SOL-Perpetua™ Solar Water Heating System Installation Instructions and Operating Manual For Series "A" Pumps
Components of a SOL Perpetua™ System - Space Heater / Drier
The Space Heater/Drier is an air heater device which we would recommend be installed on all solar water heating systems. It solves two problems while making a valuable new appliance which costs you nothing to operate.
- It takes care of the near certainty that there will be times when a solar water heating system produces too much hot water or, more correctly speaking, water that is too hot. This can occur when you are away from your house and no hot water is being used. Remember that one day of full sunshine should fill your storage tank with hot water when no water is being used. (Unless, of course, you have an oversize tank). When the storage tank is full of hot water, the solar heating system should not deliver more heat to it than it looses through its insulation. If it does, the water will be so hot that the temperature/pressure relief valve installed on it will release and spill hot water, goodness knows where! It is supposed to go down a drain safely. Even if it does this, the temperature/pressure relief valve is possibly not designed to reset itself and stop spilling water even after the overtemperature situation has been rectified. Valves of the type which reset themselves properly are rare.
- It prevents the water/glycol working fluid from overheating when your storage tank is full of hot water. If the glycol is overheated it deteriorates and becomes acidic, a condition which will cause corrosion and shorten the life of your panels and piping. Properly installed SOL PerpetuaTM systems do not require the changing of the working fluid at three year intervals as is recommended by other manufacturers.
- It puts excess heat into your basement or utility room where it can keep it dry and free of mold while you are away. If your house has no basement and/or you live in a very hot climate, you can duct the heat from the Space Heater/Drier to the outdoors.
The Space Heater/Drier consists of copper tubing onto which copper wires have been soldered to increase heat output. The working fluid passes through this tubing after it has passed through the heat exchanger. If the storage tank is full of hot water, the working fluid leaving the heat exchanger will be hot. When it leaves the Spaceheater/Drier it will be cooler and able to absorb the solar energy without becoming hot enough to overheat the domestic water to the point where the temperature-pressure relief valve will be actuated.
The Space Heater/Drier throws off heat into your basement when the storage tank is full of hot water. Before you leave your house you probably close your basement windows for security reasons and the basement air gets stale and damp, ideal conditions for mold to grow on walls and stored items. The Space Heater/Drier will help to overcome this problem. You may even be able to avoid using a dehumidifier and save considerably electrical energy.
The potable water may still be hot enough to scald you so we recommend that an anti-scald valve be installed on the pipe leading hot water from the storage tank if there is not one there already. In many jurisdictions an anti-scald valve is required.
(Check that the valve is sufficiently large for your hot water needs. Some models have such a small orifice that if two fixtures are turned on, there is not enough flow from either).
With an adequately sized heat exchanger in the system the Space Heater/Drier throws off very little heat until your storage tank is full of hot water. When incoming water is very cold, it has even been observed to extract some heat from a warm basement. It works without the use of control valves.
Perhaps you leave your house or cottage for extended periods in the winter without draining your plumbing system. If you have some automatic heating system, it probably depends on the power grid to work at all. With the SOL PerpetuaTM system your basement will receive heat on sunny days even if you have a power failure, possibly enough to avert a freeze up.
If your house does not have a basement you may not wish to add heat to it when you are away. You may wish to order a Module with a duct connection so that unwanted heated air can be ducted outside.