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Troubleshooting Solar Thermal Systems

How do I know if my system is performing the way it should be?

First of all, your system performance will be measured by BTU’S produced, NOT by temperature achieved. The simplest way to accomplish this is by following this method: 1- Record your solar tank temperature first thing in the morning, before the solar pump turns on. 2- be sure that no one uses hot water during this day. 3-Record your solar tank temperature at the end of the “solar” day 4-Perform this calculation to determine total btu’s produced Change in tank temp Deg F x Total gallons in tank x 8.3 = total btu prod/day 5-View the SRCC certificate for estimated performance […]

Keeping propylene glycol from freezing in my solar thermal system.

A: How do I prevent my glycol from freezing during those rare deep freeze nights? Q: Your glycol, although rated for very low temperatures may be un-pumpable at a temperature higher than you expect. This can cause you system to overheat when the sun comes out in the morning. To prevent this you can activate the antifreeze function in your SmartMaxx controller. This function will turn the pump on as soon as your sensor 1 reaches a pre determined temperature, say -5 degrees. This will run only for a few minutes and then turn off, thus keeping your glycol above […]

How do I remove air from my system?

Question: How do I remove air from my system? Answer: Take a deep breath and let all your air out… of your Solar thermal system One of the biggest issues with a successful commissioning is air removal. Any time you spend with this detail will be time well spent. Air pockets become entrained within your HTF and like to find places to hide. Air pockets can form between your HTF and the inner wall of piping (especially with flexible piping) and can only be removed through persistence and time. Here are a few things you can do to help this […]

Do I need to use glycol if I live in an area where I only have a few days of freezing per year?

Question: Do I need to use glycol if I live in an area where I only have a few days of freezing per year? Answer: If you live in an area that doesn’t get below freezing often (less than 5 days per year) it is possible to get away with using water instead of glycol. In order to make sure that the water doesn’t freeze you need to have your controller (ie. SmartMaxx DHW-Plus) run with freeze protection. The freeze protection setting monitors the collector temp and when it goes below a specified temp (40 F) the pump will kick […]

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