Faqs

Frequently Asked System Questions

Solar Hot Water System Problems

My water has gone cloudy or discoloured what does this mean?

Cloudy or discoloured water indicates a problem with your cylinder and is the first sign that the internal lining of your hot water tank is deteriorating. If the colour of your household water has changed it is time to seriously consider replacing your system or the anode.

Why is the PTR leaking so much?

Pressure Temperature & Relief (PTR) Valve is located on the side of the water tank. The PTR valve is an essential component of your solar hot water system. The PTR valve is designed to allow 3-5% of your total tank volume to discharge during heating. This allows for hot water expansion and also ensures that your system continues to run safely. If you notice that your PTR valve is leaking excessively during the day and night you need to contact us to have it replaced.

Solar Hot Water Systems

Is the position on the roof important?

Solar power systems work best on an unshaded north-facing roof. It is also possible to install a solar power system on an east or west facing roof. However this will reduce the performance of the system.

What are evacuated tube solar collectors?

This more recent technology offers significant gains in performance and efficiency. Unlike flat plate collectors, evacuated tube systems consist of several glass tubes installed side-by-side on the roof of your property. Copper pipes inside the tubes become hot as sunlight is absorbed. This heat is transferred to an insulated storage area where water continually flows through and heats. This heated water is usually stored in a ground mounted tank.

What are flat plate collectors?

Flat plate solar hot water systems are reliable, efficient and currently the most commonly installed in Australia. Made from strong tempered and patterned glass, flat plate collectors absorb energy from the sun and use it to heat water. The water is then stored in either a ground or roof mounted tank ready for use.

What does ‘open loop’ and ‘closed loop' mean?

In simple terms, an 'open loop' system is heated by taking the water stored in the hot water tank and passing it directly through the solar collectors, where it is heated before returning to the hot water tank. This is the most popular type of system and is widely used in most areas with generally good water quality and low frost risk areas. A 'closed loop' system employs a heat exchanger either within, or surrounding the storage tank. A heat exchange fluid comprising a mixture of water and food grade glycol is passed through the solar collectors and the stored water is heated when the fluid passes through the heat exchanger. In these systems the heated fluid is separated from the tank water and does not mix. This type of system is generally employed in areas classed as ‘hard water’ where collectors can become blocked or harsh frost areas where the glycol solution prevents the fluid freezing.

What is a ‘booster’?

As a general rule of thumb, on a clear sunny day the solar component of your new solar water heater will generally raise the stored water temperature to around twice the ambient temperature of the day. Your 'booster' utilising either gas or electricity ensures that the water delivered to your taps is always heated to a 'useable' temperature.

What is a roof mounted or high line system?

As the name suggests, roof mounted systems exist almost entirely on the roof of your property, including the solar collectors and storage tank. In the majority of cases, your solar collectors will be installed in a northerly position, to maximise the sun’s energy. Heated water that is stored in your tank is made accessible to your home via mains pressure delivery. As you use hot water in your home, cold water travels through your solar collectors, heats up, and re-fills your storage tank - so you’re never left without hot water.

What Is a split system?

Like roof mounted systems, split system solar collectors are installed facing the north. Instead of installing the water storage tank on the roof, it is ground mounted. As water is heated by the sun in the solar collectors, a sensor activates a circulation pump which pushes the warm water down into the storage tank on the ground. As hot water travels down, cold water travels up to be heated as needed. Evacuated tube hot water systems are almost exclusively installed using the split level method.

Will my system work in overcast conditions?

Yes, in most overcast conditions your solar hot water system will continue to work. Evacuated tube systems are especially efficient in these less than perfect conditions. In cases where cloud cover is particularly thick and light is scarce, your electric or gas booster will help heat your property’s water.

Hot Water Systems

What is a heat pump?

Heat pump technology offers an effective alternative to the traditional hot water heating methods. Easily installed, without the use of solar panels, heat pump technology has been refined over 30 years. Heat pumps work by absorbing heat from surrounding air. The air is sucked into the unit where it heats a liquid refrigerant and converts into gas as its temperature rises. The gas is compressed, generating heat, and is passed through copper tubes which are wrapped around the outside of the water tank. The heat is transferred to the water inside, making it rise in temperature. Though electricity is required as part of this process, it is only about a quarter of the amount that is used by a normal electric hot water heater.

Solar Hot Water Repairs

How often should I have my solar hot water system serviced?

To ensure the longevity, continued performance and safety of your solar hot water system, it is recommended that you service it once every three - five years depending on the system.

Solar Hot Water System Installation

STC's

How long do I have to claim payment for my STCs?

STCs can only be created after a system is completely installed. Time limits apply for the creation of STCs based on the installation date. Solar Water Heater/Heat Pump STCs must be created within 12 months of the install date.

What is an STC worth?

If you are claiming the STC payment as the system/home owner you do not need to register them, we find Greenbank environmental extremely easy to use - www.green-bank.com.au