Jan 08, 2007 12:47 pm
Has anyone installed a good solar water heating system? If so which way did you go and have you found it economical?
We are very tempted to install a solar heating system but with options including either an electric or gas top up system my concern is that the majority of the time the call for hot water would be at times when there is no sun. So, does it use the back up system then or is there some sort of battery system that can be added to store the energy to be used up at this sort of time?
Any advice would be appreciated good or bad!
Re: Solar Water Heating Systems2
Jan 08, 2007 2:02 pm
One of the places we rented had a solar hot water system backed up by electricity. We found that it used a huge amount of electricity when the backup kicked in. We switched it off and put up with occasional cold water.
Generally, I don't think most systems have any battery backup. I am not sure if such a system exists but I would like to see:
Solar heated, backed up by instant gas heating with a smart thermal controller. What I mean by this is that if the water from the solar system is only say 60% of desired temp, then the instant gas heating will set to take it to 100% of desired temp and no more or less. This would mean that water is only heated if needed. I think our old system would maintain the tempreature in the tank overnight even though we might not use it in the morning. The daytime then only used to maintain the temp. Also if the hot water is all used in the evening, then the tank refills with cold water and electricity is used to heat it. It would be better to leave it to the sun to heat.
Re: Solar Water Heating Systems3
Jan 08, 2007 5:56 pm
Hi 3xb thanks for your reply.
I was thinking about something more on the lines of a on demand boiler back up as I think it is silly to have a boiler that heats up water when no one is around to use it. So we are looking more favourably at a gas fired on demand back up but I'm not sure if this would still prove to be cost effective compared to just an on demand type boiler.
Thanks for your thoughts as I didn't think about making everyone have showers in the morning rather than the evening so that the sun is used rather than the gas or electricity to heat up the water. Not too sure how well that would go down with the hubbie or kids though
I will keep searching as I'm kind of used to solar power for general power from living in a caravan for a while so I would of thought there would be some sort of battery back up available unless it is purely if you go into solar power as a general energy source as opposed to just heating water.........more research required I think
Re: Solar Water Heating Systems4
Jan 09, 2007 1:45 pm
Consider the life expectancy of the solar unit before you buy.
We had a solar system with electric booster from a major manufacturer. After about 10 years, the collector had corroded out. The whole unit required replacement at a cost of over $3,000, plus installation.
That works out at $300 per year in replacement cost! Where is the economy?
So now, I'm not a big fan of solar. We plan to build a new house this year and I've opted to go for a 5 star instantaneous gas set up. No storage and you only pay to heat the water you use.
Re: Solar Water Heating Systems5
Jan 09, 2007 3:12 pm
You will find most HWS manufacturers have invested heavily in R&D over the past fiew years and this has seen major changes in solar HWS units. If you have natural gas the best unit is definatly a Solar unit with ground mounted storage tank and attached gas instantanious unit. Being in QLD you would I would think that you would rarely require the instantanious unit to fire up as the storage tank will lose very little temp during the night. Rheem now have a unit that only requires 1 solar panel on the roof which is a definate saving. I suggest you speak to representative of the companies so you can make a decision.
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