By Mark Smith, Chief Revenue Officer, Sunamp | June 2022
Up until two years ago, despite a long career in the heating installation industry, I had never heard of a Sunamp heat battery.
Then, in my previous job, I discovered their potential. I commissioned a project to install 364 Sunamp heat batteries in a complex of seven tower blocks in the UK and shortly after, I moved to work at Sunamp. Today, I’m their biggest fan.
No longer the new kid on the block, the demand for Sunamp’s thermal batteries which store heat in phase change materials (PCMs) is growing fast. So far, over 20,000 heat batteries have been installed in homes across the country.
Why do I want to share my enthusiasm with colleagues across the plumbing and heating engineering industries? I’ve got eight reasons.
1. They are easy to install
Simplicity is the real ace in the pack when it comes to the Sunamp heat battery. It takes half the time to install a Thermino battery for domestic hot water than a hot water cylinder does because it can be easily fitted to pretty much any pre-existing type of plumbing system.
It’s “plug and play” whether the existing power source is a conventional boiler, an air source heat pump, solar PV or direct mains electricity. There’s no drilling through walls for overflow, no discharge or pressure relief pipework and no ancillary fittings.
2. They are flexible to fit
The Thermino heat batteries are as much as four times smaller than the hot water cylinder alternative, roughly the size of a combi boiler, and can be fitted in a corner of a garage, airing cupboard, under the sink or under the stairs. This removes a great deal of the hassle factor for the fitter and is attractive to customers as it frees up storage or cupboard space.
The pipework itself is also very flexible as the plumber fitting the battery can choose whether to have the pipework coming from the top, the back or either side. As heat batteries are usually replacing existing systems, this means it’s easy to cut into existing pipework and re-connect.
3. The “fit and forget” factor
Once the heat battery is installed, that’s it. The installation does not have to be registered and there’s no paperwork to complete.
There’s no stored water in a heat battery so there’s no requirement for advising customers about procedures for Legionella checks or annual servicing.
The Sunamp heat battery has a 10-year warranty which gives the customer confidence and also means the installer is unlikely to be called back to the job to deal with a problem in the future.
4. No mandatory qualification required
There are no mandatory qualifications required, which means there are no training or registration time and costs.
5. Free training available
Whilst you don’t have to wait for training to take up an opportunity to fit a Sunamp battery, there are advantages to being a trained, approved installer and a colleague in our network. Information about training opportunities is regularly posted here.
6. Reduces carbon footprint
Sunamp heat batteries are four times more energy efficient than equivalent hot water cylinders, better insulated and therefore reduce energy use, especially when fitted as part of modern, low carbon, energy-efficient system. This is obviously attractive for customers looking to reduce their carbon footprint, as well as saving money.
7. Renewable future proofing for customers
For customers who aren’t sure whether they have the commitment or budget to switch over to a comprehensive renewable system, the heat battery can allow them to take the first step by swapping their old hot water cylinder for a Thermino providing immediate benefits of lower heat losses, lower energy use and saving space in the home. By choosing a heat battery that would be compatible with a heat pump in the future, that bigger investment decision can be made later.
8. It makes financial sense for both fitters and customers
At face value, a heat battery may appear to be more expensive than an unvented hot water cylinder but if you factor in that it’s twice as quick to fit and there are no costs for pipework, fittings or registration, the total “supply and fit” cost for the customer is likely to be just marginally more expensive.
And, for that cost, a customer has a more efficient system, leading to lower energy bills and a very valuable 10-year warranty. For a plumber, it’s fit and forget in half the time, meaning two battery installs per day versus one cylinder.
The Sunamp heat battery has the potential to unlock considerable opportunities for plumbers and heating engineers.
And the word is getting out there. I’ve just picked up a social media post on our website from a plumber which read “Just fitted my first Sunamp – allowed 4 hours for a cylinder fit – did it in 2.” I said it was simple!
If you’d like to find out more, our UK website has a dedicated information hub for installers, stockists, plumbers and specifiers with heat battery instruction manuals, product data sheets, training information and much more.
About the author
Mark Smith, Sunamp’s Chief Revenue Officer, spent 40 years in the industry as a heating engineer, before taking responsibility at Sunamp for developing and delivering innovative carbon reduction initiatives. Here, the “poacher turned gamekeeper” explains the huge opportunities offered by heat batteries for plumbers and heating engineers to increase their revenue or simplify their existing businesses.