A household name in South Africa for more than 114 years as a supplier of electric hot water heaters, or ‘geysers’, Kwikot has evolved into a truly hi-tech energy supplier and, with the acquisition of the Kwikot Group by Swedish multinational home appliance manufacturer, Electrolux, a one stop-shop for kitchen and bathroom concepts.
“The heart of the Kwikot business is still in domestic and commercial water heating’ said Paul Rawsthorne, Western Cape Regional division Sales manager, “but gone are the days of the simple energy hungry geyser that would probably only last five years.”
The combined pressures of legislation, increased energy costs and environmental concerns of water and energy usage has led the world to exploit solar energy and produce machines such as heat pumps and gas appliances that are affordable for domestic use.
“South African legislation has caught up with the worldwide trends in hi-tech domestic and commercial water heating with the imposition of standards which dictate that at least 50% of hot water requirements in new builds must be supplied by solar, heat pumps or gas installations. While electrically heated geysers are still permitted for the next few years at least, B rated energy products will be the preferred choice” he said.
Kwikot currently enjoy a 75% market share in the Southern African hot water supply industry with geyser sales in the Cape region alone of 4 500 per month and nationally, about 360 000 pa.
“We cater for the complete range of water heating solutions from the energy efficient superline 400 dual electric water heaters, through to a complete range of direct and indirect solar offerings and heat pumps, to a range of gas water heaters with all pipework, fitting and accessories for a complete, safe, reliable and energy efficient installation” explained Rawsthorne.
He commented that new and technically advanced products require expert installation and many people have been disappointed with results of hi-tech equipment installed by low-tech installers. “To fully realise the potential of these new advanced products, it is essential that the home owner in particular only employs accredited installers and investigates the sometimes superlative claims made by the unscrupulous or technically inept installation companies. “This is the reason that we have an extensive showroom and training facility which is open to anyone to inspect, where we can provide professional advice of correct sizing and that supports a superior product range” he said.
The Kwikot range is truly extensive and energy efficient.
The superline 400 dual electric water heaters for example, are up to 50% more energy efficient than conventional geysers (B rated instead of D rated), are renewables ready for solar or heat pump retrofit and can be installed either horizontally or vertically. Long gone are copper inner cylinders, replaced by glass coated enamel fused to a steel core and surrounded by polyurethane insulation between cylinder and outer galvanised casement which is 128% thicker than before, resulting in 50% better energy retention. Replaceable sacrificial anodes protect the inner cylinder from electrolytic degradation.
On the solar front, two types of Kwilsol solar heaters are offered – indirect – for frost locations and direct for frost free regions. Both systems offer solar collector panel and vacuum tube types in a variety of internally or externally mounted close coupled cylinder thermosiphon or solar pump powered configurations. Integral or retro fitted types are available in different capacities from 100 – 300 litres.
Cistern type solar installations have become a common sight in low cost housing developments where homes do not have an electric water heater or no access to electricity such as in in rural areas.
Kwikpump are Kwikot’s range of domestic and industrial heat pumps which heat water at about 1/3 of the cost of a conventional geyser. Heat pumps operating system is the reverse of a standard refrigerator and has the advantage of extracting heat from the surrounding atmosphere, virtually irrespective of external air temperature. Heat pumps are used in conjunction with hot water cylinders or solar systems and are generally micro-computer controlled. An integrated heat pump / storage tank system is also available.
The range of Gasmate forced and natural draft instantaneous gas water heaters is a popular alternative in certain situations where instant hot water is required for hand basins, kitchen prep bowls, wash troughs and bathroom wash basins. Forced draft units are mounted externally and are suitable for both showering and bathing, while the natural draft models can be mounted internally. Both types use LPG for heating which is ignited by an electrical impulse activated via a water pressure sensor triggered when a water tap is opened.
“We cater for any hot water requirement – residential, commercial or industrial – with quality products that have stood the test of time. Our showroom and training facilities are open to anyone – just call for an appointment” concluded Rawsthorne.