Aussies Living Simply

Talk to me about Solar Hot Water Systems…

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    I’m starting to investigate solar hot water heaters for our new place.

    What do you have? What are the pro’s and con’s?

    + any other advice.

    Cheers 🙂


    we have a dux. it’s working fine though there are a few people on whirlpool who have had issues. mine was installed july last year. hindsight says we should have gone smaller and installed solar panels with the money left over 😉


    How big is your system?


    There are a few different types,

    *roof top tank and panels where the water you use is heated by the panels

    *roof top tank and panels where the water you use is heated by a glycol? mix from the panels

    *roof top panels and ground tank, water is circulated by a pump

    Different brands,

    Solar hart has an anode that needs to be replaced yearly? about $200?

    others that have stainless tanks, I have edwards, just replaced solarhert

    others have varying tank quality,

    There are some different panels avail

    What you use depends on water quality, if the temp where you live will freeze water, if you are happy with the tank on your roof,

    So what is your water quality like, does it freeze, are you happy to have the tanl on your roof, how many people do you need to service, how much sun do you get


    Water in winter will be coooooold!! Freezing is not uncommon. I’d prefer the tank off the roof. Actually, because of the roof design we have to look at northern facing stands for any panels… but should get sun for the majority of the day.

    Winter can be gloomy though.


    So you can have panels on the roof and the tank on the ground and then the water is pumped up so uses some mains electricity, these are ok for frost areas?

    Or you can, I did for about a year, have a whole system on the ground, but not sure how regulations would like this if that an issue

    Edwards have a titan panel that is supposed to make more hot water for gloomy conditions, I have them but dont know how they compare to others,

    You will also have either mains or gas boost


    check out evacuated tube systems, heard good reports about them. at least no tank on the roof.



    ours is the largest system, about 400 or so litres 🙂 Cost the same as our 3.2kW inverter and 2kW panels


    We have the panels on the roof and the tank on the ground. They work well here on the Sunshine Coast because (normally) you have fine sunny days all winter – perfect when you need a hot shower. Summer is overcast usually so the water isn’t as hot, but that doesn’t matter as much in summer.

    At times we’ve had to boil the kettle to do the dishes and last year with all the rain here in Qld we had to use the booster quite a bit, which pushed up our electricity bill.

    But overall, our electricity use has dropped thanks to the solar hws.

    Also, the installers were going to put the booster switch out in the power box outdoors – not a good idea 1) you have to go outside to turn it on and 2) it would be easy to forget its on and run up a big bill.

    Make sure your booster switch is somewhere obvious inside so you can turn it on for half an hour then turn it off again.




    Thanks all 🙂 Lots to think about…


    a bit more detail – family of 6. this winter i started a physical job (i’m pretty unfit) so i really enjoyed my hot baths to ease the aches and pains. since installing, we’ve used the booster 3 times, for a few hours each time. Our booster switch is in the kitchen, up high so only big people can reach it 🙂


    We’ll be installing the smallest Edwards (180 litre) system on our roof with the glycol in it.

    It will be connected to our combustion stove via a heat exchanger mounted underneath it.

    Our logic –


    [li]There’s only 2 of us and we are happy to wait if the water isn’t hot enough to have a shower or wash dishes.[/li]

    [li]The combustion stove will be giving us hot water on gloomy days[/li]

    [li]The small system is the smallest weight for a roof mounted system[/li]

    [li]Close mounted system use thermo syphoning to heat all the water in the tank rather than a pump. If the pump has a problem, the system stops working[/li]

    [li]Heat pumps and ground mounted tanks with circulation pumps pull power that we don’t want to have to service from a solar power system[/li]


    Sort out what your criteria are and it might narrow down your shopping list!


    Bron post=326436 wrote: … Our booster switch is in the kitchen, up high so only big people can reach it 🙂

    Or small people on very tall chairs! 😉

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