FAQ

The five most frequently asked questions

Why do people save water and energy with Amphiro?

The amphiro device displays water and energy consumption during and after showering. The user is thus provided with all the information required for greater awareness of energy – without being dictated to by automatic fittings or flow limiters. Data alone however does not result in savings. Our feedback instruments are therefore based on an exact balance of “nudges” (gentle prods in the direction of the desired behaviour), which we have tested and finely tuned in studies involving over 3,000 households and more than 400,000 showers. With Amphiro, real-time feedback goes hand in hand with social norms, goal setting and playful competitive components. This is the only way that technology is able to develop its desired effect and motivate users to reduce their energy consumption while showering.

 

Does the device send any kind of data?

amphiro a1 and amphiro a1 basic: No, the device does not send any data. However you can regularly (approximately once a month) enter the online code, which is generated and displayed during every shower. This can be done manually on the amphiro user portal (www.amphiro.com/portal). This online code contains average values (water consumption, temperature, number of showers) in encrypted form. The data entered into the portal is only evaluated by Amphiro and by researchers from ETH Zurich and the University of Bamberg for research purposes.

amphiro b1 connect: Yes, if your mobile phone is connected with the device and is situated within a vicinity of less than 10 metres, the device will transmit data (water and energy consumption, temperature, flow rate) of individual showers to your phone and from there into the amphiro cloud. The data is stored on servers in Switzerland. It will only be used for the provision of services and, in an anonymised form (i.e. not including your name and your address or any other information that could be used to identify you), for the purposes of research.

 

Can I transmit data to any mobile telephone?

Only amphiro b1 connect can transmit data to mobile phones. Your phone needs Bluetooth 4.0 for this. This is the case for all Apple phones from version 4S. You can also synchronise your data with many new Android devices, however we are not yet able to ensure that this works for all Android phones. We expand the number of compatible devices every week.

 

A strange message like “AAAA 000” appeared on my device. Is this an error or a warning? (only a1 and a1 basic)

This is just a normal operation for the amphiro. This relates to the online code that you can input into the amphiro portal (www.amphiro.com/portal) for the purpose of finding out more about your average personal consumption while showering. The online code is not an identification number for your amphiro device: the online code itself contains the current average values of your consumption to date. For every shower you take, the average values for the last 150 showers are calculated. There is thus a high likelihood that a different online code will be displayed for every shower. We recommend entering the online code into the online portal approximately once a month.

 

Are two showers counted separately if two people shower within a short period of time?

If the second person showers before the display for the first person has turned off, the device will calculate this as one single shower, in the same way as it does for an interruption to an individual shower e.g. when applying soap. The consumption metering for the second person thus does not start at zero, but rather follows on from the end meter reading of the pervious person’s shower. As soon as the display turns off after three minutes, the device can then begin at zero for the next shower. The display will turn off within three minutes of the water flow being turned off.

General Questions

What is the purpose of the amphiro; why should I install the device?

Although Switzerland and Central Europe is a water-rich region, many people are unaware of the high energy requirements needed for preparing hot water. 16 % of the energy required in a household can typically be attributed to preparing hot water – the majority of this is for showers and baths. To compare: Cooking and lighting generate approximately 5 % of energy requirements in a household. The amphiro allows you to gain an overview of your consumption in the shower. You can thus monitor your efficiency goals or simply develop a feeling for your personal energy requirements when showering. This information aids you in using heat energy in a conscious way and motivates you towards the more sustainable use of valuable resources. For example, the amphiro can help a 3-person household to reduce their annual consumption when showering by an average of 645 kWh heat energy as well as 11 500 l drinking and waste water – that amounts to savings of more than 20 % when compared with original consumption.

 

Where does the energy/ water savings effect come from when using the amphiro?

Numerous studies have shown that an attractively designed consumption meter promotes the necessary awareness and motivates you to become more economical in your use of drinking water. Users learn how to better estimate and control their own impact on the environment. Participants in two different studies saved over 20 % more water and energy using the amphiro shower consumption meter.

 

Which water and energy consumption values are displayed?

The device displays the water and energy consumption of individual showers as well as the current shower temperature and energy efficiency class. After a short interruption, such as to apply soap or shave for example, the device continues to meter. Only after a long interruption does the device switch itself off and begin to measure again from zero.

 

What is important for energy consumption while showering? How can I reduce consumption?

Essentially, energy consumption while showering depends on how many litres of water you consume and the temperature of the water. The hotter the water while showering, the more energy is needed to prepare it; and the more water you use, the more energy you consume. The volume of water is essentially influenced by two factors: the length of the shower on the one hand and the rate of the flow on the other. The longer you shower (using hot water), the more open the water tap is during the process and the more water and energy is consumed. Another recommended option to reduce your consumption is to purchase a modern water economiser or water-efficient showerhead which reduces the flow rate.

 

Does the device reduce the water flow?

Ever so slightly. For showerheads with a high flow rate, slight reductions in the flow of water may occur. For modern showerheads, only a very slight fall in pressure should be perceptible, if at all.

 

Is the device waterproof?

The device has been very carefully protected from the ingress of water. It may be exposed to the flow of water from the showerhead or fall into the water – however it should not lie permanently in water. If it remains lying in the bathtub, the difference in temperature can lead to the ingress of water in the medium-term, which will permanently destroy the device.

 

Who is behind amphiro?

The device was developed by Amphiro AG, a spin-off company of ETH Zurich. The accompanying research is carried out by researchers at ETH Zurich as well as at the universities of Bamberg and Bonn and the National University Singapore. Numerous accompanying research projects have been supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE).

Installation of the amphiro

Can I connect the device directly to the taps (more precisely: between the tap and the showerhead hose) or does it have to be connected directly to the showerhead?

No, the amphiro must be directly connected to the shower.In particular, the meter must be correctly aligned during operation (the numbers must not be upside down permanently) as otherwise water may ingress into the device and permanently destroy it.

 

When the amphiro is fitted to the shower rod, the display faces in the direction of the wall. How can I rotate the device so that I have a good view of the display at all times?

Slightly loosen the union nut (screw connection) between the short installation hose and the showerhead (a quarter or half rotation is sufficient). You can now turn the device on the installation hose to the desired position. Now hold the installation hose or the showerhead in place and turn the screw connection (union nut) tight again with the other hand. Please do not rotate the device without having first loosened the screw connection; this can damage the installation hose or screw connection.

 

For which shower types is the device suitable?

Shower connections conform to international standards meaning that the device is suitable for almost every shower with a handheld showerhead (1/2-inch thread). Installation on fixed showerheads is not recommended. For showers with several showerheads, only the water consumption of the shower where the device is installed will be taken into consideration. Some showerheads have a 3/8-inch thread. If you require an adapter connector for a 3/8-inch thread, please contact info@amphiro.com

 

Can I also use the device outside of the shower, to measure flow and energy quantities?

No, the amphiro has been designed and built only for showers, it is not recommended for use in other areas.

 

I am having problems installing the device. What could be the reason for this?

Please note the three steps for correct installation from the User Manual. Take care that the device is the right way around (see the User Manual). Due to the standard thread, you should be able to install the handheld showerhead in almost any shower. If the two threads have different sizes, you probably have a showerhead with a 3/8-inch thread. If you require a connection adaptor, please get in contact with info@amphiro.com.

Display contents: energy consumption, measurement accuracy and polar bear

What do the letters on the top left mean?

The characters at the top left represent the energy efficiency class. Every shower starts out in the energy efficiency class A+ (= low consumption). With increasing energy consumption while showering, the device changes to increasingly less efficient classes, A -> B -> C -> D -> E -> F -> G (each with fine adjustment A+, A, A- etc.). G- is the worst efficiency class.

 

How are the energy efficiency classes defined?

The energy efficiency classes relate to the typical energy consumption of a shower. “A” means low energy consumption, while “G” means an extremely high consumption of energy for a shower.

 

What does kWh mean actually?

A kilowatt hour. A kilowatt hour is the amount of energy required to power a 1,000-Watt device for one hour. For example, with one kilowatt hour it is possible to power 67 energy-saving lamps (15 W) for one hour, operate one energy-saving lamp for 67 hours, and to operate one conventional television (183 W) for 5.5 hours.

 

Why do I sometimes enter a better energy efficiency class with the same or even a higher water consumption?

The efficiency class is calculated from the temperature and the volume of flow. For example using 42 litres and showering at 30 °C will put you in efficiency class B-.However using 42 litres and showering at 37 °C will put you in efficiency class C.

 

How accurate is the water consumption meter?

The meter has an accuracy +/- 8 % at a flow rate of 12 litres/minute, a typical value when showering. Larger deviations may occur at other flow rates. If you identify larger deviations, please get in contact with info@amphiro.com.

 

How accurate is the displayed energy consumption?

The energy consumption displayed (in kWh) is simply an indication of the amount of heat contained in the consumed water and does not take into consideration the degree of efficiency for heating nor losses during transportation. The displayed value corresponds to a defined minimum consumption at 100 % degree of efficiency for hot water generation. Depending on the water heater (age, type of heater), the actual value may be up to 100 % higher than displayed on the device. The energy consumption is calculated from the flow volume and the water temperature (water quantity x temperature difference to reference flow x heating capacity). The water temperature is continually measured during operation; the cold water reference point is drawn from regional average values for the calculation.

 

What is the meaning of the polar bear on its ice floe?

The polar bear animation is intended to be a reminder of the long-term effects of energy consumption and the resulting CO2 emissions. The animation is to be understood figuratively; a high energy consumption contributes to an increase in climate change and thus endangers future habitats of people and animals. Households make a significant contribution to global energy consumption and CO2 emissions, with a growing tendency. The worse the efficiency class, the smaller the shell the polar bear stands on; from an efficiency class of F+ or worse, the bear and the ice floe disappear entirely.

 

Is my consumption high or low?What is “normal” consumption?

The energy efficiency class is an initial indication of whether your energy consumption while showering is low (A) or high (G). At a water temperature of 37 degrees, the following applies: Less than 25 litres per shower means you belong to the most economical households in Europe; above 36 litres and you are considered to be a high consumer.

Automatic shutdown and disconnection of shower processes

How is it possible for the device to work entirely without power or batteries and why does the display switch off after a few minutes?

The device does not contain any batteries and generates its power for the display from the water flow. This drives a small turbine inside the device. The device thus switches itself on at each shower as soon as water runs through the device. In the process a small capacitor is charged, which also keeps the display on for a few minutes after the end of the shower. As soon as this energy is consumed, the display switches off; however at the latest after three minutes.

 

Does the display switch itself off if I turn off the water to apply soap?

No. After a short interruption, subsequent water consumption will still be assigned to the same shower. Only if the display has been switched off without any water flow for three minutes will the water consumption be calculated as a separate shower after the interruption (it will start at zero again).

 

Can I make the device switch off earlier so that I can begin a new measurement (at zero)?

No, this is not possible for this version of the device. Please wait (maximum) three minutes until the device has switched off. From this point in time it begins to count again from zero.

 

Alongside the handheld showerhead of the shower, I often draw water through the bath tap or through an additional side shower outlet or fixed showerhead. Will the device display the entire water consumption?

No. The amphiro will only display the values from the flow through the showerhead on which it is installed. The water consumption from a different showerhead is not taken into consideration.

Only for a1 and a1 basic: Questions about the online-code

What is the online code all about?

For every shower a new online code is calculated based on previous consumption values. It contains information on the average water and energy consumption for your last 150 showers. To interpret this data and find out more, you can read off and write down the current online code approximately once a month and enter it into the amphiro portal (www.amphiro.com/portal). Depending on the device, the online code will appear for a short time either after the shower or after consuming 10 litres of water.

 

What does the online code mean? When my amphiro displays a word, does that mean anything?

The online code is a type of shorthand in order to transmit the most important data on your consumption in an abbreviated form to the amphiro portal. You can thus generate personalised feedback on your shower consumption, free of charge. It is not possible to derive direct information just from the numbers displayed. Even if the order of the letter should coincidently form a word (“FLAT”, CARS”, “COOL”, “LOTS, “STOP” etc.), this is not a message but instead a purely random result of the coding.

Only for a1 and a1 basic: the online portal

When can I read off the online code and how can I make it display for longer so that I have time to note it down?

There are two different versions of the device. One version displays the online code at the end of the shower once again, alternating with the water consumption and the energy consumption. You thus have three minutes each time to note down the online code before the device automatically switches off.

The other version of the device displays the online code only once during the shower, at the point when the device displays 10.0 litres. The display of water consumption with the polar bear that you normally see is then replaced with the word “code” for three seconds. After this, the current online code will be displayed for five seconds. Of course, five seconds is a very short period of time to note down combinations of letters and numbers such as these. However, four things to note in this respect:

– It is not intended that you note the online code every shower, but only approximately once a month.

– You can read off the online code in your own time by turning off the water completely as soon as the word “code” or the online code itself appears. The online code will remain in place until the water is turned on again or until the device switches itself off

– It is probably more convenient if you do not have to note down the online code when you are wet and covered in soap under the shower. Instead draw 10 litres of water at a different point in time through the device (you can then use the water for watering the flowers, for example).

– If you are unable to note down the online code at the time, you can simply wait three minutes until the device switches off.When you turn the water on again, the online code will be created again as soon as you once again exceed the 10-litre mark. Turn off the water within five seconds, before the online code disappears: the online code will then remain visible on the display and you have up to three minutes to note it down.

 

What do the three columns on the portal mean?

Each column represents the average value of (up to) 50 showers per column. The device saves every shower (over 4.5 litres), up to 150 showers. From 150 showers, the values are always calculated based on the most recent 150 showers.

Averaging the three columns is carried out as follows: the device divides the recorded showers (or respectively the last 150 showers) into chronological order in three equal parts and calculates the average of each part.

If, for example, you have had 90 showers with the device, the first column displays the average consumption of the first 30 showers immediately after installing the device (1-30), the second column represents the average of the next 30 showers (31-60) and the third column then shows the 30 most recent showers (showers 61-90).

 

Since installing the amphiro, I have showered quite often, however in the portal it says I have showered fewer than 16 times. Why is that?

It is likely that you wrote down the online code once when you started using amphiro and have used it several times since then. The online code changes with every shower (refer to the question “A strange message such as “AAAA 0″ displayed on my device.”). This is not a fixed identification number for your amphiro. Instead the online code contains the latest average values.The online code cannot be interpreted by humans, the online portal can, however, translate it into your associated consumption values. This is the way your consumption values reach the online portal.

 

Since the last portal visit, the number of showers has remained the same even though I entered the latest current online code. Why is that?

In the case of fewer than 150 showers, the number of showers is only shown in increments of 16. Only when the next threshold of 16 has been exceeded will the number of showers increase all at once by 16. The consumption values are precisely calculated for every shower, they are based on the exact number of showers. The reason for this is the following: Even though the device calculates each shower precisely, the data volume that can be transmitted with the online code is limited. In order to be able to display the consumption values as precisely as possible, we had to make concessions when it came to the precision of displaying the number of showers. In the case of more than 150 showers, average values are calculated for each of the most recent 150 showers.

.

Problems with the display or the device

My amphiro is no longer operating / does not display when the water flows through it. What can I do?

If you installed your device between the showerhead and the shower hose as outlined in the instructions, but it no longer displays any values even when water flows through it, please contact info@amphiro.com

 

There is water inside the display or the display is foggy on the inside.

If the device is foggy on the inside, this is a sign that the device has been lying in water for too long. Please avoid leaving your amphiro in a bathtub filled with water after the shower. The fogging will generally disappear by itself.

If there is water in the display, please consult Amphiro using the “Contact” details. The device will probably have to be replaced.

 

Letters or numbers are not displayed completely, several segments / lines are missing. What is wrong?

If your amphiro displays information but the numbers or letters are displayed incorrectly (missing segments), please get in contact with info@amphiro.com.

 

 

Water sprays out of one of the connecting pieces (thread). What can I do to stop it?

It is likely than an O-ring or the small sieve (5) that was included in the packing is missing. Using the User Manual, check in “Included in delivery” whether an O-ring is fitted or respectively if a small sieve is installed on the affected connecting piece: A small O-ring should be positioned between the showerhead (1) and the short amphiro hose piece (3): this should be already installed in your shower, in order to seal the original connection of the showerhead (1) and shower hose (6) prior to installing amphiro. A small sieve with an O-ring (5) must be inserted between the amphiro (4) and the shower hose (6) (with the sieve arch facing into the device). If there is no sieve present, check the packaging to check whether it has perhaps fallen into the inner part of the box when taking out the device. Otherwise please get in contact with info@amphiro.com.

 

My amphiro does not work. What can I do?

Please get in contact with us – we can probably help you to resolve this problem quickly and easily.

If you want to send the device back for a guarantee claim, please use the following address and do not forget to note your name and your address and to include a short description of the error.

For return deliveries from Germany:
IBS Logistics GmbH
attn.: Amphiro AG
Benzstrasse 21
DE-48619 Heek / Westf.

For return deliveries from Switzerland:
Amphiro AG
Limmatstrasse 183
CH-8005 Zurich

Other questions about the usage

How do I clean the device?

Clean the device with a damp cloth. Do not immerse the device in water and do not use any abrasive or corrosive cleaning agents or limescale removers (scouring agent, vinegar etc.). This could damage the device.

 

I have young children. Can I install the device in my shower?

Yes, using the device is not dangerous. Under normal circumstances, the device cannot be opened by hand. Prior to and during installation of the device, however, take care that small parts (safety cap, O-ring) are not swallowed or inhaled by small children. Following installation, in addition to normal precautionary measures, take care that the device is not unscrewed by children as otherwise the O-ring or the small filter in the connection piece could easily be lost and there is a risk that these parts could be swallowed or inhaled.

 

Can people with a cardiac pacemaker use the device?

The device contains a small permanent magnet, similar to earphones or showerheads with coloured LEDs, which do not contain any warning notices. As a precautionary measure, however, we recommend that people with a pacemaker refrain from using the amphiro or consult their physician beforehand.

 

For customers in Singapore

Does the display switch itself off if I turn off the water to apply soap?

No. Even after a short interruption (i.e. when the water stops flowing through the device), subsequent water consumption will still be assigned to the same shower. Only when there is no water flow for more than three minutes will the water consumption be calculated as a separate shower (i.e. the display will start from zero again).

 

Do I need to establish a connection with the app during each shower to retrieve all the data?

No, the device is equipped with an internal memory capable of storing up to 250 showers, meaning you can connect once from time to time without losing your shower data

 

For Utility Companies, Resellers and Distributors

Can Amphiro deliver the devices in large quantities?

Yes, Amphiro can deliver the product amphiro a1 basic and amphiro b1 connect in large quantities. Please contact our support team by using the contact form. We will be happy to provide you with a customized quote applying our scaled prices for large quantities.

 

What are the calcification risks?

The risk for calcification is very low. In case of any unlikely calcification, the functionality of the device is not affected. In contrast to normal shower heads, the water inside the amphiro a1 basic and amphiro b1 connect can not evaporate leaving limestone and calcification.
To prevent limestone and calcification on the outside of the device, we suggest to wipe off the water after taking a shower as it is also recommended by the manufacturers of faucets and other sanitary installations.