have an isolator switch. For immediate use the Hydrotherm does come with a 3 point earthed plug, but this is only for short term use for immediate hot water.
All electrical work must be carried out by a qualified electrician. Ensure you discuss with your installing plumber, as they do often work closely with electricians.
If the power has tripped at the fuse box, the hot water system circuit will need to be turned on again manually (as with any hot water system). The system’s inbuilt safety function will then delay the heating for 3 minutes as a power failure has occurred. As for the settings on the system, the will be stored as there is an inbuilt battery which saves all the settings.
Comparing hot water systems
The main reason to go with a heat pump over solar (on the roof) is due to the payback period. A Hydrotherm heat pump has a payback period of 6-18 months whereas solar will have a buy back period of over 5 years. This is due to:
- The initial installation for a solar on the roof is very expensive. This is due to factors such as the cost of reinforcing the roof, several installers, crane hire and more plumbing materials.
- The unit requires a large amount of expensive gas or electric boosting during the winter periods and rainy/cloudy summer days.
- The higher supply cost of a solar hot water system compared to a heat pump.
The biggest reason for purchasing a heat pump is the large difference in operating costs. Hydrotherm heat pumps are generally 70-80% more efficient than an electric hot water system which is why they are eligible for government incentives. The current availability of STCs makes the Hydrotherm heat pump very competitive (Click here to see what STCs are) in the Australian hot water system market. This often results in owners having only a 6-18 month payback period and then savings for the next 10-15 years.
There is little difference between the installation of an electric hot water system and a Hydrotherm heat pump. The one factor potential customers should be aware of is location selection (please see the Hydrotherm Manual for specific requirements). In terms of the plumbing itself, the only main difference in the plumbing is the requirement for the condensate line to be drained off. This is a Government legislation. This can cost no more than $100 in materials and labour and there shouldn’t be a significant difference between the prices of the different installations.
In the past, the cost of gas in Australia has been relatively inexpensive, meaning gas hot water systems were cheap to run. However over the past decade the cost of gas has increased and they are not as affordable to run as they previously were. Gas companies also charge a high connection fee which does not apply to heat pumps as almost every household already is connected to the electricity grid.
STC Assignment & Warranty Process
Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs), previously known as Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), are based on the energy (MWh) the system will save over a 15 year life span. STCs are purchased by energy companies in order reach compliance levels. Click here for further information about the Clean Energy Regulator. For simplicity sake, STCs are effectively a government rebate on heat pumps and solar PV systems.
As Hydrotherm deals directly with customers, we are able to offer the STCs as an upfront discount off the full system cost as opposed to customers or installers claiming the STCs. The upfront discount amount depends on your postcode and are calculated automatically at time of purchase.
In order for Hydrotherm to process the STCs on behalf of customers, we require a small amount of documentation.
Firstly, we require a completed STC Assignment & Warranty form to be completed once the system has been installed. Customers receive an electronic version of the form at time of purchase.
Secondly, Hydrotherm will require just one proof of installation from the customer. We can can use any of the following:
Hydrotherm does not process any other rebate for customers. However some states may have additional incentives for installing a heat pump.