Solar Water Heater and problems

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Trooperman
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Solar Water Heater and problems

Postby Trooperman » Sun Jun 23, 2019 6:36 pm

We have a solar panel for hot water and it incorporates an electrical heating element for when the sun doesn’t shine. The installation is about 11 years old and the electrical element had had to be replaced twice in the last 2.5 years.

The panel is about 6ft x 4ft with a lagged water tank atop. It seems sufficient for 4 people although for the two of us it is clearly more than adequate in size. I guess it’s the type and size of unit that was heavily promoted a few years back for circa 1200 euros or thereabouts.

I now notice that several water tank to pipe joints are leaking and oozing rust coloured “gunk“, staining the tank, dripping onto the flat roof and, although just used as a sun terrace and washing drying area, it is, nonetheless unsightly. More importantly it may lead to failure. I don’t really know what’s going on.

Our water is not perfect and has a “brackish” taste and comes via a “descalcificadora” (softener) which we maintain rigorously.

There is the same installation next door and my neighbour has had similar problems with leaks and failure of the element and has elected to replace her panel with a standard electrical immersion heater; hardly what we’re being encouraged to do in this eco-friendly climate we’re asked to embrace! But she operates a holiday-let and cannot afforf failures!

My questions, if there are some out there who have similar installations are:

Is this deterioration normal?

Is it a “cheap” system?

Are there better systems?

Does anyone have any recommendations that won’t “break the bank” ?

Any advice welcome!
nil illegitimum carborundum

bbobandannie
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Re: Solar Water Heater and problems

Postby bbobandannie » Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:13 pm

Trooperman, interested as to whether you got anywhere with your problem. We'd like to install a solar water heating system so searching for any advice

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Trooperman
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Re: Solar Water Heater and problems

Postby Trooperman » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:32 am

Well! The tank finally burst and fortunately I was at home to hear the water gushing out and was able to isolate it before serious damage was caused to the house! I've now got a new solar panel and tank etc for 1600euros. Standard bit of kit from Bricomart for 750 euros plus parts and fitting, sourcing etc. Talking to the man who did the job, it seems the deterioration is normal with the poor quality water we get from the Ayuntamiento who, offer a limited subsidy towards the cost of renewal, acknowledging their poor quailty water. I have yet to recieve any reimbursement, but that's not all that surprising! The tank had rusted/corroded from the inside until the water pressure became too much for the weakened tank walls to withstand.

Before installation I was able to ask him about alternatives and he pointed out that my neighbour (see original post) who runs a holiday let, changed her solar tank for an electric tank, not because of reliability, but because it would be cheaper to replace an immersion heater tank (at about 300 euros) every 10 years than a solar system at 5 times that amount!

I asked about rust/corrosion inhibitors, but I got no answer.

So. Thanks for asking. The problem has been solved......for another 10 years! But I haven't got a long term answer!

By the way, installation of new tank/removal of old, included the hire of a HIAB type crane to get it up to roof level!
nil illegitimum carborundum


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