Solar Geysers FAQ's

FAQ's

What is a solar hot water system?

A solar hot water system consists of a geyser and solar panel. The combination of the two allows you to use the FREE energy from the sun to heat your water, thus enabling you to significantly cut down or in some cases eliminate the need for electrical or gas heating.

 

How do domestic solar systems work?

The most widely used system works on the principle that warm water rises (this is called a thermosiphon process). The dark surfaces (usually black or blue) of the collector absorb the heat, this in turn heats the water. The solar geyser must be situated above the solar collector, to allow the water to naturally rise into the geyser. Alternatively, a pumped system can be used for when the geyser can not be situated above the collector, as is the case in most residential homes. The pumped system is best for people that, for aesthetic reasons, do not want the geyser visible on the roof.

 

What is an open circuit/direct system?

Direct systems or open circuit systems move the water directly from the collector to the geyser and vice versa. It should be used in frost free areas.

What is a closed/indirect system?

Indirect or closed circuit heating systems use a heat transfer fluid (glycol or anti freeze) between the solar collector and a heat exchanger, built into the solar geyser, to heat the water. This heat exchanger acts like a '’non electric element’' and transfers captured heat into the “drinkable” water within the geyser. An indirect system should be used in areas where frost regularly occurs.

 

What happens when it rains and in winter?

Solar systems use the radiation from the sun, to heat the water, not just direct sunlight. Even on overcast days and in the hart of winter, the solar panel will heat the water somewhat, still saving electricity, however, all solar systems comes standard with an electrical backup element, to provide the necessary heating, on rainy or very high usage days.

 

What is a solar controller used for?

The solar controller acts as a timer switch for your geyser. To maximize electricity savings, it only allows the geyser’s electrical element, to switch on in preset times, should the days solar energy not have provided enough energy to heat the water as required. Depending on your households hot water usage habits, it will be set to only come on an hour or two, before someone’s bath/shower (bare in mind ,the electrical element will still only come on in these times IF the sun didn’t do enough).

 

Does the geyser cool down overnight?

Solar geysers are VERY well insulated and have double the thickness insulation of conventional geysers. This allows very little heat to be lost. Even on very cold days, with the electrical back up COMPLETELY switched off, and without solar heating, the geyser will stay hot for several days if not used.

 

How much money will I save?

An overall average of 40-50% of your electricity bill, depending on personal usage and system installed.

 

How long will my system last?

Up to 20 years, provided service intervals were done.

 

How long for the system to pay for itself?

3-6 years, depending on the system installed, cost of electricity and personal usage patterns.

 

Does the solar hot water system require maintenance?

As with anything man made, services are required. Check ups and services is recommended at least every 2 years, not to bad when you consider most cars must be serviced every year.

 

Will I still be able to use my existing geyser?

Yes you will. A complete re installed system is recommended though as it is much more efficient. However, a pre feed configuration can be installed, should you wish so. Any geyser older than 3 years should be completely replaced.

 

What temperature will a solar heat hot water system achieve?

a Well set up system will easily heat your geyser to 50 - 60°C plus, this is also what most thermostats in conventional geysers are set at . An average person washes at about 42°C

 

Which way should the panel face?

For most efficiency, North facing roof and at a 40° angle.

 

What size solar heat hot water system do I need?

You use up to (but not limited to) 50lt of hot water, per person, per day. Various 100lt, 150lt, 200lt, 250lt and 300lt systems are standard. Bigger geyser can be made on order.

 

What protects the panel from freezing?

Anti freeze, the same type of stuff thats in your car.

 

Will hail break the panel glass?

They have been SABS tested, under SA conditions and it’s highly uncommon with the flat plates, the Vacuum tubes are slightly more vulnerable, but how often do we get Golf Ball Sized Hail in South Africa?

 

How long is the installation process?

3-8 hours, depending on the systems and house,

 

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