Well it’s been almost a year since we installed the solar hot water system to provide both domestic hot water and supplemental heat for our radiant floor system.
Several things we learned early on that have not changed over time.
We need to plan on doing most laundry and major hot water use in the afternoon on a sunny day to avoid using the propane heater.
The high angle of the panels means that we did not need to make any covers for them during the summer. We may still need to make a cover for one panel for the times around the fall equinox when we are not using much heat in the house yet but the sun is lower so the panels are getting more energy.
We had a couple of instances where we got some sort of bubble in the system and the panel temperatures soared and the pumps would not turn on to circulate the fluid. We’ve purged the system again and hope we have solved that problem.
Overall we reduced our propane usage by about half over the whole year. We may do a bit better now that we know more about how to handle the system.
The payback period for the system is still very long. Total installed cost was approximately $17,500.00. We saved approximately $1,600.00 in propane this first year making the payback almost 11 years. That could change if the price of propane goes up but also has changed a bit as the price went down from last year to this.
I still think in the long run it is a good idea.