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Apricus Solar Hot Water System Review

For over 15 years, Apricus has been supplying Australian homeowners and businesses with thermal solar solutions. Today, Aprius is a popular brand for solar hot water systems down under and around the world. 

Apricus is most known for:

  • Creating High-Quality In-House Thermal Solar Products
  • National Awards in Business and Innovation 
  • It’s Large Network of Domestic Solar Hot Water Installers
  • Notable Commercial Hot Water Heater Installations
  • Partnering to Create Reclaim Energy 

Verdict

At the end of the day, an Apricus Solar Hot Water Heater is a good choice for heating the hot water of an Australian home or business. Adopting an Apricus Solar Hot Water Heater is a great way to reduce utility costs and utilize clean, emission free energy created by the sun. Plus, the company offers gas or electric boosted systems so that you are never left with cold water. 

Apricus is a longstanding company that continues to research and develop technologies to much critical acclaim. However, within the evolving landscape of solar technology, Apricus’s hot water systems may not always be the best choice when compared to other brands. With that in mind, Apricus systems are available nationwide and are definitely great to consider when shopping for a new solar hot water heating system

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Here’s our in-depth look at Apricus as a company as well as its current product offerings:

Apricus  – Company Background

In 2003, the Apricus Solar Company was founded by Michael “Mick” Humphreys. The name “Apricus” is a Latin word which means “attracting” or “loving” the sun. Two years later, Chris Taylor launched Apricus Australia, as the domestic branch of the Apricus Solar Company. Since then, Apricus has grown to expand office spaces to the USA and France while supplying over 30 countries worldwide. 

Apricus Australia has received its fair share of acclaim since its founding. Here is a list of some of the recognition the company has received:

  • Multiple Telstra Business Awards
  • Smart Company’s Smart 50
  • BRW’s Fast 100 and 50 Most Innovative Companies
  • The 2009 Hunter Housing Industry Innovation Award
  • And More

So whereas they are an international brand, this guide is designed to focus on Apricus’s domestically available products in Australia. The company sells solar hot water systems nationwide with service centres in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. 

It is also important to note that Apricus does not sell its systems directly to the consumer. Instead homeowners and building owners that inquire through Apricus’s website will be directed to a local agent for specific installation inquiries. 

Products/Product Ranges 

Apricus Solar is most known for their thermal solar hot water systems which come with a solar collector, a hot water storage tank, and the option of either an electric or gas booster. We will outline the specifications for each of these systems below. 

Before we get into that, however, we’d like to point out that Apricus also sells Solar Ready Hot Water Heaters. These “solar-ready” hot water tanks are great for homes that need hot water but cannot presently afford the entire system. By installing a standalone, solar-ready electric hot water heater, homeowners can later retrofit the tank with a solar collector to lower its carbon footprint as well as the overall cost to operate the system. 

Home Electric Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water System

To start, let’s take a look at Apricus’s most popular product: the Home Electric Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water System. With this system, the evacuated tube solar collectors use the energy from the sun to heat your home’s water. Included in this product is an electric booster which can be used to rapidly create hot water during extended periods of low sun or high use. 

Available Tanks Sizes – Apricus’s solar hot water systems come with the options of 250L, 315L, and 400L tanks. With these three sizes available, most Australian home’s will be able to find a fitting solution for their hot water demand and property specifications. 

Capacities for Solar Evacuated Tube Collectors – Apricus’s solar hot water systems come with the option of 22, 30 or 44 tube configurations. Whichever setup is best suited for each individual installation is largely dependent on tank size, usage habits, and budget. 

Electric Booster – The electric booster on an Apricus solar hot water system is a great way to use your home’s electricity to always ensure that there is hot water available. Plus, since it runs on electricity, the booster can be activated using an existing or new PV solar energy system. By combining thermal and photovoltaic systems, a home’s hot water can be heated in an environmentally friendly way without ongoing energy costs. 

Home Gas Boosted Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water System

Next, let’s look at another common choice among Australian homeowners: the Home Gas Boosted Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water System. Although it is largely the same as the electric boosted system, the choice between gas and electricity can be very crucial in identifying the best solution for a particular home. 

Consistent Tank & Tube Sizes – Like in the electric boosted system, the Apricus Home Gas Boosted Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water System has the same available tank and tube configurations. Hot water tanks are available in 250L, 315L, and 400. Evacuated tube configurations can be made up of 22, 30 or 44 tubes. 

Gas Booster – Although they cannot benefit from PV solar panels, gas boosters do come with certain advantages for Australians heating their home’s hot water. In many cases, running appliances such as hot water systems, stoves, or heaters with gas is significantly cheaper than running them with electricity This is largely consistent throughout the country. 

Of course, many of Apricus’s happy customers claim that they hardly need to use a booster at all for their homes hot water. With that said, having a reliable boosting system that won’t cost a fortune to run is ideal over the lifetime of your hot water system. For households that use a considerable amount of hot water (and do not have PV solar panels installed), a gas booster could save a significant amount of money over time on the cost to heat the tank. 

Commercial Solar Hot Water Systems 

Although the company is most known for its work in the residential sector, Apricus is also the manufacturer of many commercial solar hot water systems. Essentially taking their home technology to scale, Apricus has partnered with many commercial businesses to design the best solar hot water solution possible.

Notably, Apricus’s installations create hot water for:

  • Bellington Hospital 
  • De Bortoli Wineries
  • The Glen Hotel and Suites
  • King Island Dairy
  • And Many More 

Although each commercial solar hot water system is designed to fit the specific needs of the customer, Apricus’s team of inhouse professionals are consistent in providing everything that is necessary for a successful installation.

Apricus’s hydraulic engineers are able to factor in the large-scale water demand with the building’s property limitations in designing and installing a commercial solar hot water system.  

Hydronic Floor Heating 

Lastly, Apricus offers one last product line that doesn’t heat your home’s water, but rather controls the temperature of your home’s air. With hydronic floor heating, Apricus’s experience and expertise in hydro-engineering has led to the development of a modern solution for maintaining a comfortable radiant air temperature.

Hydronic floor heating works by circulating hot and cool water through pipes embedded beneath the floor of a home. With a layer of insulation between, the heat from hydronic floor heating systems is released upwards into a room. In warmer weather, cool water is circulated. 

Seamless Integration – Hydronic floor heating systems can be integrated seamlessly with an Apricus solar evacuated tube hot water system. This way, both your homes hot water and air will be heated using the energy from the sun. Hydronic floor heating systems can also be integrated with geothermal, air, or wind energy systems as a different, sustainable source of energy. 

Flexibility & Guarantee –  Although it may seem overly complicated to install a symptom of pipes below your floorboards, hydronic floor heating is one of the least invasive ways to heat your home’s air. Despite the period during initial installation, hydronic floor heating systems are largely left unseen because they do not have any large, intrusive parts. Plus, the system comes with a 30 year guarantee. 

Comfort & Health – Hydronic floor heaters eliminate the need to recirculate air in a home, which reduces the amount of stale and contaminated air in the building. With this in mind, the chances of a home’s inhabitants catching dry eye syndrome or inflamed sinuses is significantly lowered. Additionally, the hydronic floor heating system operates free of any drafts or loud noises. 

Accounts In the Wild

Although the company is a nationally known brand, Apricus Solar Hot Water Systems have a mere 2.9 rating on productreviews.com.au. As residential solar hot water systems are the company’s main product line, here are a few reviews from real customers that have had varying experiences with their Apricus installations:

Here, we start off on a pretty good note. User Clarrie Hastings has given Apricus 5 stars after a recent interaction with the company. After purchasing her solar hot water heater in December of 2014, the unit stopped producing hot water six years later. 

Clarrie’s review claims that an Apricus-approved maintenance person fixed the issue the same day and provided some additional system information. For a national company with thousands of customers, that’s a pretty good response in our book!

Unfortunately, not everyone has had the same experience with getting maintenance done on their Apricus solar hot water system. In the review above, user “Jim” claims that his purchase from the company was “A waste of time and money !!” 

In the review, Jim notes that he took all of the necessary steps to insure his installation were successful and approved by Apricus. However, when the system sprang a leak after 4 years of use the company claimed that his warranty was voided due to a lack of insulation on the connection to the manifold. Clearly, he is upset at having shelled out a lot of money for a system that is no longer operational, nor covered under a warranty. 

Similarly, here is another review in which the author sums up his or her case with the simple user name “Not Happy.” In this instance, the homeowner decided to purchase an Apricus System after owning a Dux Hot Water System for 21 years. The Apricus system only lasted for 9 years, and the 10 year warranty was not honoured.

Here, we begin to see a pattern in that a system owner had a warranty, but it was not honored, which leads to a disappointing short product lifespan. In fact, most of the complaints waged against Apricus specifically call out warranties as essentially being useless. 

Despite the complaints, there are still plenty of good Apricus reviews. In the post above from Brendan K, the homeowner has rated Apricus solar hot water system as 5 star quality over its last 10 years of performance.

The review claims that the home is able to use “10 months free hot water per year,” by utilizing solar energy. Throughout the other two months, the reviewer seems to be happy with the electric boosted system they have purchased, as the circulation pump “has always been flawless.”

Performance Notes–How does it stack up where it matters? 

Clearly, Apricus is a popular brand, but does that necessarily make them the best choice? In order to get a better understanding of how Apricus’s solar hot water system compares to its competition, we are going to take a look at a few specific performance factors. 

Solar Collector Performance and Reliability

One of the best things about an Apricus Home Solar Hot Water Heater is that they each come with a very high quality set of thermal solar evacuated tubes. Apricus’s tubes operate well in all weather conditions and can handle any of the frost or hail Australian’s weather conditions throw at them. Plus, the solar collectors are covered under a 15 year warranty. 

Water Tank Shape, Size, and Material

On their website, Apricus home solar hot water heaters are available in a variety of viable tank size options. Beyond this, the material and shape of the hot water tanks are largely up to the inventory of local Apricus approved dealers.

Here, Aprius offers premium parts when compared to other, cheaper hot water tanks. Although the brand most commonly deploys their solar-ready gas lined tanks in most of their installations, stainless steel tanks of various sizes are also available and advantageous in some Australian clients. 

System Component Warranties & Repairs 

Compared to other solar hot water systems, the parts and labor of an Apricus system is largely similar to its competition. However, when it comes time to honor said warranties, Apricus’s customer service has come with mixed reviews. 

Despite the many positive reviews about Apricus’s warranty and support, there are also a haunting number of bad customer experiences associated with the brand. Many customers have cited poor system performance, a lack of communication, and unfairly unhonoured warranties as driving factors of frustrations with the company. 

System Lifespan 

Although 10 years is about the expected industry average, that does not make Apricus Solar Hot Water Heaters necessarily a great choice for a long-term lifespan. There have been many reports of systems breaking down before the 10 year mark, with technical issues preventing warranties from being honoured.

Comparatively, some solar hot water heaters are warrantied to last longer than Apricus systems and also have the track record to prove it. If you are looking to install a solar hot water system for your home, it is worth it to see if there are systems with longer guarantees available in your area. 

Value

Overall, the valuation of an Apricus solar hot water system is largely fair. Although the actual price point will largely depend on the dealer that performs the installation, Apricus systems generally cost about the same or a bit more than other hot water systems. This should be expected, as each product comes with the recognition of a national brand. 

Of course, the real value in purchasing an Apricus solar hot water system comes in the form of lowering your utility bills. When compared to the average cost to traditionally heat the water in an Australian home, Apricus systems will pay for themselves in reduced monthly costs. As the systems are specifically designed for Australia, Apricus solar hot water heaters bring a tremendous amount of value to domestic homes and business. 

Warranty/Service/Support

After a residential installation, Apricus customers are required to register their system in order to be covered by the warranty. To do so, customers can visit the company’s product registration page. Once an installation is registered, most solar hot water systems are covered by the following warranties. 

  • Glass Lined Hot Water Storage Tank – 10 Years Parts, 1 Year Labour 
  • Stainless Steel Hot Water Storage Tank – 10 Years Parts, 5 Year Labour 
  • Thermostat, Valves, Pump & Controller – 1-2 Years Parts, 1 Year Labour
  • Evacuated Tube Solar System – 15 Year Parts, 2 Year Labour  
  • Gas Water Booster – 3 Years Parts (10 Years on Heat Exchanger), 1 Year Labour

There are many actions that may lead to a void in the warranty of an Apricus system. For a full look at what is included in Apricus’s home solar hot water warranties, as well as how not to void them, please refer to their terms and conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Finally, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Apricus and their solar hot water systems.  

Should I use an electric or gas boosted solar hot water heater?

Unfortunately, there is no “right” answer to this question. Electric boosted systems work better with PV solar arrays, but gas boosted systems may be more cost effective to run. Contact your local dealer in order to make an educated decision between these two technologies. 

Are Apricus solar hot water systems eligible for a rebate?

Yes. As green energy technology, most Apricus system installations will qualify for a solar hot water rebate. In general, small-scale Technology Certificates must be created within 12 months of the installation.

How does an Apricus solar hot water system work?

Solar hot water systems use an evacuated heat tube to capture solar energy and use it as heat. This heat is then run through a tube and into the hot water tank. From there, the hot water can be used in a home as normal. For a more detailed look at this, you can read Apricus’ explanation on how their solar hot water systems work.  

Bottom Line 

Ultimately, Apricus solar hot water heaters are great for anyone looking to reduce their home or business utility bills in an environmentally friendly way. As a nationally recognized brand, the company has received its fair share of both acclaim and complaints. 

Thanks to their national availability, an Apricus system is a worthy candidate in any home or business owners search for a solar hot water heater. Not sure if an Apricus system is for you? Feel free to check out more information on choosing the right solar hot water system.

There are tubes with thicker glass out there, are they stronger?

Apricus glass thickness is 1.8mm, and has passed the hail impact testing to meet Australian standards.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive the thickness does not always indicate greater strength. More important than thickness is the material structure and quality of the glass.

For example: some suppliers have glass of 1.6mm thickness which is stronger to impact than 2mm glass from other suppliers due to better quality glass.

So simply saying “this glass is thicker” is not really a valid or useful comparison.

How do the Apricus evacuated tubes handle hail?

Apricus evacuated tube collectors are made to Australian and International standards. In terms of hail resistance, Apricus evacuated tubes have been independently tested and shown to withstand impact from a 25mm / 1″ ice ball at 90km/hr. If you are in a region with extreme hail (much larger than 25mm / 1″) then the solar collectors should be installed at an angle of 45° or greater, which greatly increases impact strength. 

Does my roof need strengthening to accommodate the Apricus hot water system?

Because Apricus systems are a ‘split system’ a standard 30-tube system weighs less than 100kgs on your roof!

Systems with a tank on the roof generally weigh over 500kg when full of water (300ltrs water = 300kg)

What are the advantages of using Apricus evacuated tube collectors?

Apricus evacuated tubes have a lightweight and durable design, and passively track the sun. It’s a low maintenance design with excellent cold weather performance. They’re also frost protected without the use of glycol.

Apricus evacuated tubes are even frost protected!

Can I use a solar collector with my existing hot water system?

Apricus collectors can be added to an existing hot water system, but “retro-fit” systems are not applicable for any State and Federal rebates.

How do I choose the right Apricus solar hot water system?

Apricus manufacture a variety of different solar hot water systems that cater to variety of hot water needs.

The sizing of your system depends on a number of factors:

• How many people live your household.
• Where you live
• Your household water demands.
• The water quality in your area.
Your local Apricus agent will be able to size a system to suit your individual needs, contact us for a quote today

How much energy will I save using an Apricus Solar Hot Water System?

The amount of energy you will save varies; based on your location, water usage, and type of system you install. On average, an electric hot water system accounts for about 30% of your total household energy usage.

On average, installing an Apricus will save you up to 80% of the energy used by your existing electric hot water unit.

If there is no sunshine, does that mean I will have no hot water?

This is why a boosted system is important (either gas or electricity) to ensure you are never left with a cold shower!

What applications are Apricus solar hot water systems best suited to?

Apricus Solar collectors are very versatile, they can be used in a full range of applications, including:

• Household and residential solar hot water
• Business and commercial hot water
• Solar pre-heating systems
• Pool heating, dairy farms, chemical treatment plants, hospitals, apartment buildings, wineries and many more.

Why should I change my existing electric hot water system to Solar?

Installing an Apricus solar hot water system will help you
• SAVE up to 80% on your water heating bills
• REDUCE your household carbon emissions
• INCREASE the value of your home or property and;
• PRODUCE free hot water from the sun.