EcoRenovator  

Go Back   EcoRenovator > Improvements > Solar Heating
Advanced Search
 


Blog Register 60+ Home Energy Saving Tips Recent Posts Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-14-11, 04:24 PM   #21
bennelson
Home-Wrecker
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 546
Thanks: 3
Thanked 165 Times in 96 Posts
Default

Right, the Harbor Freight pump was just for doing a little testing.

I have a very nice pump already, but it doesn't have those handy garden hose connectors like the Harbor Freight pump does.

The pump that I do have is called an El-Cid, and is designed for 12V solar. It's also a REALLY simple pump, so less possible future maintenance.

The downside to it is that it is NOT a high-head pump. It needs to run a pressurized system so that the weight of the liquid going out equals what's coming in, so it's not doing any of the heavy lifting.

I'll need a set of fill/service valves before I would be able to use that pump, as you need to be able to pressurize the line with the pump already in place.

I've seen a solar system charged with fluid before, and know I need to be able to do the same thing. In fact, I am the guy who shot and edited this video -

This one is actually a "cut-down" version of the video they have to train installers. The full video is about 45 minutes or so, and includes filling the system.

__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
bennelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-11, 04:41 PM   #22
Daox
Administrator
 
Daox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Germantown, WI
Posts: 5,463
Thanks: 1,106
Thanked 366 Times in 297 Posts
Default

Is your el cid going to have enough flow for your large panel?
__________________
Current project -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
&
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Daox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-11, 04:57 PM   #23
bennelson
Home-Wrecker
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 546
Thanks: 3
Thanked 165 Times in 96 Posts
Default

It's supposed to be able to do up to 3.5 gpm, but I want to get it hooked up in real-world test conditions.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
bennelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-11, 05:00 PM   #24
Daox
Administrator
 
Daox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Germantown, WI
Posts: 5,463
Thanks: 1,106
Thanked 366 Times in 297 Posts
Default

How do you plan on testing the flow rate of a closed loop system?
__________________
Current project -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
&
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Daox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-11, 05:26 PM   #25
bennelson
Home-Wrecker
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 546
Thanks: 3
Thanked 165 Times in 96 Posts
Default

Well, I don't have the right parts to do that right now.

I thought I would sit down and figure out what valves, drains, etc. I would need for charging the system. Then I would thread/solder them all together, and mount them on a hunk of plywood or something else that I could mount up later for the finished system.

I would then just have the pump hooked up to the "solar in/solar out" of the tank, and pressurize the system using the the Harbor Freight pump and water.

Then I...... Doh!
I see what you are saying. I really need to dig up a flow measurement device, as I can no longer use a bucket and stopwatch.

I thought I would find the original version of that solar instal video and go through the system charging part, so I could remember all the components that are built together in their kit for charging the system.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
bennelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-11, 12:00 PM   #26
Daox
Administrator
 
Daox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Germantown, WI
Posts: 5,463
Thanks: 1,106
Thanked 366 Times in 297 Posts
Default

Did you get your pressure test sorted out?
__________________
Current project -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
&
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Daox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 09:32 PM   #27
bennelson
Home-Wrecker
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 546
Thanks: 3
Thanked 165 Times in 96 Posts
Default

I pressure-tested the "tank half" by adding pipe caps to two of the connectors, and a Schrader valve (tire stem) to the third.

I then pumped up the tank with an air compressor, and checked the pressure. The next day when I checked it, there was only about half as much pressure. It lost quite a bit over night.

I'm not sure if that's because of a leak in the tank, or if I just did a bad job with the pipe tape, and screwing all the connectors together. I think it may be the later. I did need several adapters to get from the 3/4" pipe to the air valve, so there's several places I could have just not gotten everything to seal exactly right.

Today, I put the Schrader valve on the heat exchanger side of the tank. I already had a boiler valve on the one end, so I just closed it. The other end of the pipe already had the right size adapter to thread the air valve right in.

I again pressurized it with my portable tire inflator. Much quicker to pump up this time. The tank is 65 gallons. That took a while to put air in there. (Ever pump up a 65 gallon tire!?) The heat exchanger filled with compressed air very quickly. I checked the pressure, and then rechecked it six hours later. It read the same pressure.

The fun part was that just by opening the boiler valve, I could let all the air out real fast! WHOOOOOOOSHSSSSHSHHSHSHHHH!



I removed the 4'x10' solar collector from its wooden frame. That way, I could simply place the frame in front of the house where I plan to install it. I used the tape measure and made a diagram, but sometimes it's just so much easier to just DO something and see how it looks!

I raked the leaves away from the house, so that I could more easily use spray paint to mark the ground. Here, you can see the south end of the house, with the wood frame plopped down roughly where it will go.



The frame is a bit smaller than the solar panel. Basically, the frame is about 8' and the panel is 10'. It sticks out a foot on either end. I think that's just because 2x4s come 8' long as a standard. The tape measure behind the wood frame is pulled out to 10' to help you visualize the size of the solar panel.



I leveled the frame as best I could, with two hunks of firewood. The ground slopes away from the house, but I want to make sure the frame is nice and level. I plan to mount the frame on four 4x4" posts sunk in to the ground. I don't think they will be cemented, rather I will dig holes, fill the bottom of each hole with at least 6" of gravel, add the posts, and then surround them with gravel and pack it down. Once the posts are in the ground, I will cut the tops of them to be level with each other. I plan to leave the posts 18"-24" above the ground. That way, the entire solar collector will be elevated, to keep it up out of the snow.

I also went down into my crawl-space. Mine is cement floor, and cinder-block walls, typical of most basements in our area. The only difference is that my basement is only 20" deep. I keep a mechanics creeper down there so that I can roll around on my back whenever I need to do something down there. (Sorry, no photos, it's dark and disorienting down there anyways!)
The exposed cement block walls down there are two-and-one-half blocks tall. Seeing as how cinder blocks are 8" tall, I think that means that there are really three rows of block, but the bottom block is partly covered by a 4" cement slab.

I'm not sure exactly how far down to knock the hole in the cement block. I'd like it to be underground, to visually hide where the pipe penetrates the house. (This IS the FRONT side of the house, just so you know!) Looking at how a typical cement block is made, it has two hollow cavities in it, side by side. I figure I need to knock a hole through the center-left or the center-right of a block. If I do that in the middle row of block, that's only 12" down from the bottom of my floor. (8" block, plus one half of an 8" block, 4" = 12")

If I drill into the bottom-most layer of block, the one half covered by the slab, I may be close enough to the floor, that the floor interfere's with the handle of the hammer-drill. Also, I really want to put a 4" PVC pipe through the block to act as a conduit and cover for the solar fluid pipes. Those two pipes are about 2" in diameter, each, once they have good insulation on them. The 4" PVC pipe is what will be cemented into the wall. It will extend out of doors (hopefully mostly buried!) and protect the pipe insulation outside from sun, weather, and animals.

I was also originally going to have the house penetration at the left-most end of the solar panel. (The cold water inlet to the panel is at the bottom left-of the panel as you look at it.) But after thinking some more about it, that may leave some PVC pipe as an ugly visual. I think I would rather have the 4" PVC pipe come out BEHIND the solar panel. From there, the two 1/2 pipes to and from the collector would split up and go to either end.

I also wasn't sure how far away from the house I wanted the collector. Ideally, I would like it as close to the house as possible, just to look nice. However, there is a window planter box right there as well. With the height of the collector, plus the 4x4 posts to get it up out of the snow, it looked like the solar panel would cover the window box.

When my wife came outside to see where I was planning to put the solar collector, she said "Why don't you just move the window box to the other window?". Sure enough, the other window doesn't have a window box. Never has. The one weekend I was out of town, and my Dad snuck over to build window boxes, he ran out of cedar. All the windows down the other side of the house have boxes, as does the right one, but the left one doesn't. If I just move that box to the other window, I can have the solar panel closer to the house, and everything should look nice.



To get the solar panel nice and close to the house, the two post holes closest to the house need to be 12" from it. I'll have to take a look at the tool rental place to see how big the handles and things on post-hole digging machines are. I need to know that I can did those holes that close to the house.

The other thing I still don't know, is how far I need to go down before I hit water. We live down the street from the lake. It's a few blocks away, but not much lower than us. I also have spring in my front yard, just off the road.
When I dig down, who knows what I will hit!!?!?

(Although from inside the crawl-space, I did confirm that there is no electric, water, or gas pipes coming through the south foundation wall. Gas pipe is on the west side of the house. Well is on the east, and the electric box is on the north-west corner.)
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Last edited by bennelson; 10-23-11 at 09:43 PM.. Reason: typos
bennelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-11, 09:52 PM   #28
Xringer
Lex Parsimoniae
 
Xringer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Woburn, MA
Posts: 4,867
Thanks: 106
Thanked 244 Times in 224 Posts
Default

Too bad those blocks are so hard to drill. When I want to install something outside
the house that requires a hole-in-the-house, I always drill a small test hole.
One that I can patch up, if it turns out to be a bad spot..
For thick walls, I use a steel rod (Music wire?) with a flatted and sharpened end, as a long drill bit.

Maybe you could use small masonry bit to probe for the cavities inside the blocks.?.

1/4 In. x 13 In. Double Flute Masonry Bit-14044 at The Home Depot

A few 1/4" holes wouldn't be too hard to patch up..
Xringer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-11, 09:51 AM   #29
Daox
Administrator
 
Daox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Germantown, WI
Posts: 5,463
Thanks: 1,106
Thanked 366 Times in 297 Posts
Default

For digging the post holes, you can just get as close as you can with the powered digger and then just use a manual post hole digger to 'slot' the hole a bit. We had to do this with my 3 middle posts on my solar rack. You can never get the post holes centered perfectly between the outmost two of them. Its not too much work to enlarge the hole once its dug.
__________________
Current project -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
&
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Daox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-24-11, 10:07 AM   #30
bennelson
Home-Wrecker
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 546
Thanks: 3
Thanked 165 Times in 96 Posts
Default

It looks like the tool rental places have post-hole drillers that come standard with a 6" bit. They also have 8" and 12" available at extra rental fee (but it's only like $5....)

I read on one web page about setting posts that you want a hole THREE times the diameter of the post. I guess that gives you the same amount of fill on either side of the post as the post is across.

Today is sunny, even though I have other things to do, I'd like to get a little something done on the solar system.

__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
bennelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Tags
diy, domestic, heat exchanger, hot water, solar

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:47 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Ad Management by RedTyger
Inactive Reminders By Icora Web Design