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Keep Reynolds Aluminum solar saver HW system?

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Posted by Nolan Tucker on September 30, 2004, 2:32 am
I have a ~20 year old Reynolds Aluminum hot water system that is in decent
shape. It's been costing about $00 every 2 years in repairs and
maintenance.  Last February the repairman said the collectors need flushed
and I should call after the snow melts.  I have not run the system all
summer and have not seen the electric bill go up .   I'm figuring it costs
just as much to run the system as it saves me in heating with the water with
electric.  Anybody have any experience with these systems?  Am I right?

Posted by Kevin Creamer on September 30, 2004, 3:09 am
Hey Nolan, I have been installing solar thermal for the past 20 yrs and I
would bet that your not seeing any savings due to your system not working
correctly to begin with or at least not efficiently over the past several
True, the system needs to be flushed but we suggest once every 5 years. A
good running solar thermal system dedicated for domestic hot water use
should save at least 50%-- dependent on electric rates and water useage.
Here on Long Island ,NY customers supplement close to 75% of their hot water
from solar.Check your circulator pumps for power with the control in the
"on' position w/ a multi meter -you should also hear them come on/off -there
should be two of them under a shroud on top of the water tank.There are
several other checks to be made but check that first
good luck

Posted by Nolan Tucker on September 30, 2004, 10:20 pm
    Thanks for the advice.  I checked and the pumps run when I switch to on
in manual. The system was working properly until sometime last February,
when I noticed the temperature in the holding tank around 40 degrees.  I
have seen it up around 120 and the coolant temp around 170.  It costs $5
for each service call, which is advised by my local serviceman to be no less
than once every 2 years.  Because of the age (I'm guessing) of the system, I
am needing service/repair about once every 18 months.  Once time it was to
replace a valve that cost $.00.  If I could service this myself, I might
save a little, but I can find no information on this system on the web.  Nor
can I find anyone else to service it - a second opinion on the condition of
the system would make me feel better.  I feel like the only way out is to do
away with it.  It's a shame, because I replaced a long run of aluminum pipe
just a year ago.

I have no problem trying to flush the collectors myself.  They said they
would need to get a garden hose to the roof where the collectors are.  Is it
as simple as disconnecting the collectors and running pressurized water
through them?  Must I drain the system?  If so, how would I get the coolant
back into the system - does it require special equipment?  Any advice would
be appreciated.


on/off -there


Posted by Kevin Creamer on October 1, 2004, 3:09 am
 Nolan , to flush the system --- it is done by the solar tank -- there are
two brass valves that have a "special" key to open the flow -- find the one
that leads up to the collectors ,put a washing machine hose on that valve
and the other end to pressurized water , the other valve geta a hose that
will lead to a drain or bucket-- turn on the water ,open the valve to the
collectors ,open the valve to the drain, watch the pressure gauge making
sure you do not go over 20 psig,, flush for 10 minutes or until you see or
hear no air. close the drain valve ,,close the feed valve when pressure
reaches 25-30 psig. watch gauge making sure the system doesnt lose
pressure -- good luck

Posted by Nolan Tucker on October 1, 2004, 10:51 am
 Kevin-  Wouldn't this leave just water in the system?  How do I get the
antifreeze mix back in?
    The repairman left me with the impression he'd need to get on the roof
at the collectors with the hose, indicating they were the source of the
'clog'.  Otherwise he could have done what you're suggesting last February.





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