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GOM

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Posts: 72
Reply with quote  #1 
I've been collecting DOE booklets and pamphlets for years.  One of my old ones cites a study wherein DOE estimated the average family's annual use of hot water for bathing and clothes washing.  The gist of this study was the 'fact' that most people bathe and launder a lot more in the warm/hot months of the year.  Okay, makes sense.  The study goes on to say it's more cost effective in most cases to build/install a simple direct water heater rather than a high tech type with drain back or secondary fluid heat exchange to function in winter.  Okay, then why not go with a simple solar panel system to provide hot water during warm weather only?  Then drain and shut the system down as frost approaches? Makes sense to me. Build a simple solar water heater with no bells and whistles for hot water only during the summer/warm months and cut it off for the rest of the year?  Just my $00.02.  

stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #2 
That's the type I have. There are isolation valves and drain fittings near the tank. If I'm expecting a freeze I isolate and drain the collector and go on with the backup electric heat. It does have a freeze valve but they have been known to fail.
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Solar is like the wind. It may be free, but putting it to work isn't!
Willie, Tampa Bay
Gordy

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Posts: 137
Reply with quote  #3 
Gom, 

If that work's for you great. But here in MN if you have a panel or panel's up and running there is use for it year round. Weather it's heating water or heating the house or both. No sun today and the LP furnace was running.

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Gordy,
Minnesota
stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #4 
I don't think that type of system was ever intended for cold climates but it works well here, where we have one freeze every few years. Even then, we still have the electric element, and you can put any electric tank water heater on a timer to save power.
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Solar is like the wind. It may be free, but putting it to work isn't!
Willie, Tampa Bay
Gordy

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Posts: 137
Reply with quote  #5 
Willie,

I was just trying to say that up here we are better off adding the bells and whistle's to get full use out of the system, rather than having it sit idle when it could be doing something useful. If built properly it can heat or preheat water and space heating also.

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Gordy,
Minnesota
stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #6 
I agree with you, but it all boils down to the money.  Adding heat exchangers not only adds to the cost but cuts efficiency a bit.  In your area my type wouldn't work a good part of the year.  But a full-blown system like you have would be unnecessarily expensive for us.  We need space heat maybe 2 months of the year and only part of the time then, the rest of the time that big collector would be stagnating.  Heat for us is just a matter of throwing the switch on the heat pump we already have (sometimes several times a week).  Since heat pumps are electric, the preferred solar system is PV, which can run virtually anything.
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Solar is like the wind. It may be free, but putting it to work isn't!
Willie, Tampa Bay
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