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Thread: Solar hot water.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Solar hot water.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    For them thats interested.

    Just replaced our demand gas hot water service with a solar unit, the rising price of gas prompted the decision, has been running for the past 8 days and so far I'm very impressed.

    Its been pretty cool and cloudy here of late, very cool days around 18, the nights down to just above 0, to this point have not had to use the electric boost.

    The unit is a Thermann evacuated tube, I imagine next winter will be the real test.
    Dimal, TC and Trentski1 like this.

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    Our governments are reducing their assistance to solar use. Maybe because they can’t tax us for our use of the sun.

    I heat my home in winter with the sun shining through my large north facing windows.

    Barry

  3. #3
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    We have an identical system Yelta and like you, very happy with its performance. We've had occasion to use the Boost a couple of times through Winter, when we had several 3+ very overcast days in a row. Other than that, it's been terrific...

    Mal.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    We have an identical system Yelta and like you, very happy with its performance. We've had occasion to use the Boost a couple of times through Winter, when we had several 3+ very overcast days in a row. Other than that, it's been terrific...

    Mal.
    Good to hear Mal, how long have you had the system operating?

  5. #5
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Ours was installed at around mid-February this year mate. It only took about half-a-day of sunshine to get hot too, very impressed...

    Mal.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Must say I was a little apprehensive Mal, bit of an unknown quantity.

    Installed on an overcast day so we bought it up to temp with power then turned the booster off, that was 9 days ago, have not turned the power on since, have seen little sunshine in the past 5 days, obviously enough though as the system is keeping up nicely.

  7. #7
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    PM me some prices please guys.

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    I have had a Solahart on the roof for over 14 years, I got 10+ years out of the first one when it started leaking and the whole system was replaced under warranty. The second one has already had a new thermostat fitted but it provides me with what I need for most of the year.

    I have a manual switch to turn on the booster and it is only needed if there is a string of rainy or overcast days. I have had the old one blow the over temp valve during summer in Canberra and have resorted to covering half of the panels with shade cloth in the hottest part of the year.

    I fitted some temperature sensors to the tank and panel to keep an eye on what it's doing, eventually hope to implement some form of low temperature warning.

    Overall I think they are a great idea but with the cost of PV falling and very few feedin deals going these days I think a bunch of PV panels on the roof and using the excess power to heat your water would be the way to go.

    Some temperature data from my system:

    solar hw temp - 19Sep14.pngsolar hw temp - 12-20Sep14.pngsolar hw temp - 20-28May14.png


    Gary
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  9. #9
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gazza View Post
    Overall I think they are a great idea but with the cost of PV falling and very few feedin deals going these days I think a bunch of PV panels on the roof and using the excess power to heat your water would be the way to go.
    We have done this too but so far, have only had to use the boost very infrequently, as referred to above. I agree though, it's the best of both worlds, to couple Solar PV with Solar HWS...

    Mal.

  10. #10
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergod View Post
    PM me some prices please guys.
    Check your Inbox mate...

    Mal.

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    Do prices for this sort of appliance need to be pm'ed? I'm interested.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gazza View Post
    I have had a Solahart on the roof for over 14 years, I got 10+ years out of the first one when it started leaking and the whole system was replaced under warranty. The second one has already had a new thermostat fitted but it provides me with what I need for most of the year.

    Gary
    Hi Gary

    One thing CSr's need to be aware of: a lot of hot water tanks (... and not just solar ones) use a sacrificial anode. Old Solaharts were renowned for failing (tank leaks) within 5 years due to Perth's "ultra corrosive" tap water. Not covered under warranty as they had a "service every three years" clause which cost a few hundred dollars (i.e. negating any possible savings) and was really just to replace the anode. Bastards! Ironically, their original factory was in Welshpool (i.e. Perth)... No idea about Solahart's current HWS's, however it would pay any purchaser of any solar model to check out the materials with extreme care.

    In Perth in 1983 I bought an very early "gas boosted" solar (Morris White # 006) with a stainless steel tank (Solar Edwards). That part is still going strong. I sold that house in 2002, however I still visit some neighbours, so the info is still current as at a few days back. Today, I would use an electric booster and power it with PV (or Savonius rotor) output. Times change...

    My original HWS panels (Solar Edwards circa 1979) went for about ten years (1989?) and then both of them started to leak badly. A little investigation revealed why: they were effectively a bi metal strip which had no choice but to slowly cannibilise itself. Quite a pity that the whole "SE parts" weren't a low grade stainless or copper... My next panels were pure copper, and they are still going strong. Theoretically, they are about 15% less efficient than the "black aluminium" mostly used today. So just make them 15% bigger dudes... The ones I bought were actually about 25% bigger: possibly a little overkill as 95+ Celsius "at the showerhead" was too common in summer with the new panels. Enter a mixer valve set to 65 Celsius (now a legal requirement, at least in WA). Never used the booster at all after that!

    IF I were to buy another solar HWS today, you bet I would be checking out all the "minor construction details" to ensure longevity. Ironically, the 1965 (original fitment) unit we had in Pt Hedland (we lived there in 1967) was still going strong in 2012: pure copper everything.

    Hopefully this post will save some CSr's from some common gotchas.


    TampIt

  13. #13
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Yep...

    As with everything that costs more than a few dollars (including anything to do with coffee making hardware ), do your research before committing to a contract. And that just doesn't apply to the hardware either, check around to find which installers know their stuff and those that purport to. A good installation job ensures that the hardware has the best chance of performing at its best for a long, long time...

    Mal.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    This is all interesting stuff. I have been agonising over what to do about the rising cost of electricity for some time.
    Being "late adopters" by nature we missed the buy-back deal that is so lucrative, and I doubt that there are any long-term benefits in jumping into a lot of panels now (at least until the cost of systems comes down a lot).
    The only electricity use we have during the day is the fridges & freezer and the cooking is post-5pm.
    Solar hot-water seems like a 'drop in the bucket' in terms of overall electricity usage and given the set-up cost, I'm thinking that power costs will have to increase a bit before it becomes viable for us.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
    This is all interesting stuff. I have been agonising over what to do about the rising cost of electricity for some time.
    Being "late adopters" by nature we missed the buy-back deal that is so lucrative, and I doubt that there are any long-term benefits in jumping into a lot of panels now (at least until the cost of systems comes down a lot).
    The only electricity use we have during the day is the fridges & freezer and the cooking is post-5pm.
    Solar hot-water seems like a 'drop in the bucket' in terms of overall electricity usage and given the set-up cost, I'm thinking that power costs will have to increase a bit before it becomes viable for us.
    We were on bottled gas Rocky, gas up here is now $125 a 45kg bottle and we were going through half a dozen bottles a year $750, the system is significantly better than the one we replaced, it wasn't exactly cheap, however at this stage there is still a govt rebate which eased the pain a little.



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