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    opinions on hydronic solar panels (30 Posts)

  • eluv8 eluv8 @ 2:49 PM
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    solar panels

    thanks for the info thus far the more info I can get from people who are currently installing and using the better decision I will be able to make keep them coming
  • Mi39ke Mi39ke @ 3:25 PM
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    Weird

    They put my company on their list of dealers/installers. Never touched the product. Looks like they have grabbed a giant list of names and enhanced themselves. Kinda deceiving. Now I have to waste a bunch of time getting my name off the list. This really sucks. Michael Ward Edit: Just spoke with them. Not their fault. They sound like good people. They were misled by people they trusted. They hope to remove my name soon. A lot of people will be surprised to see they are hooked up with this company. MW
  • eluv8 eluv8 @ 10:22 PM
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    solar direct

    any experience with the trendsetter or helio-pac by solar direct. And yes I never do a job without a design. As I was once told. If you dont do the math you are only experimenting with your customers money. Thanks for the lead on thermomax looks good.
  • Paul Pollets Paul Pollets @ 11:03 AM
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    HR...

    I'm replacing 16 flat panels that are all leaking after 7 years on Monday. I'll post pics during the replacement. This facility has 3 arrays, all designed for DHW supplement & production. Considering that the facility uses propane and all the buildings have radiant heating and Viessmann boilers, the engineers missed out by not specifying indirect DHW. The commercial propane HW heaters consume mucho BTU's! I'm working with the facility to update their systems. It's far easier to replace a bad vaccuum tube than drain down the entire system to replace a flat panel. In fact, replacement of a vaccuum tube takes 10 minutes. Not to discount flat panels...They have their place in solar production. And yes, they cost more. To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • hot rod hot rod @ 11:20 AM
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    Tell us more, Paul

    16 failed panels hints at a more serious problem. Glycol ph would be one place to look. Let me know the brand some day :) Ease of replacement, hmmm is that a selling feature, or a indication the buyer will be calling you again some day?? I have both types on my property now. Give me a few more years to weigh in on the pros and cons. If I lived where it snows, I know what my first choice would be. A few hours after the sun came up these flat panels were working without a little help from their friends. The evac tubes need a little broom work, as I recall. The vacumn insulation layer works both ways. Shouldn't that be factored into the performance and ROI? Will the average homeowner be able, and willing to broom off their expensive tubes? A German collector/ chimney sweep included in the price :) hot rod
  • Paul

    Why did the flat panels leak, did the anti freeze over heat? I assumed solar panels with copper piping might last for decades, if you maintained the anti freeze. I see how well my homemade flat plate collector works, even in the cold weather, compared to my 120 evac. tubes collector, I think it might be a tossup with the title going to the collector that has the longest life. Thanks, Bob Gagnon To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Paul Pollets Paul Pollets @ 12:21 PM
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    Failure

    the panels failed because of improper water chemistry. Have you tried spraying the vac tubes with silicone release spray? (ski shops sell it) We get 1-3" of snow a year in Seattle....No issue for the broom. I agree with the snow consideration. To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Metro Man Metro Man @ 1:51 PM
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    Water chemistry???

    Exactly what type of improper water chemistry are you talking? Who's solar collectors? Drain-back? The lines leading to evac panels are copper, flat plates are copper???? If the "water chemistry" was bad are the lines leading to the collectors bad also?? Me thinks there is more to this than meets the plate... Metro Man
  • Derheatmeister Derheatmeister @ 6:23 PM
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    HR..Dito here for the "Rhomar" as a cleaner and then the Flushing of the system.. Prior to the glycol..but the usage of Distilled Water inturn can have a "Bad" Effect on some Systems..as the Distilled water will seek it's Natural state , which in turn will attack the piping.Or so i was told by the guys from Rhomar....SOoooo Distilled or not Distilled that is the Question ?? Currently If i am in a "Well" situation i Import the Water..or i use Tyfocor Premixed.. Heatmeister.
  • hot rod hot rod @ 9:03 PM
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    No to distilled

    would be my opinion. I think distilled water runs around 5.8. And it may not be measurable with a electrode type ph meter. I don't know what that low ph would do to the ph buffers in the hydronic glycol mix. And if the blend water needs to be that pure. Drew would know if he is around. Are you required to have double walled HX in Colorado? That seems to be an issue with solar on glycoled systems. Several states require double walled, although it appears to be an area specfic enforcement. I have heard Montana recently dropped the double wall requirement if the pressure is lower in the glycol side. Be nice if all the juristictions were on the same page. Wisconsin contractors tell me even plain tap water in a drainback system is considered a "heat transfer fluid" and need double wall protection, by some inspectors! I have also heard that Tyfoco doesn't pass as a non toxic or low toxic fluid according to US requirements? It's hard to blend a substantial hydronic or solar fluid without crossing over on toxicity. The more "stuff" you add the farther away from low toxic it becomes. A bit of a juggling act, especially when you try to blend multi metal protection with dozens of additives. hr
  • Drew Drew @ 8:07 AM
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  • Drew Drew @ 9:19 AM
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  • Drew Drew @ 8:55 AM
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  • Drew Drew @ 8:16 AM
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    Distilled/DI Water

    Let me grab a cup of coffee and gather the documents on water and glycol and I'll post them. Drew
  • Drew Drew @ 9:36 AM
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    Water Documents

    Well Guys, I've tried to attach documents to a reply and continue to get a Microsoft message that it doesn't like my word files. Had IT person look at it and was informed that the problem is on the Heating Help side. So, if your interested in an answer to the glycol/water questions, Call me , email me or wait until I can attach to posts. 800-678-6625/Ext. 108, drew@noblecompany.com .
  • Drew Drew @ 8:25 AM
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  • Drew Drew @ 8:22 AM
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  • eluv8 eluv8 @ 8:47 AM
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    hydronic solar panels

    Whats your favorite, and why. I have heard danfoss has a good line but pricey, looking for an alternative any ideas. Thank you.
  • hot rod hot rod @ 10:07 AM
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    a flat panel?

    I visited this company last week and was very impressed with the quality and production. Up Minnesota way. www.solarskies.com hot rod
  • Saggs Saggs @ 1:01 PM
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    This is a grat thread, I'm looking to do a solar collector for my DHW needs in central VT and was wondering if anyone has opinions about units being used in my "cloudy" neck of the woods. I'll do most of the work myself, was also told there is a fair rebate check from the gov. for the energy savings.
  • hot rod hot rod @ 3:13 PM
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    glycol should always be blended

    with DI or DM water de-ionized or de-mineralized. True distilled water is expensive as they turn the water to steam and collect the condensate. The other process uses a multi media filter system. Some of the water on the store shelves that is labeled distilled may in fact be filtered water. According to a local water company that sells to grocery stores. I'm not sure who, if anybody checks that water? If you buy the pre mixed glycol it is blended at the source wit the correct water. It is also important to run a cleaner through the system first to remove flux and other un-desireables. Or you risk compromising the fluid form the first day. I'm going with the Rhomar product for my solar. It's multi metal protection package assures it gets along with copper as well as stainless and aluminum. It may be more $$ but it has a lot of components, and has a healthy copper component. Plus I can get it locally :) hr
  • Paul Pollets Paul Pollets @ 2:17 PM
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    Failures

    the system overheated, the antifreeze was not the proper type for the system, the system was not filled with distilled water + antifreeze, no system maintainence. To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Derheatmeister Derheatmeister @ 2:37 PM
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    Distilled Water ? Why?
  • hot rod hot rod @ 8:22 PM
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    Run an F-Chart calc

    A recent job in Montana showed an evac tube at $105 per square foot and the flat panels at $40 installed.. On the home calculated it ended up about a 9K difference and another 10 years to payback with evac tubes. I'm not sure of the life expectancy of evac tubes, I know flat panels easily go 20 years. Be a drag if the tubes started losing their seal at or before the system payed for itself :( Very little performs difference between the two systems, both Viessmann by the way, if you are considering DHW and radiant temperatures. Run some numbers to see which collector and system fits your needs. They are not a one size fits all, regardless of where you are installing them. You wouldn't install an expensive radiant heating system without a load calc and design. The same should hold true for a solar investment. hot rod
  • Derheatmeister Derheatmeister @ 10:57 AM
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    HR !

    With all due respect...WWW.Heating/Solar Pricing.Com , next? Heatmeister.
  • Paul Pollets Paul Pollets @ 2:45 PM
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    Favorites

    My favorite is the Viessmann Vitosol system and control, using vaccuum tubes, 2nd would be the Thermomax system, and their vaccuum tube array. The only "inexpensive" vaccuum tube system are those made in China. Caveat Emptor. Using flat panels depends on where you live and how much energy you want to produce from the array. In Seattle, the best bang for the buck is using the array for DHW production only. This can be said for most areas N. of the Mason-Dixon. The South & Southwest have more sun for heating useage, but usually larger arrays are required. There are a number of software apps that will design the system and provide energy output reports. Choose your system and dealer carefully! To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • GMcD GMcD @ 6:26 PM
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    Ditto What Paul Pollets sez

    We must be twins separated at birth, that's exactly my top two "go-to" solar panels. We're spec'cing the Vitosol 200F panels for a project near Kelowna right now. Domestic hot water heat primarily with whatever we can harvest and save in a heating system buffer tank for the radiant heating operation in winter. Good winter solar hours in Kelowna, so we should get something.
  • scott markle scott markle @ 10:48 AM
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    vitosol 200f

    I thought The vitosol 200 is a direct flow evac. tube design (no heat pipe). Is this something new? The Chinese lead the world in the square footage of in service solar thermal. Yes some Chinese products are laking a bit in quality control, and of course there are major labor and environmental problems in china. But I would not be so quick to dismiss the Chinese. Chances are the computer you are typing on was manufactured there. I'd look at Sedio (they make the Oventrop tubes.) Solar is huge in china. China is not the technological backwater some of us think it to be, in this field it's a world leader.
  • hot rod hot rod @ 11:05 AM
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    regarding China

    I agree, Scott that made in China doesn't always mean cheap quality. Determining the good from the questionable brands is the question. I read recently there are over 300 solar manufacturers in one area of China. As we learned here recently, Viessmann manufacturers in China. B&G has been casting pump volutes there for many years. I would venture to guess this trend will continue. hot rod
  • jeff jeff @ 12:38 PM
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    Vitosol 200F Panels

    It's a new model number, and these 200F's are basically the old Vitosol 100 flat panels but built to a slightly higher standard. The now named Vitosol 100 flat panels are now the "economy" model for the North American market, according to our local Viessmann supplier.
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