FAQs

SOLAR WATER HEATING DOMESTIC HEAT PUMPS POOL HEAT PUMPS UNDERFLOOR HEATING

FAQ Solar Water Heating

Q: How does a solar thermal system work?
A: A solar thermal system consists of a number of components; a solar collector, a pump, a controller and a hot water storage tank. The solar collector, located on the roof, collects the sun’s energy and transfers the heat to the storage tank. The storage tank allows the hot water to be stored until it is used at night or in the morning.

Q: What is the life expectancy of a solar system?
A: The life expectancy of a solar system is more than 20 years.

Q: What is the average saving with a solar thermal system?
A: Solar hot water systems can save the home owner or business a substantial amount of money and drastically reduce global warming. At current energy prices, these systems can pay for themselves in 3-5 years, depending on the application.

Q: How long will it take to install a solar system?
A: On average it takes less than a day to install a solar system.

Q: How much maintenance and service is required?
A: Solar technology requires virtually no maintenance of the system except for wiping clean the collector surface if it collected dust. We do however recommend that the system be checked annually to ensure that you are getting the best possible efficiency out of the system.

Q: What happens if an evacuated tube collector tube is broken?
A: On evacuated tube heat pipe solar collectors the system will remain operational, only the efficiency of the system will be reduced slightly. Replacing the broken glass tube is a very simple and inexpensive operation.

Q: Will a solar hot water heating system work on a cloudy day?
A: Yes. Although the heat output of the solar collector is reduced on overcast days, it will still be able to provide heating. Approximately 25-30% of the sun’s energy actually gets through the clouds.

Q: Can I use a solar hot water heating system with my existing hot water system?
A: Yes. A special conversion valve is used to change your normal geyser into a solar geyser.

Q: What are the advantages of evacuated tube solar collectors over flat plate collectors?
A: Our evacuated tube and flat plate solar collector products are both of very high standard and offer superior performance when compared to many other brands available to the market. There are a lot of different arguments about which type of collector is better and unfortunately this is often driven by what technology that company sells and not based on facts. Our measurements have shown that our evacuated tube collectors provide a more constant output throughout the year and they are frost resistant. The life expectancy is also longer on the evacuated tube collectors. Our flat plate collectors are however slightly cheaper and if installed with the correct controller system frost will not be a problem. Our conclusion is therefore: Installing a flat plate collector is a very good thing to do and installing an evacuated tube collector even better.


FAQ Domestic Heat Pumps

Q: How does a domestic heat pump work?
A: A heat pump works like an air conditioner in reverse. It uses a relatively small amount of electricity to extract heat from the surrounding air and then heats water with this energy. Click here for more information

Q: How much money will a heat pump save me?
A: A domestic heat pump with a COP of 4 (efficiency of 400%) will save you 75% of the electricity currently used with a normal electrical element. So, for example, a family of 4 with a 200L geyser is currently using R480/month to heat the water. If a heat pump with a COP of 4 is connected to this geyser and the current electrical element is disconnected then they will not only use R120/month to heat the water.

Q: How long does a heat pump take to heat water?
A: A 4.7kW heat pump will heat the water slightly faster than a 4kW electrical element typically found in 200L geysers. A 4.7kW heat pump produces 4.7kW of thermal energy under specified conditions while using as little as 1.2kW to do so.

Q: What is the average payback for a heat pump system?
A: Heat pump systems can save the homeowner or business a substantial amount of money and drastically reduce global warming. At current energy prices, these systems can pay for themselves in 1-3 years, depending on the application and water usage.

Q: How long will it take to install a heat pump?
A: On average it takes less than a day to install a heat pump system.

Q: How hot can a heat pump system make the water?
A: Heat pumps are designed for a maximum temperature of 60°C. The heat pump can produce these temperatures even with the ambient temperature being below 0°C.

Q: How much maintenance and service is required?
A: Heat pump technology requires virtually no maintenance of the system except for making sure the evaporator is clean from dirt and leaves. We do however recommend that the system be checked annually to ensure that you are getting the best possible efficiency out of the system.

Q: Can I use a heat pump water heating system with my existing hot water system?
A: Yes. We use a special loading valve to change your normal geyser into a heat pump geyser.

Q: What are the advantages of heat pumps over solar collectors?
A: The main advantages of a heat pump are the ability to re-heat a geyser a few times per day and it can work day and night, rain or shine.

Q: What is the life expectancy of a heat pump system?
A: The life expectancy of a heat pump is more than 10 years.


FAQ Pool Heat Pumps

Q: Swimming pool heat pumps - how does a heat pump work?
A: A heat pump works like an air conditioner in reverse. It uses a relatively small amount of electricity to extract heat from the surrounding air and then heats water with this energy.

Q: How much money will a heat pump save me?
A: A swimming pool heat pump with a COP of 5 (efficiency of 500%) will save you 80% of the electricity currently used with a normal electrical element. So, for example, to heat a 50 000L pool with an electrical element could currently cost about R1500/month. If a heat pump with a COP of 5 is connected to this pool and the current electrical element is disconnected then they will not only use R300/month to heat the water.

Q: Do I need a pool blanket?
A: The thermal losses on the surface of a pool is significant and even a slight cool breeze blowing over the surface of the pool can drastically cool down the pool. It is therefore very important to always use a thermal pool blanket to cover the pool when not in use even if it is an indoor swimming pool. If for some reason a thermal pool blanket cannot be used we would normally recommend the heat pump to be 3 times bigger. In other words, due to the losses you will now need to spend 3 times more money on electricity per month.

Q: How long will it take to install a heat pump system?
A: On average it takes less than half a day to install a heat pump system.

Q: How hot can a pool heat pump system make the water?
A: Pool heat pumps are designed for a maximum temperature of 40°C.

Q: How much maintenance and service is required?
A: Our heat pump technology requires virtually no maintenance of the system except for making sure the evaporator is clean from dirt and leaves. We do however recommend that the system be checked annually to ensure that you are getting the best possible efficiency out of the system

Q: What are the advantages of heat pumps over solar collectors?
A: The main advantage of a pool heat pump is that it can heat the water all year round and independent from the weather conditions. The black “spaghetti” pool solar panels that you often see covering the roof of a house is very cost effective and works well if you would just like to extend the usable season of your pool for a few months (and if you do not have a lot of cold wind in the area).

Q: What is the life expectancy of a heat pump system?
A: The life expectancy of a heat pump is more than 10 years.


FAQ Underfloor Heating

Q: Should the entire home be heated?
A: Any portion of the home may be heated no matter how small. It must be noted that heat will travel from a warm area to a colder area. This could lead to the heat source which may have been designed for a small area being undersized, and therefore being overworked which may lead to early malfunction.

Q: Can any underfloor pipe be used?
A: Using the incorrect pipe will lead to early disintegration. The best pipe to use is manufactured from (polyethylene) PEX and should have an oxygen barrier layer to protect all metal components in the Underfloor Heating System such as pumps, manifolds fittings, valves etc.

Q: How many pipes are required for a house?
A: The Underfloor heating pipes must be designed professionally. For instance, if a pipe is to long the energy will be used in the initial part of the room and the remainder of the room will take much longer to heat up. This will lead to uneven temperatures in the room and in the home.

Q: How many heat sources can be used?
A: Any amount of heat sources may be used, from Heat Pumps, Solar collectors to Pellet and Wood Fire Places which save the most electrical energy. The more heat sources are used, the more electrical energy will be saved. The homes that have been designed and installed by Airvent have mostly used Heat Pumps and Solar collectors.

Q: Can any geyser be used?
A: The geyser sizes are extremely important and must be sized correctly firstly for domestic use according to the design of the house. The Buffer tank is also specially sized and designed according to the area to be heated as well as the ancillaries being heated such as Hydronic heated towel rails, pool, Jacuzzi, Fan coils, radiators etc. The inlet and outlet sizes of the geysers and buffer tanks are vital to effectively feed the correct amount of water without causing lack of water, water noises, etc.

Q: How long will the system last?
A: The system consists of different components which have different Warranties or Guarantees. Airvent use mainly SEG Tanks and Buffer Tanks or Solartherm Geysers in smaller installation which have a 10 Year Guarantee. Airvent use imported German underfloor heating pipes which have a minimum 50 year life expectancy. The solar collectors have a warrantee of 10 years with a life expectancy far beyond.

Q: How much electricity will I save?
A: This is totally dependent on various factors such as:

  • Insulation used throughout the house as described above
  • Insulation is the single most important factor in the home for cooling and heating. If the home is insulated properly the energy costs are greatly reduced.
  • Number of heat sources used used as above such as Solar, Heat Pumps and Fire Places/Boilers
  • The more heat sources other than electrical elements are used the more savings will be realised
  • System design and system control
  • Airvent will professionally design all aspects of your home for heating and cooling with a totally integrated system. The savings you will realise are described in detail in the different product we professionally install.