Problems with old solar hot water system

Discussion in 'Solar and Geothermal Water Heating Forum' started by cocolema, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. cocolema

    cocolema New Member

    Mar 23, 2010
    We've just purchased a house with solar hot water system. The system was installed at some indeterminate time in the past (probably more than 8 years ago). It has two panels on the roof and three 80 gal. tanks in the basement. Two of the tanks are normal electric hot water heater tanks. The third is a huge, blue 80 gal. solar water tank. The solar tank has the normal in and out pipes for water, but also has 3 small aluminum lines feeding into it. It also has an electric pump attached. The tanks are connected in serial, normal-solar-normal. I'm not sure if it works and I'm afraid to turn it on. The two normal tanks are highly corroded. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    What could happen if you turn it on? Either it heats the water with solar or it doesn't. IF it doesn't then there is either a pump or control problem. I am surprised that the solar water heater does not also have an electrical supply to it, since it should also have been able to be used in a single tank configuration which would have needed it for backup. The arrangement of the three tanks is subject to the installers concept of which way would save the most energy. Normally, the solar tank last would use the most electricity, and the solar tank first would use the least.
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