Not all heat pumps are the same
"The disturbing news that a major manufacturer has needed to issue a safety recall on all its packaged air to water heat pumps, the majority of which have been installed in residential applications, highlights a number of important issues that should have been addressed much sooner and that we have warned industry about in the past." Claimed Neil Afram, Managing Director of Space Air Solutions Ltd., the domestic air to water heat pump division of Space Airconditioning plc.
"For this manufacturer, a recall may be the only practicable option given that, in many cases, the original installers may not have the legally required minimum qualifications to carry out repair work or replace faulty components. Space Air has always maintained that to provide complete peace of mind and customer confidence in any burgeoning technology, particularly in the residential sector, the establishment of a comprehensive, pre and after- sales product support infrastructure must take priority over volume sales." Said Mr Afram.
"Of course, it is essential that you start with a high quality product, one that is designed, manufactured and tested to rigorous standards." Continued Mr Afram, whose company has been distributing Daikin products in the UK since 1980. "But even if you have that advantage it is vital to ensure this is matched with the highest standards of application expertise, installation and maintenance, in an infrastructure that includes well trained and qualified installers who understand the technology involved. Space Air goes even further by insisting that we, or one of our appointed specialists, commissions each installation as a final check that everything is in order and that an appropriate maintenance programme is in place." Said Afram.
Mark Houghton, Commercial Director at Space Air Solutions commented, "This incident must not be interpreted as a general cause for concern regarding the safety or reliability of air to water heat pumps. However, it was a mistake to market the type of heat pump involved in this case to be a simple "connect up and switch on" unit, suitable to be supplied to or installed by those who have only limited knowledge of heat pumps and are not qualified to carry out maintenance and repair works. Despite claims that the rather dramatic 'explosion' was an isolated occurrence, we believe the comprehensive recall and cancellation of sales, confirms a failure to put product support and customer care before volume sales and profits. "We want to assure our customers and those considering air to water heat pump installations in the future, that there are no safety or reliability issues with the Daikin "Altherma" range."
Houghton continued "Space Air, with 30 years experience as a Daikin Distributor has been at the forefront of developing the residential market for Daikin air to water heat pumps and offers unique support services for both the installation contractor and the end-user, designed to instil complete confidence in what is a relatively new concept in the UK." "We are in no doubt that air to water heat pumps, particularly those manufactured by Daikin and supplied by Space Air Solutions are a safe, reliable and efficient alternative to fossil fuel central heating systems." Concluded Houghton.