We are ECCA approved installers and maintain a wide variety of solar systems. The components of a solar system include the storage tank, circulation pump, controller, piping, electrical system, sensors, collector, roof flashings, fixings, and valves. These elements make up the system and need checking or fault locating and maintenance.
The roof aspects include collector, flashings, and a sensor. These are located in a location that can be difficult to access. When working on the roof, it is mandatory to follow the heights provisions. We may need to use a scaffold or harnesses depending on the height and location.
We perform various maintenance tasks on the solar water heating system. The tank can be in the roof, in a cupboard or outside the house. We check the tank for leaks and whether the pump is working fine or not. We check whether the controllers are working well or not. Additionally, we also check whether the collector is generating heat, and the pump is transferring hot water to the tank.
If the system is running out of hot water, we check if the element and thermostat are working. If the system has top-up power, we check if the sensors are working.
If the system is not working at all, then we check if it has power. If the water heater is causing high power bills, we check if the valves are working and all the insulation is in place. Occasionally the collectors can leak or be affected by frost damage.
Solar Water Heating System Makes and Models
There are a lot of makes and models in New Zealand. They all have a similar mode of operation, the collector is heated by the sun, and the sensor activates a pump to store heated water in a tank repeated over and over till the tank is hot. If not, an element heats the remainder to 60°C. Some cheaper systems have no element control, i.e., the solar panel doesn’t do much. We have had systems that have never worked, as the installer did not have the skills to commission the system or it was never maintained.
Is Solar Water Heating Relevant Today in relation to Photo Voltaic power systems?
This is a big question. Most solar water heaters are around 1.5kW to 2kW output, and it takes quite an expense and roof area to generate that with PV. If a building has a compliant solar tank, it is not much more to add a solar collector.
Most PV systems are grid-connected and there is nothing much to put the power to during sunshine hours. During work hours when no one is at home, little power is used, hardly much point in having a PV system and the power company buys it back at a very low rate. Hence a battery should be installed.
Some systems put the power to the water heater, but a 2kW PV system is a lot more than a solar collector of the same rating. Hot water heating is about a third of the power consumed in a property, and a solar water heater is the best way to do it.
Contact Southern Plumbing for solar water heating system installation, repair and maintenance. For a free quote on solar water heating systems call us on 0800 484 353.
We also offer plumbing, electrical, drainage, roofing, gasfitting and other services. Our services are available on 24/7 basis in Wellington Central, Wellington City, Aro Valley, Brooklyn, Khandallah, Kilbirnie, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, Newtown, Lyall Bay, Johnsonville, Karori, Seatoun, Petone, Porirua, Tawa, Te Aro, Kelburn, Haitaitai, Hutt Valley, Island Bay, Kelson, Maungaraki, Miramar, Thorndon, Whitby and other suburbs.