How do I… regulate the temperature of my solar hot water system?
There is a simple solution to maintaining a constant hot water temperature on your solar-powered system year round.
|Maintaining a constant hot water temperature on your solar-powered system doesn’t need to be as tricky as it might seem.
The clue is in the name: solar hot water systems rely on the sun. So what happens if there is no sun? How do you regulate the temperature?
Light Home reader Ross Manderson, from Queensland, got in touch with a query about his standard solar hot water system and its mixing valve.
Controlling solar temperature year-roundManderson asked how he can control the temperature on his system without having to adjust the mixing valve every summer and winter.
If his mixing rate is fixed for the summer, then on cloudy days and during the winter the system is unable to heat water to the same temperature it reaches with the help of the sun in summer.
“I either put up with cooler water during cloudy days and the winter, or adjust the valve and have the water above the prescribed temperature in the summer. Do you have any suggestions other than adjusting the valve each summer and winter?” Manderson asked.
Manual and automatic solar boostersSolar power and solar hot water specialists Solarwise, based in Kingston near Brisbane, had some advice for Manderson: look to the system booster.
“A mixing valve is a legal requirement,” explained Sean Finemore, commercial manager at Solarwise.
Mixing valves are automatically set so the water cannot get above a certain temperature. They cannot, and should not, be adjusted by householders. They can only be adjusted by a plumber during installation or maintenance.
“But the system should have either a manual or an automatic booster on it. The booster activates an electrical element or a natural gas burner that will heat the water, supplementing the heat generated from the sun.”
Finemore adds that if the booster is automatic, then it’s clearly not kicking in in this case. If it’s manual, the switch - probably in the meter box - needs flicking and that will turn on the booster.
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