Hydrotherm FAQ

General:

Are heat pumps a new technology?
How does a heat pump work?
Do heat pumps need direct sunlight?
What is a tempering valve and do I need one?
What valves should come with the unit and how much should they cost?
Should the PTR or cold water expansion valve (ECV) be leaking and how much?
How much water should be coming out of the condensate line?
Can the Hydrotherm operate in cold temperatures?
How long should Hydrotherm heat pumps last?
Who do I contact if I have an issue with the unit?
What maintenance does the Hydrotherm need?
Does the unit have memory when it is switched off?
What temperature does the Hydrotherm heat up to?
Is water quality a factor for the Hydrotherm?
How loud is the heat pump?
Who can install my heat pump?
Do Hydrotherm Heat Pumps have backup electric elements?
Do I need to turn the unit off I go away?
Does the unit have frost protection?

 

Electrical:

What are Continuous Tariff 11, Shoulder Tariff 33 and Off-peak Tariff 31 and how much do they cost?
What tariff can my Hydrotherm go on?
How do I know what tarrif I’m on and how can I change it?
Do I have to hard wire my Hydrotherm?
What do I have to do if there is a power failure?

 

Heat Pump, Solar or Electric:

Why would I choose a heat pump over a solar on the roof system?
Why is a heat pump’s installation a lot cheaper than a solar system?
Why should I choose a heat pump over an electric hot water system?
Is there any difference between a heat pump and an electric hot water system’s installation?

 

Costs and Savings:

How much electricity does the unit use and how does it save me money?
What is a standard installation cost for a Hydrotherm?
What are the average savings of the unit?
What are STCs?
Why are the STCs only offered as an upfront discount if we use a Partner Plumber?
Can I claim my own STCs?
Are there any other rebates available?
How do I order a Hydrotherm?

 

Technical:

What is an A5 alarm?
What’s wrong if my Hydrotherm displays 60°C but I only have cold water coming out of my tap/shower?

 


 

General


Are heat pumps a new technology?

Simply put, no. Heat pump technology has been around for over a 100 years in refrigerators and air conditioners. The heat pump water heaters were first introduced over 50 years ago in places such as Southern United States and Italy, where heat pumps are now well recognised and popular.

How does a heat pump work?

Air source heat pumps work exactly the same as your fridge or air conditioning unit but in reverse. Heat pumps transfer heat from ambient air, then into the refrigerant and finally into the water inside the tank. A more detailed explanation is as follows:

  1. A fan draws in the ambient air and pulls it over the evaporator containing the liquid refrigerant.
  2. The energy from the air is absorbed and turns the liquid refrigerant into a gas.
    The gas passes into the compressor where the pressure is increased, generating enough significant energy to heat the water.
  3. The gas then travels through the closed loop in the water tank and transfers the heat.
  4. The gas then travels through the expansion valve where the pressure is reduced and the refrigerant returns to a liquid.
  5. The process begins again.


Do heat pumps need direct sunlight?

Unlike solar panels and evacuated tubes, heat pumps don’t rely on direct sunlight. It uses the energy in air to generate heat. All that the system requires is uninterrupted air flow, click here to see the installation manual for positioning requirements.

What is a tempering valve and do I need one?

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.

What valves should come with the unit and how much should they cost?

Every Hydrotherm comes with a HT-55 Pressure & Temperature Relief Valve (PTR) as standard. The plumber is required to provide a tempering valve, high performance pressure limiting valve, isolating valve and cold water expansion valve (depending on post code). The cost of these valves can be between $150 – $250 and are a requirement for warranty compliance.

Should the PTR or cold water expansion valve (ECV) be leaking? If so, how much?

During the heating cycle the cold water expansion valve and PTR can leak between 0-2L of water. This is why the Government have made it a requirement for the PTR and ECV to be drained off. The leaking is required because as the water is heated it expands and the valves release excess cold 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.

How much water should be coming out of the condensate line?

During the heating cycle the Hydrotherm can produce up to 5L of condensate. This is why the government have stipulated for the condensate to be appropriately drained off.

Can the Hydrotherm operate in cold temperatures?

All heat pumps by law must complete a low temperature operation and performance test to obtain their Watermark Sticker. The Hydrotherm has been tested down to -10°C and will still produce the required volumes of hot water.

How long should Hydrotherm heat pumps last?

Our heat pumps are built tough to last in the harsh Australian climate. The tank is made from marine grade stainless steel and comes with a fifteen year warranty. All other parts come with a 5 year warranty. Therefore the life expectancy of our heat pumps is typically 10-15 years.

Who do I contact if I have an issue with the unit?

Here at Hydrotherm we pride ourselves on our after sales service. If you have any queries or concerns then please contact our offices on: 1300 769 904.

What maintenance does the Hydrotherm need?

The Hydrotherm does not require any regular maintenance. However we do offer a free twenty four month service. If you would like to arrange this service, please contact us by clicking here.

If the Hydrotherm unit is unused for two or more weeks, it is recommended that the PTR valve be released for approximately 10-15 seconds. However the PTR valve does not need to be released on a regular basis.

Does the unit have memory when it is switched off?

The unit has a built in memory to retain all the timers and settings. If power is lost due to a power failure or the shoulder tariff the settings will be saved and no action is necessary.

What temperature does the Hydrotherm heat up to?

The Hydrotherm heat pump heats the water up to 60°C to comply with Government legislation and to meet Legionella requirements.

Is water quality a factor for the Hydrotherm?

It is always important to check your water quality, especially if you live in a cul-de-sac and if your appliances such as a kettle often require replacement. Warranty will be void if you are in a hard water area that records any of the below quantities:

  • In excess of 600ppm of Total Dissolved solids
  • Chloride levels exceed 250mg/L
  • 6.0pH or lower

All of these can be controlled through the installation of a water filter, please contact your plumber for further guidance on filters and installation.

How loud is the heat pump?

The Hydrotherm has been tested, with a reading of 48dB. To give this some perspective it is similar to an air conditioning unit. It is one of the quietest on the market. Also if there was still a concern then there is a timer function that allows you to set up to 3 timers controlling the running periods.


Who can install my heat pump?

All heat pumps must be installed by a solar accredited & licensed plumber in compliance with the Government legislation (QLD) and warranty terms & conditions. In order to receive the STCs discount upfront, we only allow customer to use our Partner Plumbers. Click here to find a trusted and accredited plumber visit our plumber locator or call us on 1300 769 904.

If customers wish to use a plumber who is not one of our Partner Plumbers, the money obtained from trading the STCs can be processed through an independent REC agent such as www.greenenergytrading.com.au.


Do Hydrotherm Heat Pumps have backup electric elements?

Hydrotherm Heat Pumps don’t actually require a backup electric element. The majority of heat pumps in Australia do not have electric elements as they are only required in very cold climates.


If I go away do I turn the unit off?

If you go away for a prolonged period of time, 1 week or more then you can switch the unit of from the screen. Just press the on/off 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.


Does the unit have frost protection?

The Hydrotherm does 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.

 


 

Electrical:

What are Continuous Tariff 11, Shoulder Tariff 33 and Off-peak Tariff 31 and how much do they cost?

Each tariff system is different across the states. Tariff 11, 31 & 33 are all relevant to Queensland. If you have any questions with regards the tariffs in your area then please contact us on 1300 769 904 or call your energy supplier.

    • Tariff 11 Continuous: This tariff is what the majority of the household appliances are connected to, such as, lights, tv, fridge etc. This supplies power 24/7 and is the most expensive tariff. Hydrotherm is compatible on this tariff.
    • Tariff 31 Off Peak: This tariff is just for electric hot water systems. This gives you 8 hours of power a day between 10pm and 6am. No heat pump can go on this tariff.
    • Tariff 33 Shoulder: This tariff is designed for hot water systems, pool pumps and other intermittent appliances. This tariff supplies you with a minimum of 18hours of power a day, occasionally cutting the power between 7am-10am and 5pm to 8am. This is the most recommended tariff in QLD unless you have very large usage.Hydrotherm is compatible on this tariff.

Click here to see more information regarding tarrifs.


What tariff can my Hydrotherm go on?

The Hydrotherm range can go on Tariff 11 (Continuous) or Tariff 33 (Shoulder) in Queensland. No heat pump can go on off-peak as they are designed to work when they are most efficient (i.e. during the hottest parts of the day), using the ambient air temperature. For other areas please contact us on 1300 769 904 or apply the tariff structure to your location.

How do I know what tariff I’m on and how can I change it?

The easiest way to check your tariff 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 is also a contact number to phone for changing over the tariff or for further information. It can take up to 6 weeks for the tariff to be changed over, so ensure you contact them at the earliest point possible.

Do I have to hard wire my Hydrotherm?

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. All work must be carried out by a qualified electrician. For immediate use the Hydrotherm does come with a 3 point earthed plug, but this is only a short term fix for immediate hot water. Ensure you discuss with your installer, as they do often supply an electrician.

What do I have to do if there is a power failure?

No, the memory and settings has an in built battery which memorizes all the settings.

 


 

Heat Pump, Solar or Electric:

Why would I choose a heat pump over a solar on the roof system?

The main reason to go with a heat pump over solar is due to the pay back periods. A Hydrotherm heat pump has a payback period of 6-18 months. Whereas solar will have over a 5 year payback period. This is because of two main reasons:

    1. The initial installation for a solar on the roof is very expensive.
    2. The unit requires a large amount of expensive gas or electric boosting during the winter periods and rainy/cloudy summer days.


Why is a heat pump installation a lot cheaper than solar?

The installation of a heat pump a lot cheaper as it is a very simple process. The unit does not have to go on the roof, which can require reinforcement of the roof, several installers and more materials.

Why would I choose a heat pump over an electric hot water system?

The reason for purchasing a heat pump is to save you money. The current availability of STCs makes the Hydrotherm heat pump very competitive (Click here to see what STCs are) with electric hot water systems, plus the running costs are considerably cheaper. This gives you a 6-18 month payback period and then savings for the next 10-15 years.

Is there any difference between a heat pump and an electric hot water system’s installation?

There is very little difference between the two installations. The only difference in the plumbing is the requirement for the condensate line to be drained off. This is Government legislation. This can cost up to an extra $100 in materials and labour, but there shouldn’t be a significant difference between the prices.

 


 

Costs & Savings:

How much electricity does the unit use and how does it save me money?

The Hydrotherm uses 0.88kW of electricity per hour that generates 3.6kW of heat per hour. In comparison an electric hot water system will use 3.6kW of electricity per hour and will generate 3.6kW of heat per hour. So instead of being charge for 3.6kWh you will only be charged for 0.88kWh, dramatically reducing your bill and energy consumption.

What is a standard installation cost for a Hydrotherm?

A standard installation cost is described as a ‘like for like’ scenario, where the old unit can be pulled out and the new unit can be put straight into place with all the plumbing and drainage easily accessible. The cost should reflect that of an electric installation and should include a full valve kit, Form 4, piping, lagging, labour and it may also include the removal of the old system. This is, however just a guide, please ensure you speak with the plumber and finalise the cost as every install differs.

What are the average savings of the unit?

The Hydrotherm’s average savings will depend on some key contributors including your current usage, hot water system and tariff (if applicable). The unit will save between 60-80% of your hot water energy usage which can acquaint to 100s of dollars a year.

What are STCs?

STCs are Small-Scale Technology Certificate, previously known as REC’s (Renewable Energy Certificates). STCs are based on the energy (MWh) the unit will save over a 15 year life span and are purchased by energy companies. Click here for further information about the Clean Energy Regulator.

Why are the STCs only offered upfront as a discount if I am using a Partner Plumber?

Previously Hydrotherm offered STCs as an upfront discount when purchasing one of our systems. However to ensure that all proper plumbing documentation be supplied on time and accurately, we only use our trusted plumbers. This has the added benefit of ensuring that the installation be completed to a high standard and at a fair cost.

Can I claim my own STCs?

Yes during the checkout process there is an option for customers to complete the STC process themselves.

Are there any other rebates available?

Unfortunately not, all other rebates were cut in 2012 including the Renewable Energy Bonus Scheme.

How do I order a Hydrotherm?

Click here to go to our online shop to order the unit. Otherwise we may be able to provide you the details of installers who can offer a supply and install price. Contact us at [email protected] or on 1300 769 904 for more information.


 

Technical


What is an A5 alarm?

An A5 alarm is caused by an oversensitivity in the pressure switch which is a safety precaution for cold climates. To learn how to turn off the A5 alarm, click here. Note that turning off the alarm will not affect the performance of the unit.


What’s wrong if my Hydrotherm displays 60°C but I only have cold water coming out of my tap/shower?

First you should test if the system is heating correctly. To do this, release the PTR valve for 10-20 seconds and observe if the expelled water is indeed hot (note that the water is very hot so beware of scalding). If the water is not hot, please contact us.

If the water is indeed hot, the issue is most likely a faulty Tempering valve. Tempering valves mix hot and cold water to ensure your tap water is at a constant temperature as to avoid scalding. Please contact the plumber who installed the system, otherwise one of our Partner Plumbers (click here to find), who can then replace the faulty valve.

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