installing hot water solar drainback system

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by syncmaster, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. syncmaster

    syncmaster Member

    May 30, 2005
    2010 Prius
    I thought this would be a good place to post about a hot water solar system I installed about 3 months ago.
    It is very hard to find good info on this subject, so I will list my experiance on it.

    here is a link to the system I installed:

    Warning... I just noticed that this company linked above raised the price of
    the system $1000.00 in 6 months.

    If you are going to buy a system price around and watch the shipping charges.

    Here is another site for solar systems:

    Heliodyne is supposed to be the best, here is a link to that:

    I installed 2- 4x10 flat plate collectors on my roof and 120 gal tank in my basement.
    This is a drainback system so when the system is off the water in the collectors drainback to a holding tank in the basment. THis type of system is harder to install because the pipes must be carefully installed so the water drains down to the holding tank. I installed it myself so I took my time and did it right.
    I am sure alot of installers wouldn't want to install this type of system because it is harder on them.

    This type of system has alot of benifits
    it can be turned off at a max tempeture (I set mine to 145 degrees max)
    a power outage from the electric company won't effect it.
    It has fewer moving parts thus less chance of a part failure
    it is the easiest solar hot water system for the home owner to maintain.

    The system I installed cost me about $4000.00 for all the parts and shipping. I would exspect having someone install this system it would cost about $8000.00 so you save about half doing it yourself.

    because you are spending alot of money for one of these systems you will want to know the payback time on it. This is hard to figure but I have seen estimates of 5 to 8 years. with the cost of fuel constantly going higher I think the payback period will be even less.

    I am located at Long Island, NY, because of the position of my roof my 2-4x10 collectors are facing south-east. and the angle is less than optimal. On a clear sunny day the 120 gal tank will go from 100 degrees to 145 degrees in about 6 hours. That is pretty good but I didn't realize how many days aren't clear and sunny.
    some days are partly cloudy and I get the 120 gal tank to 130 degrees.
    and of course cloudy and rainy day you get nothing.

    If I was going to do this again I would have installed a larger system 3-4x8 collectprs and a 120 gal tank.
    because you need to grab the solar energy as fast as you can ( would help on those partly cloudy days.

    BY THE WAY there is a income tax credit on hot water solar. between federal income tax and NY state income tax the write off is almost 50%

    I would like to hear from others that have hot water solar systems.
    IF you have a solar hot water system please post in this thread.

    Have a nice day
  2. lobo11581

    lobo11581 New Member

    Feb 8, 2009
    Valley Stream, NY
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Syncmaster, I realize this reply is long after your original post. I live in Valley Stream and am considering solar hot water. I'm curious, now that you've had the system in place for quite a while. How would you characterize the overall performance? Does it heat adequately year round? Are there periods of the year that it doesn't heat well or at all? Any issues with cold days or wear on the system because of weather?