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Does any provider of solar equipment return messages?

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Posted by N8N on May 21, 2009, 7:17 pm
Have been putting out feelers to see whether or not it is cost
effective to do anything re: my old solar water heater which is now
nonfunctional and bypassed.  Options at this point are to either put
the collector up on Craigslist for whatever I can get for it (or free,
if someone wants to take it down themselves) and recycle the tank, or
else have someone come out and quote me on at minimum a new tank and
preferably a controller as well.

Problem is, not one business has responded to any of my inquiries!
The ony one that returned messages was the guy that installed the
thing in the first place, and his price was way too high to be
economically viable.  I'm in the NoVA/DC area, BTW.



Posted by Morris Dovey on May 21, 2009, 8:09 pm
N8N wrote:

Some of us do :)

Two questions:

[1] Did it ever work?
[2] If you had proper coaching, could you DIY?

Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA

Posted by N8N on May 22, 2009, 12:40 pm
yes, albeit I'm not sure that I was getting enough temp. rise to make
it worth the money (hence my interest in a proper controller - PO's of
house had it on a simple Intermatic time switch.)  AFAIK the collector
and associated piping are still good (pressure gauge shows 20 PSI) but
the water tank itself was leaking on my laundry room floor.

Possibly...  I think I understand how all this stuff works, I'm just
not certain how to recharge the antifreeze loop after cracking it
open, nor where to purchase same.  (or the replacement tank for that


Posted by Morris Dovey on May 22, 2009, 1:02 pm
 N8N wrote:

I'm not really a DHW expert (I try to stay focused on space heating
systems) - but there are a few in this group who can speak knowledgeably
about DHW controllers.

I'd guess that a couple of quick phone calls to local plumbing supply
houses and/or local plumbers might pay off with installation and cost
info for (just) a new tank.

I've seen this issue addressed here in the past. A google groups search
might provide links to those threads. If that isn't enough, try posting
as specific description as you can of your system and ask for guidance.

A resource that you might find helpful is Gary Reysa's web site at
www.builditsolar.com - there's a lot of good info there and links to a
lot more.

Remember that the more specific your question, the more detailed the
answers can be.

Morris Dovey
DeSoto Solar
DeSoto, Iowa USA

Posted by gary on May 23, 2009, 2:34 pm
 Hi Nate,
If its all working except for the controller, it would be a crime to
not fix it.

If it is just lacking a differential controller, you can order one
easily -- they are about $40.
Google on Goldline GL30 or on Stecca (these are two common brands).
To install the controller, you place one of the two temperatures
sensors on the collector outlet pipe with some insulation over it, and
the other on the storage tank in direct contact with the actual tank
You then plug the circulating pump into the controller -- that's all
there is to it.

This is how its hooked up in my system:

If you are not sure what's really wrong with the system, here is a 3
step plan to fixing it :)

1) Read over the Home Power magazine articles on solar water heating
basics here:
These are excellent, hands on articles that explain how the different
systems work -- you probably have a closed loop system, so read that
article.  If you don't have access to Home Power back issues, you can
get the digital subscription for $0 which gives access to 20 years of
Home Power.

2) Have a look at this area on Troubleshooting solar hot water systems
to figure out exactly whats wrong:
The download from the FSEC has a good troubleshooting checklist.

3) Fix whats wrong.
These systems are not rocket science -- the components are usually
just off the shelf parts that you can buy the same or an equivalent
part easily.

This system can save you $00 a year and 2 tons of CO2 emissions --
fix it!!


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