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    Last request - 20 minutes 14 Requests today 4.6/5 of 89 Ratings

    Pumps, Vessels & Controllers

    Solar water heating systems might actually be simpler than you think. They don't really consist of too many complicated components and since energy prices are constantly rising, they are becoming quite popular. Here's a general overview of the components and how they work.

    Solar Collector InstallationImage: www.wagner-solar.comFirst there's the tank. That's where your water will be heated. If you have a direct solar water heating system your water will be pumped from the tank directly to the solar collectors, where it will be heated, and then it will be pumped back.

    This brings us to the next component, the circulating pump. The pump is driven by normal electricity and works like any pump would, but there is a small difference between the direct and indirect solar water heating systems. In the direct systems the water itself is pumped to the solar energy collectors. In the indirect systems a "heat-transfer fluid" is pumped around instead. This fluid, typically propylene glycol, is then pumped through a spiral inside the tank, where the heat is transferred to the water in the tank.

    The indirect solar heating systems also usually have an expansion vessel. The heat-transfer fluid goes through this vessel, which is mostly filled with air to protect the water heating system from thermal expansion. If the expansion vessel wasn't there, there would be a risk of the ducts cracking when seasons change.

    The last component we'll tell you about here is the solar controller. The controller is the machine that checks what the temperature of the water in the main tank is, and if it below a certain temperature the heating system is turned on. There is also a timer function on many controllers. You can decide some certain times, typically nights, when the heating system is never turned on. During those times normal electricity may, if needed, normally be used to heat water. The controllers are, like the pumps, driven by normal electricity.
    Written by: Oliver Behrla, Editor uk.SolarContact.com