What to do with my reynolds solar Hot Water System

2 Posts
Oct 13, 2009 12:54 pm
What to do with my reynolds solar Hot Water System

My Reynolds Solar Hot Water System has been functioning just great since it was installed in 1982. The 120 gallon tank finally went bad last year..I have had several companies come out and offer to sell me a whole new system, which they tell me with all the Federal, State and County incentives would just about pay for itself. When the Contractors come out they tell me that if I stick with the current system and the heat exchanger goes out then I would end up needing a new system anyway.

Marc in Maryland
462 Posts
Oct 13, 2009 01:07 pm
Re: What to do with my reynolds solar Hot Water System

Marc, if the tank is leaking get rid of the external heat exchanger that is on top of the tank  along with the tank, scrap it and just get a new tank with a built in heat exchanger. There are many to choose from these days. I usually reccomend a Superstor. If the panels don't leak and the controller and pump still work, then continue to use them. You may just have to redo some piping at the tank, and you can reduce to using only one circulator pump.
2 Posts
Oct 13, 2009 05:36 pm
Re: What to do with my reynolds solar Hot Water System


Thanks.. Sounds like the simplest plan.. Do you have any Contractor Recommendations for the Wash DC area?
462 Posts
Oct 14, 2009 10:10 am
Re: What to do with my reynolds solar Hot Water System

Marc, just do an internet search, you should be able to find someone in the area. If not, just get a local plumber. If you explain what needs to be done, he should be able to do the job. Basically, cut the two lines heading up to the panels and reconnect them to the heat exchanger coil. Just be sure to add a couple of boiler drains for filling and purging, a check valve between them and the pump all in series near the tank on the lines heading up to the panels. Put the sensor somewhere on the tank, middle if possible, and plug the pump into the controller.
  Then cold water in and hot water out to an existing, backup hot water source.
 There are plenty of diagrams for systems on line. Just do a search. Home power magazine has plenty, as well as other hot water sites...
4 Posts
Jan 28, 2010 01:05 am
Re: What to do with my reynolds solar Hot Water System

Two years ago I acquired a "free" Reynolds system.  A few weeks after installing it in my house the tank started leaking.  Yes I should not have trusted a 20 yr old tank.  I separated the heat exchanger and installed a conventional whirlpool electric tank (not wired to work but could be).  They are quite cheep and have three inlets in the top.  I paired the cold h2o in with the cold draw for the heat exchanger.  It works great and  it means that you can keep the old heat exchanger.  That is good as it has aluminum piping on the solar side to match the panels. 
22 Posts
Jan 28, 2010 11:13 am
Re: What to do with my reynolds solar Hot Water System

I've got four used Novan collectors installed at my house.  I just got a new storage tank with heat exchanger and it's working like a champ.  You can find the tanks on our site at http://www.altestore.com/store/Solar-Water-Heaters/Hot-Water-Storage-Tanks/Tanks-WITH-Heat-Exchangers/Rheem-Solaraide-HE-80G-Tank-w-Heat-Exchanger/p7895/.  We've got a 120 and an 80 gallon.  Any licensed plumber can do the replacement, it's just four connections.

Amy Beaudet
Solar Thermal Queen
AltE Store
28 Posts
Jan 29, 2010 10:31 am
Re: What to do with my reynolds solar Hot Water System

One thing to check is if the Reynolds system has aluminum piping, as I have seen references that if they use aluminum piping, there could be significant galvanic corrosion that occurs if the collector piping is tied into non aluminum components. Hot water heaters use sacrificial anodes to protect the steel tank lining and the anodes can be made out of aluminum. My concern is if your panel piping will become a sacrificial anode to some other non aluminum component in the system. 

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