Technical Information

Trade Waste Installations 

Please click the link below to view the Typical Fixture Connection for Trade Waste Installations (Non Complex / Commercial) provided by SA Water:

Advising Clients on Solar HWS / Heat Pump

It appears that some plumbing companies are not always giving their customers the best advice because they haven’t kept up with technological improvements.

Fortunately the calls to the Dept of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure have been about non member plumbers giving poor advice. What are they advising? That solar and heat pumps are not suitable in the Adelaide Hills and in frost prone areas of South Australia. 

Solar HWS and Heat Pump HWS in general are well suited to all climatic conditions experienced in SA, and are available in boosted and non boosted types. Generally, boosted models will utilise a gas or electric element to heat the water when there is insufficient sun or ambient air temperatures fall to 5°C or below. Non boosted Heat pump models are, in the main, designed to heat water in sub-zero conditions.

Heat pump units are genuinely solar, albeit sourcing heat energy from the ambient air rather than by direct sunlight, a few basic principles need to be considered.

Solar collectors will not provide hot water at night, and in cold climatic conditions, it would be unreasonable to expect a Heat Pump HWS to provide optimum recovery rates during ‘J’ tariff or off-peak cycles.

As Heat Pump HWS remove heat energy from the surrounding air, the efficiency of these units is at its highest when the ambient air temperature is highest, which is generally during the day. Therefore it is recommended Heat Pump HWS are connected to ‘M’ tariff, or normal electrical supply. As an additional bonus, this will enable the units to recover during the day giving the householder ample hot water rather than a oneoff storage cycle.

It is imperative to select a suitable Solar HWS or Heat Pump HWS with recovery rates which will provide the consumer with enough hot water to meet their needs.

This may include selection of a smaller storage cylinder to ensure maximum temperature is reached rather than a larger cylinder which will take longer to reach the desired temperature.

If any doubt exists, contact the manufacturer, and obtain the relevant coefficient of performance (COP) figures at low average temperatures, and the recovery rates in litres per hour at those temperatures.

This will ensure the consumer realises the economic benefits of selecting a Heat Pump, that will provide them with ample hot water, whilst simultaneously reducing greenhouse emissions.

Solar HWS in frost prone areas need to be suitable for this application. The plumbing industry needs to become more receptive to these newer technologies as demand will increase and plumbers who are not prepared to adopt these technologies will lose business.

If you are concerned about the OH&S issues related to climbing on roofs, ask if the supplier offers a crane service, that only leaves you to do the plumbing. New OH&S requirements that will require safety railings on single story construction projects will impact on everybody and will have to be passed on to the consumer.

Suppliers of large heavy heat pumps need to offer a service to deliver a heat pump and help place it in its installation location. Manufacturers who can give plumbers the flexibility to install in this way will reap the rewards. We are undoubtedly moving into a new competitive phase of HWS sales with new retailers entering the market.

One of whom is even advertising that you buy a HWS and DIY. As the public becomes aware of the increased cost of replacing HWS due to the impact of the new regulations this situation will only increase. Plumbers can either roll over and give in or acquire the tools to retain control because until a HWS blows up and kills people government will turn a blind eye to the reality of what is happening in the real world.