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Thread: Could use your thoughts on a solar electric system

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    NE Nebraska
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Goodman View Post
    The nameplate conveniently concealed under the earthquake straps didn't help with identification. As the installer I spoke with described the tank, it has an internal heat exchanger. The tank was installed with the solar system, and wasn't a modification of the LPG fired tank that was originally installed in the home.

    There is a suspicious line on the plate that reads something like "Total 4500/33**". Kinda looks like it has elements in it.
    Can't get enough information from the nameplate, but do see your 4500/33.

    33 maybe the circulating pump?

    Still looking like a good possibility there is electric backup heating element(s), and possibly the circulating pump is not shutting down when the sun isn't shining or effective enough, this would take heat from the tank and radiate it at the collector, and the backup element would kick in to keep the tank warm enough because you are removing heat. Would be a good explanation for the higher electric bills, just as bad of a deal (actually is probably worse) as having leaky hot water faucets.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Austin, TX, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    Can't get enough information from the nameplate, but do see your 4500/33.

    33 maybe the circulating pump?

    Still looking like a good possibility there is electric backup heating element(s), and possibly the circulating pump is not shutting down when the sun isn't shining or effective enough, this would take heat from the tank and radiate it at the collector, and the backup element would kick in to keep the tank warm enough because you are removing heat. Would be a good explanation for the higher electric bills, just as bad of a deal (actually is probably worse) as having leaky hot water faucets.
    I don't know much about solar water heating, but it seems to me that a system like this could waste a lot of energy if it wasn't configured correctly.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Mesa Arizona
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    255
    One thing the owner can do is check the temperature of the pipes going to the solar collector at night. They should be at room temperature and the same temperature. If one is warm, there is circulation at night and that would be bad.

  4. #24
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    Dec 2007
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    NE Nebraska
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    Quote Originally Posted by ggunn View Post
    I don't know much about solar water heating, but it seems to me that a system like this could waste a lot of energy if it wasn't configured correctly.
    Me neither, but sure seems logical it could pump heat out just as easily as it can pump it in.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Austin, TX, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    Me neither, but sure seems logical it could pump heat out just as easily as it can pump it in.
    And charge the customer for doing both. It sounds like a setup error in the solar water heater system. The good news is that it would likely have a simple solution.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    NE Nebraska
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    Quote Originally Posted by ggunn View Post
    And charge the customer for doing both. It sounds like a setup error in the solar water heater system. The good news is that it would likely have a simple solution.
    Yes solution is likely simple and a setup error.

    I once got called to a new house (that I didn't wire) because of high electric bills the first few months. House had a heat pump, and it had control wiring errors that allowed back up resistance heat to run at the same time the heat pump was in cooling mode.

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