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HEAT PUMPS


Heat Pumps – Making The Right Choice


HEAT PUMPS ARE GREAT AT REDUCING ENERGY BILLS AND PROVIDE AN ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY WAY TO HEAT POOLS, BUT CHOOSING THE RIGHT ONE HAS NEVER BEEN MORE CRUCIAL. BUYERS ARE TEMPTED TOWARDS POORER PERFORMING MODELS BASED ON PRICE AND APPARENT GOOD SPECIFICATION WHILST FOR LARGER POOLS, THE NEW ENERGY RELATED PRODUCTS (ERP) DIRECTIVE IS NOW IN EFFECT TOO By Jon Wadeson


EU ECO-DESIGN DIRECTIVE HITS COMMERCIAL POOL HEAT PUMPS


More widely known as the EU Directive which prevented the sale of popular types of light bulbs, the ‘Eco-Design’ Directive was extended further and has had


an impact upon most products with air movement fans, including pool heat pumps. These Energy Related Products Directives (ERP) are intended to enforce improved energy efficiency within the EU by legally restricting the ability for consumers to exercise their own preferences regarding product specification.


Regulation EU 327/2011 which came into effect in January, is the first phase of new regulations which require all equipment imported in to Europe that contain a fan with an input power of more than 125W to comply with minimum fan efficiencies. Its implementation immediately resulted in a significant proportion of all such fans being withdrawn from sale.


Calorex Managing Director Richard Carrington said: “These regulations highlight the technical gap between European and many overseas manufacturers. Many are still totally focused on bottom line price and copying elementary designs without putting any investment in research and development including regulatory compliance with CE.” There is little respite, because the directive changes once again in 2015 to become even more strenuous. This is likely to prove an equally


www.swimmingpoolnews.co.uk Example of a typical non-complying heat pump fan


significant development for all involved in the sale of products incorporating such fans, like heat pumps which are subject to the same restriction.


Industry expert Paul Scott, Technical Director at Heatstar Ltd believes it probable that older heat pump product stock is now unlikely to be able to be legally sold without being modified and upgrading. Likewise, even with heat pumps manufactured recently, it would still be prudent to obtain proof that the product is fully certificated to Regulation EU327/2011 and that the certification is genuine, especially if the product is not manufactured within the EU. Otherwise there is a risk of breaking the law if such a product is offered for re-sale. Note that all liability to ensure legal compliance of a heat pump product purchased from outside the EU lies solely with the individual or company that has imported it - there is no legal responsibility at all upon the overseas manufacturer for either the product offered or it’s supporting documentation. With a similar regulation affecting pool filtration pumps now also on the horizon, the implications of the Eco-Design Directive will continue to be a hot topic for the swimming pool industry.


I


n the UK, there’s no industry standard when it comes to rating the output capacity of a pool heat pump and while they continue to be an industry best seller,


there’s a widely held view that too many pool owners are tempted to buy the wrong product for the wrong pool thanks to hard to ignore prices but also incorrect performance claims too.


When it comes to choosing a heat pump, there are literally dozens of brands to choose from. However, over 75% of the world’s heat pumps come out of the Far East and only a handful of the manufacturers have proper quality control at every stage of production in place that is good enough to satisfy the tough and demanding European market. Add to that the lack of an industry standard for rating the output capacity of a swimming pool heat pump and you can easily see why many brands may be rated on a completely different set of operating conditions and that selection guides may not be geared specifically for the colder UK climate. Calorex recently tested four of the best selling imported models, comparing their own claims with their actual performance and shortfall against claimed figures ranged from 28% to a whopping 44%!


Now you get some idea of the challenges within the market. Paul Scott, Technical Director of Heatstar Limited is aware of the problems in the market and says: “To avoid any ‘misunderstandings’ about product selections, installers should establish the basic criteria with both the customer and their supplier and make sure it is in writing. The key criteria should include the surface area of the pool, a view on how many hours per day a surface cover will be used, the target pool water temperature and the intended swimming season – perhaps May to September.


The introduction of a standard to independently measure the performance of heat pumps would be a long overdue benefit for suppliers and the customers in the pool industry according to HeatPumps4Pools Managing Director David Morris.


SPN April 2013 77


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