Aussies Living Simply

Solar Hot Water

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    We have a Solahart hot water system on our roof around 12 years old, had to call them out today as when we have had to boost the system due to overcast weather it has been tripping on the electricity board. The service guy came out this afternoon and had a look at the system and found it to be corroding both inside and outside, my dh went onto the roof and he showed him how badly it was corroded, the bad news is that we need a new system, tank or complete system, quotes are being sent by email next week.

    As we had the home insulation package installed last year we are now ineligible for any rebates so it is going to be a very expensive exercise to replace either the tank of the whole thing.

    Just wondering what sort of systems others have, or replaced solar systems with, Edwards have a stainless steel tank. I thought we may as well shop around, if the whole thing has to be replaced we are not forced to replace it with another Solahart system.


    I will be interested in any replies you get as I need to buy one as well for my shack.



    I have a Chromagen system with the tank at ground level and just the panels on the roof. It works well, but I’ve only had it three years. I already had to call them out once because the little pump that pumps from the tank to the roof had clogged up with deposits from the water. It was a cheap fix, but I didn’t think I’d need anything doing to it for many more years than that.


    i always thought we might like to go for an evacuated tube system using a standard tank, i know they realy push to sell a new tank with it expensive of course, but even a solar heart the tank is like a basic tank just it uses solar power to run he heater on sunny days.



    even a solar heart the tank is like a basic tank

    depends which model, the J series has a storage tank with a heating tank around it, the L series has a standar type tank.

    our J series rusted out the heating tank so i replumbed it like the l series, only problem is that the tank does not retain the heat well.

    Im looking at the stainless beasley as well


    Well here’s one for thinking out of the box…..(or in the box….)

    Go grab and old fridge and a old mains hot water tank, strip off all the insulation from the tank and make sure the fridge is big enough to hold the tank. Paint the tank black and put some shiny material on an angle in the fridge to direct sunlight to the tank. Make sure you have a tempering valve on the output and at night simply close the fridge door to keep the tank warm. Depending on each situation a pump may be needed but a DIY solar batch heater has to be the cheapest and best way to go.

    Cheers Bryan


    Hi Karma

    The newer style evacuated tube systems are very good. They can be a bit costly though. It may also require a bunch of plumbing to move from a rooftop tank system to a tank on the ground system (which most of the tube types are). Given that you already have a tank on your roof the cheapest option would be a direct replacement. Properly looked after (anode changed regularly), the basic solahart systems can last a very long time. Our tank is over 12 years and still going strong. Our panels are over 25 years old and still in perfect condition.

    You can get stainless tanks that will hook into the existing solahart panels and will last almost forever. Expensive though.

    You do get what you pay for so get quotes and go with the best you can afford.




    Fishfood post=314715 wrote: Saw this on ebay

    Wow :jawdrop: that surprised me at how cheap or should I say affordable they are the only problem is pick up only, I am a bit disappointed that the life expectancy is only fifteen years given that all components are stainless steel.

    Thanks for the link 🙂


    Like I said… you do get what you pay for. if it looks too good to be true.. it probably is.

    You need to make sure that any hot water system is certified for use in Australia. You would also need to arrange your own installation probably using a plumber who isn’t experience in the unit they are installing.

    Not saying those aren’t a good unit… just that you need to be careful and do your homework.

    Caveat Emptor.



    Edit; oh yeah.. and 15 years expected lifespan on a stainless tank worries me too. It should be longer than that. But there are different grades of stainless and this may be using one of the cheaper ones.


    Bummer on that mum just had her old solahart serviced last year (thinks it’s about 15 years old) and got the sacraficial anode replaced just in time. Fortunately external corrosion is not a issue in her area.

    I’d ask the local plumbers what to avoid (ie which ones they need to repair all the time). DH who is a sparky says there is one brand of the heat pump type around here that are notorious for needing expensive repairs 2 days after the warrenty runs out locally (he couldn’t remember what brand it was).


    Thanks for your inputs, we have discussing it over the weekend, going to get quotes from different suppliers, re just seeing if the tank alone can be replaced, apparently Solahart only give a one year warranty if the tank alone is replaced. I would think the solar panels would be good for a few more years. Will let you know what our decision is but may be a while to get quotes and go through them.


    We have had our evacuated tube system in place for a little over 2 years now. Earlier this year we had the first ever issue with it – it stopped working.

    When the guy came out, it turns out the water we have here had corroded it’s way both through the back-up heating element in our stainless steel tank and the impeller for the pump had corroded right through.

    All up, it was a $900 fix. Which neither our warranty or our home insurance would cover.

    It concerns me that it only took 2 years for that much corrosion to take place. Our intentions are to put in a larger rainwater tank and plumb the hotwater service to that, which will hopefully stop any future corrosion. Just have to get saving!


    ali_celt post=314854 wrote:

    It concerns me that it only took 2 years for that much corrosion to take place. Our intentions are to put in a larger rainwater tank and plumb the hotwater service to that, which will hopefully stop any future corrosion. Just have to get saving!

    That’s some very serious corrosion… What sort of water are you using? I’m guessing some fairly salty bore water if its doing that to a tank inside of 2 years.

    Another option for you is a water filter. You can get them with cartridges that will remove salt and soften hard water as well. Very good for preventing tank corrosion. And maybe cheaper than a water tank. Plus they do the whole house so that water isn’t corroding your water pipes, taps, appliances or bodies…




    My only experience with solar hot water heaters is with a stainless steel Edwards brand. It’s about 300 litres, with two heat collector panels. The original owner thought it was looking old so got a it removed from the roof for a brand new one. A friend scored it for me, totally nothing wrong with it. While in storage for a few years, 7 hours drive from me, it got damaged. After I collected it I pulled the outer colour-bond skin off the stainless steel tank and replaced it. I repaired some damage on one of the collectors then our plumber helped me get it on the roof where he connected it up. It’s been going trouble free for years on my roof and years on the roof before. Edwards brand, well I can only say that model, is well made.

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