Solar Water Heater
Posted by Ted Bowen on August 22, 2002 at 18:59:46:
I have just installed a supplementary solar water heater using my old gas water heater as the Collector tank which is inside a glaed housing facing due south. It is connected to the domestic electric water heater via 1/2 " pipes which are fitted with drain valves about 3 feet lower than the Collector and which empty into an open sump. Cold water is fed into the bottom of the Collector, and Hot water is discharged via a tube that collects water inside the top of the collector. The problem is restricted flow, sometimes almost non existent. It takes 8 minutes to fill the Collector, but when drawing hot water the flow is considerably slower, and keeps slowing almost to a trickle - making it useless for showers. Also, when using both drains,(expecting just the water in the solar hot water line to drain on that side, and continuing flow from the bottom of the Collector until it was empty) what happened was a rush of water through both drains, which rapidly slowed to almost nothing. In fact it takes overnight to empty the Collector which only took 8 minutes to fill.
This Solar collector system is based on the "El Paso" system broadcast on the internet, but modified for Canada's winters (hence the drains) and substituting N.O. and N.C. solenoid valves (all working perfectly,& tested separately)for the manual valves of the "El Paso" system. I have broken the lines of the Collector and flushed through the Collector and lines - in both directions - and flows seemed normal.
What is the problem, and what can I do about it? Your help will be most appreciated.

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