SOL-Perpetua™ Solar Water Heating System Installation Instructions and Operating Manual For Series "A" Pumps
SOL Pertetua™ System Start Up
When you are satisfied that your system has no leaks (as evidenced by the fact that the vacuum in the system is steady at 20 to 25" Hg, remove the tarp from the panel(s) or wait for the sun as the case may be. If the sun is strong and falling directly on the panel(s) you will soon see tiny bubbles rising in the bubble tube. These will be followed by larger and larger bubbles until suddenly fluid is thrown out of the bubble tube. This will be followed by fluid entering the condenser and filling it from the copper "in" tube. The bubbling in the bubble tube and the flow from the "in" tube will be eratic at first and until all air has been purged from the fluid.
As the sun continues to heat the collector panel(s) and the pump continues to circulate hot fluid, more air will come out of solution. At first this air gathers in the separator mixed with water vapour. From here that gas mixture must travel down the long glass tube that leads from the top of the separator to near the bottom of the condenser. When this mixture starts bubbling out of the bottom of the glass tube, the vapour condenses immediately leaving tiny air bubbles to float to the top of the condenser. Soon the pressure of this air added to the vapour pressure of the warming fluid will cause the pressure gauge to indicate a decrease in the vacuum. Operate the hand pump when the condenser is half full to remove the air. More violent bubbling will result and the gauge should now indicate a greater vacuum.
After 15 minutes of full sunshine and good circulation, the fluid will have completed a few revolutions through the system. The condenser will now probably not be entirely full of fluid so operate the hand pump a final time to remove any remaining air. The gauge should read about 14" Hg. depending on the strength of the sun.
If the sun is week or low in the sky and the gauge reads 20" Hg. or greater vacuum, pumping activity may cease: you will need to wait for the sun to heat the fluid in the collectors more.
When you have finished withdrawing air with the handpump, close the cock located next to the mushroom valve, provided, ofcourse, that you have installed a pressure relief valve at the heat exchanger as discussed elsewhere.
When the sun is shining strongly, the condenser should be virtually full of fluid and the separator should have fluid in it but not generally covering the top of the bubble tube. On a hazy day the fluid level in both the condenser and the separator will be lower. When the system comes to rest at the end of the day, the fluid level is normally below the bubble pump and the pump will appear empty. You will know for certain that the system is working when the pipe that leads potable water from the heat exchanger to the top of the storage tank is hot.
When commissioning a system it sometimes happens that the installer runs out of time or sunshine before getting the system to operate fully. Unless the system operates vigorously for about l/2 hour all the air cannot be extracted from the fluid. If the start-up process is not continued as soon as the sun next shines or unless the collector panels are covered, there will possibly not be sufficient pumping action to prevent the temperature and hence the pressure from rising with a resulting release of fluid. The installar must return as soon as possible to complete the commissioning.