Sunday, 3 November 2013

An expansion of an earlier post on hot water

In an earlier post back in June I touched briefly on  our hot water at the farm.
When we purchased the property the only hot water we had was  an existing  collection of messy tanks and pipes up on the roof that was gravity fed from a tank on the hill behind the house and then passed through  pipes into the kitchen and into the firebox of our wood cook stove and was heated that way. Not so great  or efficient in our long hot Aussie summers.

When we  first tried to get it all working, we lit the fire, and Brian and his uncle got up on the roof(This was after a couple of beers during happy hour,late in the afternoon0 to find out why the water wasn't coming through to the house.
Our Aunt Barb and I were in the kitchen after  hours of cleaning, as we had found the house in a filthy state, when all of a sudden there was a great  explosion, and soot and ash went everywhere. Apparently a valve or something up on top had been  put in back to front and the pressure had built up as the fire heated up  until it released with a bang.
We then heard the men laughing and went outside to see what was happening, only to find them soaking wet up on the roof where a pipe had blown off.
After a massive clean up we were able to all sit down and laugh about it and could see the funny side of it.

The above pics show my poor old stove in pieces being cleaned out and  our wonderful Aunt and Uncle who have helped us so much  along the way.
We decided that this type of system wasn't ideal and we had  been hearing about evacuated tube hot water services, so decided to take the plunge and purchase one.
We had to get one specifically designed to be used on  a gravity feed water service, so we ordered it, and transported it up to the farm and there it sat for a few months until we were able to call in a few volunteers to lend a hand.

I added these photos to give  a perspective on how big this system is. The tank holds 300 litres( about 70 gallons) and is sitting on a queen sized bed. There are 10 glass tubes that heat the water from the sun.

Brian dismantled the old system and removed it off the roof and then they began assembling the framework for the new system to sit on.

each tube had to be filled with water, with a special silicone seal on it and then had to be carefully positioned into the system.

It took several hours to  complete this, but with our extra help all ran smoothly.
We decided to keep  the circuit of pipes that ran into our wood stove as an extra back up in case we got a few too many cloudy days in a row. We rarely have had to  light the fire to heat the water, quite  the opposite in fact, we have had to cover the  tubes over summer with shade cloth to  stop the water overheating and evaporating, and also to protect the glass from hail storms if we are away.( the glass is hail resistant but not guaranteed    to  be hail proof.
We have found this system to be wonderful ,it has been up now for about 6 years and we have never had a problem with it. Our next door neighbours have just recently also purchased  one similar to ours as they have seen how successful it is.
Nothing beats the luxury of hot water, and life is just so much more comfortable with it.
Above is how the place stands, solar on the roof of the shed and the evaporated tube solar hot water on the roof of the house, they arn't elegant but they are efficient.
So enough of my ramblings,
Until we meet again,
Jane .


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