View Full Version : solar hot water
16-11-2005, 03:09 PM
It was great reading about all the solar options on here.
We just wanna start off with a solar hot water service for now and hope to get it by next year. We've had 2 quotes so far.......1 was approx $4000 and another was around $2800, both included the rebate. The rebate can apparently cease at any time, well thats what one of the sales reps told us. I think that might have been a bit of a push to get us to sign up that day. Well I wasn't gunna pay out over $4000 without doing my research 1st....nooooo way!
Whats better.......tank up top, tank on ground? What brands are there that should be avoided? Any other pitfalls? Is it possible to make my own?, bearing in mind I aint that smart but hubby is.
Any info most appreciated.
16-11-2005, 03:22 PM
teela, we replaced our broken down hot water system with a Solarhart solar system a few months ago. A new electric tank that would be the new version of our old one, would have cost us around $2000, including installation. It would cost $200 a year to operate and would last around 10 years. Our electricity here is generated by a coal powered power plant so the greenhouse gas emissions would be high for this type of appliance.
The Solarhart cost $3159 for a 2/3 person tank, installation was $1100. They gave us a discount of $150, I think it was a senior's discount and we also got a government rebate of $672. In total the unit cost $3437. It's guaranteed for 5 years, it should be fully operational for 23 years and, theoretically, it would cost around $50 a year to operate. The operating costs vary as a booster kicks in if there is a prolonged period of bad weather. We haven't plugged our booster unit in, saving the $50 operating costs per year, and we've never been out of hot water since it was installed. Solar powered hot water reduces greenhouse gas emissions for an average house by 30%. :D We're very happy with our purchase.
16-11-2005, 05:32 PM
you can have a switch installed so that your booster only comes on when you choose to turn it on
we have one installed but we have never used the booster anyway ...... our solar is connected to a coil in the wood fire and that helps in winter
also we only have the small 200l model which is plenty for 2 people
ours is a Edwards which seem better because they have a stainless steel tank
16-11-2005, 05:45 PM
frosty, we went for the solarhart because it didn't have stainless steel.
16-11-2005, 05:57 PM
I'm curious....why didn't you want a stainless steel system Forest?
I wouldn't know one from the other (thought I should add this). :)
Richard on Maui
16-11-2005, 05:59 PM
We have 3 outdoor solar showers on our place that are all salvaged panels hooked up to discarded water heater tanks. The plumbing parts probably cost about $50 to $100 US for each shower, depending on how many of those parts were recycled. I guess you probably don't want to risk a dodgy old tank leaking on or in a nice house though.
Ours are all passive, using the thermosiphon principle of heat wanting to go up to circulate the water and keep it all as hot as possible. No pumps involved with this kind of system.
If you couldn't find them cheap or free second hand, building your own panels doesn't seem like it would be that difficult if you were handy and had access to the right tools etc. An insulated box covered with glass. Lengths of copper pipe soldered or braised together so that the water goes in a somewhat circuitous path from one end to the other... a sheet of something black to go under the pipes to help them get very hot.
17-11-2005, 03:39 AM
Corn, we had solar hot water in the last house we lived in. It was in a mining town up north and we lived in that house for 13 years. We had a solarhart on the roof when we moved in, the same one was there when we moved out. It didn't give us any problems.
When we asked our plumber for his advice before we installed one here, he recommended the solarhart because he said he'd never seen one with corrosion problems.
17-11-2005, 05:34 AM
Will remember that.
17-11-2005, 07:02 AM
My parents installed a solar hot water system about 35 years ago, maybe a tad longer.
I am living in the house now. The panels still work fine, although I have my eye on the wood supports as over the years (run-off rainwater) water has infiltrated the wood. The panels were installed as an awning over our full north facing window.
The tank is in the roof. I am terrifed to go check as a think it might need some attention and I am not ready to be able to afford it to go bung just yet.
We have a manual booster connected to mains electricity. This last winter I used the booster three times - twice during off-peak periods say between 9pm and 11pm and the third time all night when I forgot to turn it off before I went to bed. There were one or two mornings the hot water was only mildly warm, (after an overcast day) but otherwise perfect hot water every morning (and all day) for 35 years.
I was reflecting on where the money "saved" from our electricity bill has gone over those years, as I don't have a bank account full of $$$$ "saved" ..... money is a funny phenomenon.......
I looked the other day and the panels have a faded silver sticker "Beasley" and I think this company still makes hot water systems.
I am only looking to replace the panels because I want to extend the room that they are the awnings for, and I know once they are moved the whole kit and caboodle will need attention and one thing will lead to another ---- which is why I am doing nuthin at the moment.
Meanwhile I am trying to research what products are on the market now -anticipating the technology should have improved in 35 years.
I find the sales people all a bit pushy and patronising. And I don't seem to get the answers to the questions I ask - just get a lot of sales jargon.
When you sort it all out - please share what you have discovered.
17-11-2005, 07:18 AM
our Edwards was second hand when we bought it 6 years ago ........ we never intended it for the house ....... we bought it to put on a bus we were converting to a mobile home........ we had a new Edwards on our then house at Waroona
then suddenly the block next door got sold and they intended to grow potatos and we had to sell and leave within a month ......... to get out that fast we lost a lot of money on the sale so being broke put the second hand one on the new house as "temporarily"
the others trange thing is that we have very limey water up here and people say solars dont last :lol:
and also stainless steel does not corrode either ........ some earlier solars were made of just metal that used to corrode and solarhart were known to be bad
now solarhart is lined with fibreglass ......... we didnt want fibreglass contamination in our water when we could have stainless steel with no residues
heuristic beasleys are a good make too we had an old Beasley once too ...... ours had a copper lined tank
17-11-2005, 08:12 AM
heuristics, you might not have that saved money but you have the credit for saving all that greenhouse gas.
frosty, I've never known solahart to use fibreglass lining in their tanks. They are lined with vitreous enamel over steel.
17-11-2005, 12:12 PM
Thanks for all the info peoples. I will take it all on board along with any new info I may gather along the way.
4 years ago my electric water heater died, it was christmas eve, I had a housefull of guests, and we were right in the middle of harvest, we reluctantly put in another electric water heater. At the time I knew zero about solar hot water systems and I didn't have time to do my research.
This time I want to be ready when my electric water heater dies, even if it doesn't we've made up our minds, we want to be going solar by early next year.
Going solar seems to be the way to go!
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