the Tire Bale house project


solahart Summer 2004 -

We are testing a Solahart Black Chrome XII 80 gallon hot water system we intend to use on the house. We have built a 4X4 frame for it next to our cabin. We lifted it in place using the skid steer since the collectors weigh 88 lbs. each and the tank weighs 363 lbs. Next we hooked up all the pipes and turned on the water to fill the tank, then mixed the heat transfer fluid with water and filled the collector panels. The fluid heats in the collector panels and then the heated fluid travels upward and around the tank warming the water inside. No electrical pump needed.



heat dissipation

We have also installed a heat dissipation kit which runs through the inside of the tank and out the back side. It is designed to keep the water temperature below 176 degrees (F).

We're not going to use the optional gas or electric backup for our testing, only solar. We're curious to see how the winter affects it.



August 2005 Update:

The Solahart is still doing fantastic! Last winter we only had a couple of nights that got down to -20 degrees but still had hot, but not scalding, water. There were only about six times that we had to heat water for showers, each time due to 3-4 consecutive days of clouds during a cold winter. This reinforces our intent to enclose the tank when we install it on the house. Right now, as it stands, it is unprotected from the cold, wind, and snow. This will not be the case on the house.


Summer 2012 Update:

The Solahart solar water system has been fantastic but is showing signs of age. We've noticed that the pipes in the collectors are starting to corrode and one of the collectors retains condensation. It still produces hot water like it always has.

We've decided to switch to a drain back solar water system on the house.  A drain back system has got to be installed correctly so that all the water drains out when the pump shuts off. It is different than a drain down system. A drain down system has an electric valve that drains the system but can cause lots of problems and does not work well where there is danger of freezing. More on this later.

Summer 2014 Update:

One of the Solahart collectors started to leak. As a matter of fact, it totally leaked out all the glycol. Luckily we had a spare collector. Steve took the failed collector apart and found out that the pipe on the bottom was made out of regular steel instead of copper and totally corroded. Read more about this at Steve's blog DifferThink.


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