How to disable my batch solar hot water heater temporarily

Discussion in 'Solar and Geothermal Water Heating Forum' started by jeff_bathroom, Dec 8, 2016.

  1. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    Hi,
    Long story short; the installer didn't check pressure and didn't install pressure tank,
    so my water pressure was about 150 psi and the 125psi pressure valve on the solar tank dribbled
    often enough to leave bad stains on roof shingles. I want to drain the solar tank, disconnect it and
    move it out of the way so that I can get at the good shingles beneath the water heater and replace
    the bad with the good, so that my roof will not look crappy. The shingles are discontinued.
    Question is how to turn it off, drain it, etc hopefully leaving my regular water heater working.
    I think the red handle below is the cold water inlet to both the regular hot water heater and going up into the solar heater. Will this red handled valve just shut off cold water to both heaters? In other words,
    I can't just run my regular hot water heater by itself right? I'm not sure what type of valve that is, but it looks like just an on/off 1/4 turn valve. Appreciate any advice.
    hw_heater 002.JPG
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Are the pipes up to the roof heater the ones to the left of the expansion tank? If so, I suspect that closing the yellow-handled and red handled ball valves would let you isolate the roof heater. Then hook a hose to one of the blue-handled spigots. When you open the valve, does water flow continually, or does it taper down?

    I don't know if you can still draw hot water while in that state, either.

    Is the green-handled valve on the incoming cold water?

    Another photo showing the WH and connections below might give info.
     
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  4. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    water heater 2 001.JPG
    I believe the pipes to the left, each with blue valve knobs are the ones going to the solar heater. The one on
    the right being cold input and the one to the left the warm output from solar to the standard heater. I'll get a couple more photos.
    I hope you're right about turning off both except that I'm concerned that turning off the red handled valve would
    also turn off the cold input to the standard water heater.
    If you note the small horizontal copper tube that appears to connect to the vertical expansion tank copper tube; that doesn't really connect. It's a ice maker sized faucet behind the expansion tank. So, I think that identifies the valve it's connected to as the incoming house cold water. That connects to both the water inlet to the standard hot water heater and the cold water inlet to the solar heater. It is the right-hand pipe with the blue knob.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2016
  5. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Fortunately, you will not cause damage by trying that. If you turn of the water to the WH for a long while, turn off the WH.

    That valve with the red handle looks kinda special. Maybe the yellow also. It may be that they are designed to do exactly what you want. I am hopeful that turning both valves isolates the roof system and routes water directly to the WH input.
     
  6. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    Ok, I can try that. Next question is; what will happen if I drain the solar unit? Will the sun still coming in damage something when no water is there to absorb the energy? How can I drain it and not damage it? Since they don't get power, I'm unsure how that works. Black paper over it? Work at night. :)
     
  7. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    I just remembered back when I wanted to turn all the house water off,
    I turned off the water at the well. That turned off the cold water but the hot still ran.
    Seems I turned either the red or yellow handled valves, so I just turned the red handle horizontally
    and ran hot in the laundry sink. It did not stop. I then tried the yellow and after several seconds all water stopped.
    So, at the very least it seems that if I disable the incoming water from the solar heater, I don't get any hot water.
     
  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I have no experience with such things, and I certainly am not speaking as an expert. However I am picturing this as being tubing that carries potable water. As such, there is no antifreeze. I expect that the hot water you got after turning off the main water valve was by gravity draining the system up top. When that water ran out, no more water.

    I see you have a well. When you sanitize your system (well and plumbing), you also want to sanitize the solar heater. Is your well deep or shallow? Do you have a softener?
     
  9. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    Thanks for the honest appraisal. I don't think the water that ran out was the water in the solar panel though. It wasn't nearly that much volume. I suspect it had to do with whatever was left in the lines.
    I have not had to sanitize my system as I had two tests done this year and no bacteria or whatever it is that it tests for.
    My well is called a deep well, but I hit water at about 75 feet, which is shallow compared to some of the 300 foot jobs.
    I can hit shallow water though much sooner. In fact I was digging a 4x4 post for my garden and I hit a great deal of water
    at 2 1/2 feet after some rain. It was the only one of the four I had to pour quickrete into. That did the trick though.
     
  10. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Those bacterial tests usually only test for coliform bacteria. However if there is no sulfur or iron action, you may not need sanitizing. It is generally a good thing to do.
     
  11. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    I definitely have iron.
     
  12. jeff_bathroom

    jeff_bathroom Member

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    So, since I'm disconnecting this unit, should I also have it serviced at the same time? Can it be self serviced or do I need a pro to do it? I read something about periodic maintenance to solar heaters, but I wasn't sure if that applied to these simple batch heaters.
     

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