Installation of a vacuum solar collector with a remote storage tank

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How to choose and correctly install a solar collector to provide your family with hot water? In what sequence is the collector assembled, what communications need to be connected to it and what tool is needed for this? You will learn all this from our article..

A properly selected and correctly installed vacuum solar collector with a remote tank is able to provide your family with full hot water not only in summer, but also in autumn and spring.

The number of heating elements (heat pipes) in such systems is proportional to the volume of the storage tank, and if installed correctly, the water in the storage tank will be heated completely during a sunny day. Therefore, for the correct selection of such a water heater, it is enough just to determine the daily volume of hot water consumption by a family.

If the actual consumption is difficult to determine, you can use the rates. According to SNiP, the daily consumption of hot water per person ranges from 85 to 115 liters, which depends on the improvement of the home. In this case, the temperature of hot water is 55-60 ° С.

Installation of a vacuum solar collector

The selection of a solar water heater is not difficult, but the correct installation of such a system is a more difficult task. After all, initially the collector is supplied completely disassembled and for its self-assembly, installation and connection, you will need the skills of an installer, roofer, plumber and electrician. You will also need a tool, and most importantly, the ability to use it.

What does a vacuum solar collector consist of?

The scope of delivery of the solar collector includes:

  1. Storage tank.
  2. Installation frame (disassembled).
  3. Heat pipes.
  4. Vacuum tubes.
  5. Aluminum heat transfer sheets.
  6. Fixing cups.
  7. Overpressure relief check valve.
  8. Automatic air vent.
  9. Various seals and screens.
  10. Fasteners (bolts, nuts).
  11. Electric heating element.
  12. Safety thermostat.
  13. temperature sensor.
  14. Mounting block.
  15. Controller.
  16. Set of wires.

The scope of delivery may vary depending on the manufacturer, certain elements may be supplied separately from the basic set. More detailed information on the design of the vacuum solar collector and the purpose of each element can be found in the operating article.

The location of the collector relative to the cardinal points and the optimal angle of inclination

For the most efficient operation of a solar water heater, it is necessary to correctly orient it relative to the cardinal points. For the northern hemisphere, the orientation of the collector plane to the south is optimal. The smaller the deviation, the better. If it is impossible to orient the collector to the south, you should choose between west and east.

Installation of a vacuum solar collector

The angle of inclination of the solar collector relative to the plane of the earth should be in the range from 45 to 55 °. However, for a water heater with a remote tank, it is taken into account in advance in the frame design. It will be enough to install the frame supports in a horizontal plane, or with a slight slope.

During installation, it is also necessary to take into account the absence of shading of the vacuum pipes of the water heater by chimneys, roof parts, trees, etc..

Collector assembly and supply of communications

You will need the following tools to install the solar collector:

  1. Open keys.
  2. Socket wrenches.
  3. Adjustable and pipe wrenches.
  4. Drill or hammer drill.
  5. Soldering iron for polypropylene pipes.
  6. Screwdriver.

It is more convenient to carry out work on the installation of the solar collector with a team of at least two people. The entire build process can be broken down into several distinct steps:

  1. Assembling the frame.
  2. Securing the frame to the roof.
  3. Lifting the tank to the roof and installing it.
  4. Installation of auxiliary nodes.
  5. Water supply.
  6. Filling the tank with water.
  7. Installation of heating elements.
  8. Electricity supply to the collector.
  9. Connecting heating element, temperature sensor.
  10. Installing a controller in the house.
  11. System startup.

Let’s consider each stage separately.

Assembling the frame

It is most convenient to assemble the frame directly at the place where you plan to install the system. If it will be a roof, then it is much easier to transfer all the parts separately upward than to pull the complete assembly there. The sequence of assembly of the frame is indicated in the instructions for the product..

All bolted connections must be firmly tightened to avoid loosening during operation.

Tip: it is better to lubricate the bolts and nuts with grease to prevent corrosion.

Securing the frame to the roof

The solar collector must be securely attached to the roof as it has a lot of windage. If the installation is made on a concrete roof, an anchor can be used to secure it. If the roof surface is made of slate, shingles, etc., the frame must be fixed in the lathing timber with powerful screws..

The collector frame is designed to be installed on a level surface or with a slight slope. For installation on a sloped roof, additional frame supports must be provided to compensate for slopes. The fixing points of the frame on the roof must be sealed to prevent leakage.

Installation of a vacuum solar collector

Lifting the tank to the roof and installing it

The most difficult task at the stage of assembling a solar water heater is lifting the storage tank to the roof, in view of its large volume and weight. In domestic conditions, it is most convenient to raise the tank on a rope, tying it with dense material to prevent mechanical damage. After lifting to the roof, the tank is fixed to the frame with nuts.

Installation of auxiliary nodes

Before supplying water to the collector, it is necessary to mount auxiliary units. These include:

  • temperature sensor;
  • Heating element;
  • automatic air vent.

These parts are mounted on the gaskets that come with the water heater. A socket wrench is required to mount the temperature sensor.

Installation of a vacuum solar collector

Water supply

To supply water to the water heater, you can use any pipes, the main thing is that they are designed for a temperature of at least 95 ° C. Reinforced polypropylene pipes are optimal in terms of price and quality. An important characteristic of such pipes is their frost resistance..

There are situations when subzero temperatures come suddenly, and the owner does not have time to drain the water from the water heater in time. The tank does not freeze immediately and can be supported by an electric heating element, but in the absence of water parsing, it grabs pipes quite quickly. In such a situation, the metal plastic tears, while polypropylene retains its properties after thawing..

Selection of the pipe diameter is also important. If you plan to use hot water at home, it will be enough to choose the diameter of the pipes corresponding to the diameter of the inlet water supply. The best option would be the 20th or 25th polypropylene pipe. Pipes with a larger diameter should be chosen if it is envisaged to analyze water from a water heater at the same time by several consumers (for example, in a hotel).

Installation of a vacuum solar collector

It is also necessary to take into account that the length of the communications to the collector is quite large compared to the heating devices installed in the house. And the farther the collector is from the point of water sampling, the more it will have to be drained before hot water flows out of the tap (1 running meter of reinforced polypropylene pipe O 20 contains ~ 0.13 liters of water, and 1 running meter pipes O 25 ~ 0.27 liters). Therefore, it is necessary to install the collector as close as possible to the consumption points with a minimum length of communications.

You can read more about working with polypropylene pipes in our article. To reduce heat loss, pipes must be insulated. It is also worth considering that many types of insulation must be protected from the effects of solar radiation. Aluminum tape is perfect for this purpose..

The solar collector in the common system must be connected in parallel with additional heating devices, if the water heater is not provided as the only source of hot water. It is also necessary to install an overpressure relief valve, which is supplied with the water heater..

More detailed information on the collector piping can be found in the operation article.

Filling the tank with water

After connecting the water supply to the solar water heater, it is necessary to fill the storage tank with water and check its tightness, as well as inspect all pipe connections for water leaks. To do this, leave the tank under pressure for several hours. After that, a careful inspection is carried out and, if necessary, troubleshooting.

Installation of heating elements

After making sure that the connections of the storage tank are tight, you can start installing the heating elements. For this, an aluminum heat-conducting sheet and a silicone plug are put on the copper heat pipe. The tube with the sheet is placed inside a glass vacuum tube, on the bottom of which a fixing cup is put on. A rubber boot is also put on the vacuum tube. The copper tip of the heat pipe is immersed inside the brass sleeve (condenser) until it stops.

Installation of a vacuum solar collector

Installation of a vacuum solar collector

The tubes are treated with thermal contact grease, which must not be removed. Next, the fixing cup is snapped onto the frame bracket.

Installation of a vacuum solar collector

All vacuum tubes are sequentially fastened to the bracket. After that, the bracket is tightened and its final fixation on the frame.

Installation of a vacuum solar collector

After fixing, a boot is put on, which is necessary to protect the tubes from contamination and for additional thermal insulation.

Installation of a vacuum solar collector

After connecting the vacuum pipes, you can already use the manifold to heat water, but you still cannot control the temperature and control the heating of the tank..

Electricity supply to the collector

It is also advisable to connect the power supply to the solar water heater. This will make it possible to fully use the capabilities of the reservoir. To do this, a mounting block is mounted on the frame of the device, into which it is necessary to supply 220 volts and to which the temperature sensor, heating element and controller are connected. The mounting block is made waterproof, but it will not be superfluous to provide for a visor or other protection from precipitation.

Installation of a vacuum solar collector

It is advisable to install a separate machine to power the water heater. Since the main load falls on the electric heating element, the power of which is not more than 2.0 kW, a 1.5 mm cable is required to supply power to the collector2 and a 10 A machine. Also, the water heater must be grounded.

Connecting heating element, temperature sensor

After installing the mounting block, it is necessary to connect the electric heating element and the temperature sensor according to the scheme specified in the product instructions. The heating element is connected through a protective capillary thermostat for water overheating above 95 ° С.

Installation of a vacuum solar collector

Wires, thermostat and fasteners are supplied with the water heater. Connecting a heating element in the collector is similar to connecting a heating element in a conventional boiler.

Installing the controller in the house

Also, a controller is connected to the mounting block, which makes it possible to control the electric heating of the tank, displays the temperature and can also interact with additional devices, for example, a solenoid valve. It is desirable to place the controller in a convenient place in order to be able to monitor the water temperature.

System startup

After connecting the water supply and electricity, it remains to program the controller by setting a schedule for heating the water, the temperature that should be maintained in the storage tank, and other useful parameters. This completes the work and the collector is ready to provide you with free hot water. However, do not forget about timely maintenance of the installation, which will extend the life and efficiency of the solar water heater..

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