Solar Hot Water Heating - Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any questions regarding solar hot water heating or solar energy then please don't hesitate to ask. You may find the answers in our frequently asked questions below.
Question: Is solar water heater a viable alternative to gas or electricity?
Yes. Our Solar Water Heaters can be used all year round in all regions of New Zealand and can provide all of your hot waters needs on clear or intermittently overcast days. If it is particularly overcast or raining, electric or gas automatic backup may be required.
Question: How long will it take to recoup my investment?
The NZ Solar Water Heaters are affordable hot water heaters. For a household of 4, the price of a full system may not be too much more than an electric or gas system. Depending on you location (solar activity) and current hot water usage the annual electricity or gas saving will differ. Depending on your hot water usage we estimate that, on average, it will take three to five years in savings to pay back the initial investment. From then on it is all profit, like having a pay rise.
Question: Can NZ Solar Water Heaters be used in cold conditions?
Yes. The Normal heat tubes and SHCMV tubes solar water heater and solar collectors can be used in temperatures as low as -40deg Celsius, although performance is reduced in such extreme conditions. Good heat output is still achieved in mild sub-zero conditions.
Question: Will Water be heated on a cloudy day?
Yes. Although the efficiency of the solar collector is reduced on overcast days it will still be able to heat water for normal use. If it is a heavily clouded day or raining, then gas or electric backup may be required to maintain water at the required temperature. This system will be automated so you don't have to worry about running out of hot water on a rainy day.
Question: Can I use a solar collector with my existing hot water system?
Question: Can the Vacuum Tube Solar Heater be mounted on a flat surface?
Yes. Vacuum tube solar water heaters and solar collectors can be mounted on a flat roof or on the ground by using a stainless steel A frame, or by adding extra tubes to account for the lack of angle to the sun.
Question: How do I protect my solar system during subzero temperatures?
If you have a system that is operating in areas with subzero temperatures then freeze protection must be considered. The easiest means of preventing freezing is to use a controller with a low temperatures setting, therefore when the manifold temperature drops below a certain defined temperature (5degrees C), the pump will circulate. The pump will not have to run continually, just periodically, the frequency of which will depend on the outside temperature.
Question: Who installs NZ Solar water heating systems?
Registered craftsmen plumbers who guarantee their work install all NZ Solar systems.
Question: Can NZ Solar systems be fitted to an existing house/building?
Yes, see the specifications page for unit sizes.
Question: What happens if I go away for a period of time?
The system will continue automatically.
Question: What maintenance of the solar water heater and solar collector is required?
Under normal circumstances no maintenance of the system is required. Due to the shape of the tubes regular rainfall and wind should keep the tubes clean. Should a tube become broken it should be replaced. This, however, is an inexpensive and easy job. Any "handy" person can install a new tube. Normal heat tube and SHCMV tube solar water heaters and solar collectors can operate with several broken tubes.
Question: Can NZ Solar Water Heaters and Solar Collectors be used for a large-scale hot water production?
Definitely. Solar water heaters and solar collectors can be connected in series to provide large scale hot water production for commercial settings such as a school, hotel, office building etc. There is really no limit to the size of the system!
Question: How will I know if the water is being heated?
NZ Solar systems have a microcomputer with a digital readout, which gives the owner total control and ongoing information about water temperature.
Question: Can the solar water heater heat water to a high enough temperature?
Yes, the system can be designed to give you an average output temperature as high as 60-85deg C (140 - 185deg F). If you consider that when having a shower the water temperature is usually around 32-43deg C (90-110deg F), and scalding can occur at 54deg C (130deg F), this temperature output is more than sufficient. In fact in New Zealand we have to fit a thermostatic tempering valve to your house plumbing to conform to government health and safety regulations. This valve will temper water down to 55deg C.
Question: What happens if one of the tubes is broken?
The vacuum tubes can be replaced very easily. They are also fairly inexpensive. Your local distributor will stock spare tubes. The system can operate with several broken tubes, but the efficiency will be reduced, so it is recommended that broken tubes be replaced immediately.
Question: Are Vacuum Tube Collectors more efficient than flat panel collectors?
On average, yes. Vacuum tube collectors are superior to flat panel collectors in a number of ways.
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New Zealand Solar Limited
Your Solar Hot Water Specialists
PO Box 3764 Richmond, Nelson 7050
1 - 19 McPherson Street Richmond, Nelson 7020
Phone 0800 697 6527
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