Trust is hard to build, but easy to break.
At Aquatherm, we’d like to think we’ve earned the trust of the hundreds of thousands of pool owners around the world using our solar pool heaters every day, and that of the the companies that have installed those systems over the past 26 years.
We’d also like to think that our products offer the highest performance, safety & durability, and quality available.
But, any manufacturer can claim that their product is the “best” (and they do). So, 3rd party organizations are helpful in sorting fact from fiction when researching solar pool heaters.
In this article, we’ll touch on a few of those organizations of varying statewide, national, and global importance.
State: Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC)
A research institute of the University of Central Florida (UCF), FSEC was created by the Florida Legislature in 1975 to serve as the state’s energy research institute, and was the first established state testing and rating program. Any solar pool heating system installed in the state of Florida must be certified by the Florida Solar Energy Center.
In October 2013, Aquatherm set an FSEC record when we received a certified performance rating of 1,100 Btus per square foot.
National: Solar Rating & Certification Corporation (SRCC)
A certification program established solely for solar thermal products in the United States. SRCC was the first of its kind, and remained the only national performance certification organization for years until recently.
Global: International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials (IAPMO)
Unlike SRCC, which is relevant only within the United States, IAPMO is recognized around the world as the preeminent certification body for plumbing, electrical, and solar products. IAPMO certification complies with all applicable North American codes and standards and is recognized by Federal and state agencies.
As of the date of this article, Aquatherm is the only manufacturer of solar pool heaters to be performance-certified by IAPMO.
Safety, Durability, and Toxicity
National Sanitation Foundation Standard 50 (NSF-50) Certification
A recreational aquatic equipment standard, NSF-50 compliance is required in most states on any equipment in the filtration loop of public or commercial swimming pools, spas and other recreational water facilities like water parks. In order to become certified, a solar pool heating system is subjected to rigorous operational and pressure testing, including:
- Hydro-static pressure testing at 1.5x the working pressure;
- Design burst pressure testing at 2.0x the working pressure (100 PSI at 140°F);
- A 20,000 cycle high/low pressure test.
In addition, toxicity testing ensures a solar pool heating collector (and the water it is heating) is free from unacceptable levels of contaminants (BPA, lead, etc.). Though NSF-50 is a commercial standard, it is every bit as important in a residential pool application. NSF-50 ensures a pool owner peace of mind knowing their solar heater will provide safe, clean, warm water for years to come.
As of the date of this article, Aquatherm is the only US manufacturer of NSF-50 listed solar pool heating systems, and one of only two worldwide.
The International Organization of Standardization (ISO) Standard 9001 represents an international consensus on Quality Management System (QMS) best practices. It ensures the use of effective processes, which are consistently monitored and continually improved, with the aim of ensuring that an organization can repeatedly deliver products and services that meet the customer’s quality requirements.
An organization is audited annually and must demonstrate a company-wide understanding of the ISO 9001:2008 Standard and show sound, documented quality management processes.
A registered and certified Quality Management System (QMS) provides continuous improvements in:
- Reduced resource inefficiencies;
- Improved deliverables quality;
- Enhanced customer satisfaction.
This voluntary achievement confirms a company’s unwavering commitment to quality-of-service standards, and lets customers know that the company adheres to documented processes and procedures that ensure ongoing improvements in delivering global customer support.
Aquatherm has been an ISO 9001:2008 Registered Company since 2011, and is one of only two ISO-registered manufacturers of solar pool heaters in the world.