Category Archives: Product Reviews

rinnai_smart_cylinder_180L

Product Review: Rinnai Smart Cylinder 180L Stainless Steel

All creature comforts can be made “smart” these days, from TVs to washing machines and now even our heaters. And what difference do they make! Not only do they allow us to make better use of our time, but they also help us trim down our household bills.

rinnai_smart_cylinder_180LThe 180L Rinnai Smart Cylinder is one such modern-day wonder. You wouldn’t think a hot water cylinder could save you cash, but this one promises just that! To be more precise, the Rinnai Smart Cylinder promises to shave up to 10% off your water heating costs. That’s a huge savings considering the fact that hot water heating accounts for around 30% of the average household energy bill.

It’s called smart for a reason: its thermostat learns your household’s hot water usage behaviour so it only heats water when it’s actually needed. This is unlike traditional electric hot water cylinders, which heats water round the clock.

In theory, it’s a total game changer. But does it deliver? Let’s take a closer look at its features, benefits and performance.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

The Rinnai Smart Cylinder is suitable for residential indoor water heating applications with mains and low pressure systems. It has triple inlets that make installation easy, and a curved element design that ensures 98% of water is heated.

Product name: Rinnai Smart Cylinder Low-Medium Pressure
Construction: High grade duplex stainless steel tan
Product diameter/height: 488/1660
Capacity: 180L
Connections: Hot and cold water connections ¾” (20mm)
Element: 3kW Incoloy 825 alloy sheath element positioned at the bottom of the tank
Max. working pressure: 120 kPa
Thermostat: Cothern iQuaflex 14 A probe thermostat
Cylinder recovery time: 3 hrs 9 mins (3kW) Based on a thermostat temp.setting of 60 °C and an incoming water temp. of 15 °C
Warranty: 10 years

The smart cylinder features an easy-to-use LCD control pad where you can access its three modes:

  • iQ Automatic Mode – This smart leaning mode enables the cylinder to learn a week’s worth of hot water usage in the home, which then sets a savings algorithm that automatically adjust the cylinder heating times according to your hot water usage pattern. Hot water usage habits are constantly monitored, so the saving algorithm is always updated according to anticipated demand. This means you always have a certain amount of hot water at all times depending on the level you select.
  • Vacation Mode – A hot bath is always a nice way to shake off the stress and aches of traveling. Traditionally, you’ll have to wait for your water heater to heat up nicely before you could take that much-needed relaxing shower. But with the Rinnai Smart Cylinder, you can have hot water as soon as you enter the door.

You simply set it to vacation mode, select the number of days you will be away for and the cylinder takes care of the rest. It keeps the water at a minimum temperature (6°C) while you are away to save power and keep the water from freezing in colder areas. After the specified period, the cylinder automatically reverts back to the operating mode you have selected before vacation was set.

  • Manual Mode – This mode operates the Rinnai Smart Cylinder as a traditional electric hot water cylinder. It’s most useful when you are having guests over. You simply set it using the mode button to make sure water is permanently maintained at a temperature.

NOTEWORTHY FEATURES

There are few other things that make the Rinnai Smart Cylinder a great option for hot water cylinder for your home.

rinnai_smart_cylinder_180L_features

  • A water level indicator
    Just above the shower symbol, there are visual levels that show the estimated amount of hot water available (occurs in iQ mode). The default setting (level 3) achieves energy savings whilst it ensures you have enough hot water available.
  • Maintenance/error indicator

This features makes troubleshooting easy. If something is wrong with the cylinder, an error code is indicated by the maintenance logo, the error code number and a flashing background light.

  • Child lock
    Prevent unwanted access to the control pad to keep the whole family safe.
  • Biosafe operation

The Rinnai Smart Cylinder meets the New Zealand Building Code requirement to disinfect water for legionella bacteria. To ensure water safety, the system performs heating above 60 °C whenever it detects risk conditions (<60 °C for 21 days).

CONS

The Rinnai Smart Cylinder is ideal for households that have a consistent pattern of hot water use. Otherwise, its iQ mode will not be accurate and will provide little advantage in terms of cost savings.

The smart cylinder doesn’t work for an open loop solar or hot water heat pump system, and it’s strictly for indoor use. You can’t use it as a pool or spa heater.

The Verdict

The Rinnai Smart Cylinder is a reliable appliance all in all. It does its job well and even saves you money. Its smart features offer benefits that are well worth the upgrade from gas, if you’re ever considering it.

ecospring_es300_hot_water_heat_pump

Ecospring 300L Heat Pump Hot Water Cylinder

We will be doing a new series in our monthly blogs, reviewing products from our range and providing you with the information you need to help you make an educated decision when selecting a hot water system for your home.

Have you heard of the Ecospring ES300? This is a 300L heat pump hot water cylinder unit designed to provide you efficient water heating but utilising a heat pump system to heat your water. How does heat pump water heater work?

The basic process is as follows. A fan draws in air through an evaporator. Thermal energy from the air is transferred to a liquid refrigerant causing it to change into a gas.The refrigerant gas is then drawn into a compressor which increases its pressure and thus increases the temperature. A condenser or heat exchanger then transports the hot gas refrigerant around the outside of the water tank. This heats the water inside the tank and the gaseous refrigerant transforms back into a liquid. The pressure of the refrigerant is reduced as it goes through an expansion valve and returns to the evaporator for the process to start again.

ecospring_es300_hot_water_heat_pumpSo why is the Ecospring ES300 a good option for a heat pump water heater?

PROS OF THIS PRODUCT

The Ecospring 300L heat pump water heater is a very efficient water heating unit, with a large storage capacity for ensuring you have a large amount of hot water on hand for when you need it. Being large enough for a 3+ person household, this unit is an excellent choice for families and larger homes. It also has the ability to switch to e-Heater mode, which means it runs like a normal electric hot water cylinder, without the heat pump. This is useful in cold conditions, where this is not enough heat in the air for the heat pump to work efficiently.

The Ecospring ES300 is a bit more expensive than similar competitor units, so you may have to pay a bit more for your initial investment, but you will also be getting a bit more for your money. E.g: Unlike similar models with 2 KW elements, the Ecospring includes a 3KW immersion element which kicks in at a predetermined temperature to ensure quick recovery when high usage occurs. We highly recommended you put specs next to each other when comparing products and then ask yourself the question “why?”. It’s good to make an educated decision with such investments.

On the Ecospring ES300, the heat pump is built into the cylinder, making it compact and affordable in comparison to buying both parts separate, like you would with a traditional heat pump unit. It also contains the following features:

Advanced Controls. The advanced EcoSpring Heat Pump Hot Water Cylinders allow you to control your own hot water requirements with an easy to use Control Panel.

Hybrid Mode. While the unit uses the heat pump as its primary means to heat the water, the standard electric elements will activate if the ambient air temperature is below -7°C.

e-Heater Mode. This mode shuts off the heat pump and only uses the electric elements to heat the water, just like a standard electric water heater. eHeat mode allows for operation in colder situations (less than -7°C) where the heat pump would not function ideally.

Indoor/Outdoor installation. Designed to withstand weather, this unit can be installed inside or outside. It has a standard electrical connection, standard cold water inlet and hot water outlet.

What is a COP value?

COP – Coefficient Of Performance – Is the measurement of efficiency of refrigerant systems including heat pumps.The COP value is the ratio between energy usage of the compressor and the amount of useful heat extracted from the condenser in a heat pump. A high COP number represents a high efficiency. For a heat pump, a COP of 4 means that 1 kW of electric energy is required to produce 4 kW of heat at the condenser. On the evaporator side, 3.0-3.5 kW of heat is extracted. The additional heat is produced by the compressor. For a heat pumps, COPh is generally used as it is a slightly different measurement to that of a refrigerant system. In this abbreviation ‘h’ means heating.

The COP rating in (W/W) of the Ecospring ES300 is:

COP (W/W)
Economy 3.60
Hybrid 3.60
E-heater 1.00

pdf Ecospring 300 manual PDF

CONS OF THIS PRODUCT

What are the biggest challenges for heat pump hot water cylinders?

While these units are very efficient, the best of these units are more expensive than electric units and can be more prone to failure than electric water heaters. Installation is also trickier, as they need a supply of warm air to be able to run efficiently. This can be a disadvantage in colder climates and during the winter.

Cold Weather Performance

Heat pump cylinders are not an optimal choice for homes in cold climates. Since they draw heat from the surrounding air, their benefit is marginal at colder temperatures.

Indoor Installation Challenges

Because of how these cylinders work, indoor installation is not ideal if it is not a split system. The problem being that the heat pump extracts the heat from the air around it, which means it exhausts cool air. if the unit is installed in an enclosed area, it will cool that air very quickly and keep feeding on it’s own colder air. This means that the heat pump will have less heat to extract from the surrounding air, slowing down the heating process, wasting power and extending the run time of your heat pump every time it runs to heat your water.

A heat pump needs a good air flow around it, it needs to be able to get fresh warm air in on one side and somewhere to push the cold air away. With split systems, the heat pump can be installed outside and the tank inside, and they work very well in this way.

Noise

They do make a low humming sound similar to an air conditioner while operating. This should be taken into account when deciding where to install the unit.

Repair Costs

It is common with heat pump cylinders that you will be facing repairs very soon after the warranty expires, which is coincidentally around the time your investment begins to pay itself off.

VALUE FOR MONEY

At this point you will no doubt be asking if it is worth investing in this hot water heat pump and what the pay off rate will be. This will depend on your needs and installation. If you need big storage but don’t use a lot of hot water regularly, a heat pump water heater is worth the investment as it can save you up to 65% or even more on energy costs. This means a quick rate of payback for a superior water heating system. You will not be left without hot water any more so than what you would be with a regular electric cylinder, if you are a heavy hot water user.

FINAL STATEMENT

A heat pump water heater is definitely a good choice for high hot water users, providing an immediate ROI, with the water heating systems being up to 300% more efficient than conventional water heating systems. And the Ecospring ES300 is no back bencher. If you are looking for a heat pump water heater that is extremely efficient and will make sure you will always have hot water waiting for you, you can’t go wrong with the Ecospring ES300.

Alternative Product ComparisonBosch_compress_3000_hot_water_heat_pump

The Ecospring ES300 is similar to the Bosch 3000 heat pump hot water cylinder unit. The Bosch 3000 unit is an excellent German made unit, however it is made with German conditions in mind. Due to their cold winters, this unit has been designed to run effectively in very cold weather. While this is an excellent positive, and means that it needs to work less to achieve a high kW output in New Zealand where it gets no where near as cold. However, it only comes in 2kW element configuration. It takes a long time to heat 300L of water with a 2kW, and if hot water is in high demand, this unit might not keep up and your teenagers may end up having cold showers. This means that while you will save on energy costs, but it will require a change of lifestyle to adapt to using this unit.

Bosch 3000 Features

• Highly efficient heat pump – reduces energy use by up to 65% when compared to conventional electric storage
• Eligible for generous government rebates
• Smart Controls to:
• Allow user to set operating time systems
• Operate with PV solar electric systems to optimise energy efficiency
• Low noise performance and additional noise reduction timer function
• Designed for easy and low-cost install and servicing
• The heat pump operates from -7°C to 40°C, delivering energy efficient hot water even in colder climates

We currently have a deal on our Ecospring 300L Hot Water Heat Pump with free shipping. Have a look at our online store and buy yours today!