Friday, June 15, 2012

Solar water heat saga.

Location, at Home, CA

The saga of the solar water system goes on.

We ran into a problem with very little hot water coming out of the faucets even if we let the water run for a long time. This of course has caused some consternation among the household members.

After reviewing it for a few days it was decided by the plumber to temporarily add a thermometer to a few of the lines to monitor temperatures over a 24 hour period.

Did I mention that we have a recirculating line to the back of the house (i.e., the bathroom core)? This was installed so that we would have instant hot water for the bathrooms.

The plumber decided to close off the recirculating line while the temperature test was running.

Well, guess what? The water is now hot in all faucets; it just takes time to get hot.

The explanation lies in how the recirculating line is now working when turned on. It seems that the water for the recirculating line is being drawn from the bottom of the water heater tank instead of from the top hot water line.

A fix would be to add a one way valve in the recirculating line to prevent this from happening.

I have called the Solar Company but so far they have not returned my calls. Then again, I haven’t paid them the final payment either.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Solar water heat, new cell phones, and berries.

Location, at Home, CA

We have had solar water heat since 1984. Actually it was a water pre-heater which feed by convection into our hot water heater. The solar units consisted of two 20 gallon stainless steel tanks each sitting in large “tubs” with a Mylar reflector under each tank and a cover over each unit.

They worked very well with little maintenance. I once replaced a copper flex line which was leaking and lately we had another leak which I did not fix as the covers were cracked and breaking up. I could not find spare parts anywhere so a few weeks ago I removed the units.

I researched several new units which are now much more efficient, and selected one for instillation. It is a single unit on the garage roof and again piped to the water heater as a pre-heater. This system uses propylene glycol as a heating medium to heat the water in a 48 gallon tank on the roof.  

It has taken several days for the instillation which is mostly complete except for cleanup and adding some insulation around the pipes.

This unit also has a rebate from the local gas company and a federal tax write off as well.

Our cell phone contracts were up for renewal and Clyda wanted a phone she could text with. My Droid phone has an unlimited data plan which I want to keep so I needed to renew my contract. We got a package deal for a new Droid Razr Maxx for me and a Samsung phone with keyboard for Clyda. It will take me some time to figure out all the bells and whistles on the Maxx that’s for sure.

I am still picking berries. The freezer is full so I don’t know what we will do with the remaining berries. Today I picked 11 baskets.