Tom M's posts

Posted by Tom M on Mar 8, 2010 11:25 am

#151 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Using Solar Water to Heat Workshop
... you can also use some old cast iron radiators and pump hot water through them....or a concrete slab with a radiant zone...Antifreeze should be used in the heating loop if you are in a freezing climate. If you can ground mount the panels below the heat exchanger,(radiator), you may even be able to eliminate a pump and just use thermosyphoning.
 If they are on the ground then it would be easy to move them near the pool for summer heating. Just disconnect, rinse and hook up in series (or more likely in parallel depending on the water flow) on the line out of the filter heading back to the pool.

Posted by Tom M on Feb 25, 2010 12:36 pm

#152 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: 12V Thermostats
Thomas, the 0.3 - 1.3 is not the load rating of the thermostat. Why would the maximum amp load be variable? That range is for the heat anticipator setting for the control on a boiler. The current output from the thermostat has to match the current needed on the electronic boiler control in order for it to work correctly.
 What you are worried about when running power to your El cid, from a battery or controller, is the overall power rating of the thermostat's contacts. All a thermostat is, is a switch. You can use a 110 volt thermostat without a problem if you choose to also. 

Posted by Tom M on Feb 22, 2010 11:20 am

#153 -  Renewable Energy > For Sale > Re: used solar water heating system
Brian, why would you want to replace it? If anything add to it. If you think a different type of collector is better and this one still works, just hook them up together. This will decrease the time it takes to heat up a volume of water.

Posted by Tom M on Feb 22, 2010 11:14 am

#154 -  Renewable Energy > Installers/Contractors > Re: Solar heat to boiler conversion.
charles, a little confusing. First, you say the heliodyne  has two heat exchangers. Are you talking about a tank that has two coils inside it? Or is there external piping with two pumps plumbed in acting as a heat exchanger? If it is external, then one loop/pump should be hooked up the panels and the other to draw domestic water from the solar tank.
 Also the "Module", are you talking about the hot water panel that goes outside in the sun? And it sounds like it has it's own integrated pump?
 Do you live in a zone with freezing temperatures? If so then there has to be some glycol in the system somewhere. Usually in the loop heading out the the panels. Then this loop should be connected to part of the heat exchanger.
 If you plan on using radiant heating, it is best to tie this into the same loop that goes out to the panels instead of trying to rob domestic hot water straight from the tank. Then you can isolate/control the radiant heat zone and the hot water zone using valves. Basically it comes down to take the heat you can get rather than trying to maintain a certain temperature limit.
 Doesn't make sense to circulate water between the tanks.

Posted by Tom M on Feb 22, 2010 10:49 am

#155 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: 12V Thermostats
Thomas, most household thermostats, a basic honeywell round for example, operate on 24 volts. They are normally wired to a relay at the boiler to run the pumps at 110 volts. They should be able to handle the power going to an El Cid pump. Just install the thermostat in series on the power line coming or returning from the pump.

Posted by Tom M on Jan 29, 2010 02:34 pm

#156 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: How do you keep snow from sticking on solar panels?
Victor, you can also try using a garden hose with some hot water to melt the snow and ice....

Posted by Tom M on Jan 1, 2010 05:26 pm

#157 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: House clocks losing time...
Chris, the clocks that are running correctly may have an internal battery backup. Especially if they are digital.  The other clocks may be losing time due to a lack of power going to the inverter which may be shutting down due to this lack of minimum power input from your batteries, generator on startup or array. 

Posted by Tom M on Dec 22, 2009 01:05 pm

#158 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: The Swine Flew
Thomas Schmidt, yes that was part of the reason, I live a few towns away from both their original site in Billerica and the site they had to build in Ayer, actually Devens, a small, suburb and ex military base and I had access to local news and actual employees views and information. There had been a debate since the beginning before the building was even built. Protest from the beginning. Since Ayer is considered a rural town, they did not want a large industrial type building in their backyard. Then after years of delegation,they let the company build,still being protested by neighbors. After the plant go up and running, noise levels were above their proposed levels. So parts of the operation had to be shut down and performed elsewhere. Growing silicon wafers is noiseless. So this is why they are still growing and producing cells and having their manufacturing and assembly done elsewhere.......So, since they are actually an overseas company who used an american company to build their plant here in the first place, it only makes sense to send their product to a place near them, overseas. Most of their sales are overseas anyway. Just good business sense I guess.......

Posted by Tom M on Dec 14, 2009 11:57 am

#159 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Hydro power from 60 foot water falls
Bob, looks like you have plenty of flow. The thing to do is to take water from upstream. Make a diversion from which you can run PVC pipe downstream to the location you plan on installing the turbine. Then install a return line out of the turbine back to the stream. You can make a pit from which you take the water in order to deal with sediment or else use screens or something similar.
 It looks like you can get away with 4-6 inch pipe then reduce it at the turbine. Then you can either use power directly from the turbine or include some batteries. You can also make the system automatic or manual using ball valves or motorized/zone valves.

Posted by Tom M on Dec 1, 2009 10:25 am

#160 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: UL Listing for solar pool pump?
Sounds like the inspector has issues. Maybe the customer should report him, or else tell him that they are not going to go ahead with the system and just hook it up when he leaves.....

Posted by Tom M on Nov 28, 2009 12:22 pm

#161 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: UL Listing for solar pool pump?
Amy, are the panels on the roof electric panels to power the pump? If the system is stand alone and not feeeding into the grid, I would think that it would not matter if the motor is UL listed....Huh....

Posted by Tom M on Nov 9, 2009 10:37 am

#162 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: The Swine Flew
David, there is also the taxpayer to blame. Part of the reason they are moving most of the operation is because of the noise levels produced by the facility. (Though they are still going to operate making cells) The neighbors couldn't take it. Another case of "not in my backyard" mentality. Everyone wants to go green and make off like they are totally for it, until it happens in their back yard. Another good example is the Cape wind project. A bunch of tree huggers live in the area but they do not want renewables to ruin their vistas. I have the same problem when installing systems. The "wife" doesn't want it to be seen, is a phrase I hear too many times. The installation has to be asteticly pleasing rather than or irregardless of whether or not the location will degrade or hinder the operation of the system. Everyone is used to having powerlines, telephone poles and the like strung up around the neighborhood. An ugly site if you focus on it, but yet no one complains because it is something they are used to from the time they were born. They don't realize that the same attitude has to be taken with renewables. Education, Education, Education.....

Posted by Tom M on Nov 3, 2009 11:37 am

#163 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: temperature setting question
James, it would be the high temperature limit in the tank. The high limit is usually around 160 F. You should also take into consideration the location of the sensor on the tank. If it is near the bottom, and it reaches 160 F, then the top of the tank would be above this temperature and could cause safety issues.
 There should be a T & P relief valve on the tank to ensure that temperatures and pressures do not reach unsafe levels.
 The best way to make sure that there is no problem is to monitor the system, especially on sunny days. In the summer you may want to move the sensor near the top of the tank to prevent overheating and in the winter move it near the bottom to gain the maximum amount of heat over the now shorter day. Some of the newer, heat exchanger tanks have a well in the middle of tank which is also a good location for year round use.

Posted by Tom M on Oct 14, 2009 10:10 am

#164 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > 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...

Posted by Tom M on Oct 13, 2009 01:14 pm

#165 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Heliodyne DHW Closed Loop AC Powered System Question
Amy, I don't see any direct email address that I can send you a note. Just wanted to say thanks for the referal for John P in Boxboro. I installed his two HW panels Saturday from the SHW package you sold him. So thanks again...

Posted by Tom M on Oct 13, 2009 01:07 pm

#166 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > 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.

Posted by Tom M on Oct 13, 2009 12:58 pm

#167 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: reynolds aluminum panels mixed with copper panels
Mark, you can either use a rubber hose with hose clamps or purchase a brass connector. The connector will be a coupling that has a compression ring with a sleeve for the soft aluminum tubing and either a male or female connection for the copper. Or a double compression coupling.

Posted by Tom M on Sep 16, 2009 12:11 pm

#168 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Solar Hot Water Panel Installation
Tony, most SHW system panels are installed in parallel. The only exception is usually those panels that are serpentine in construction. Flat plates, though they look like they are in series, are installed in paralel. The bottom headers are attached in series as well as the top, but the water flow is in parallel through each collector.
 Alternatively, this is a question that requires some thought when using evacs. Since the feed and return are at the same level, and the volume of water being heating is much smaller than the average flat plate, it may make sense to install them in series, depending on the radiation they receive and the temp. output you are getting.....

Posted by Tom M on Sep 16, 2009 12:00 pm

#169 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Which way to go-where to start?
Roy, keep it simple. Yes you can use SHW in conjunction with radiant heat. I usually suggest installing a zone inside a sunspace. This eliminates all the crazy calculations associated with trying to heat many rooms. Basically you get the space hot with both the direct sunlight and the radiant. Utilizing a sunspace or sunroom allows you to heat one space then duct the hot air to whatever other spaces you want.
 Alternatively, you can add the old style cast iron radiators, if you can get your hands on some, and pipe those to the SHW. These can be controlled manually or automatically. (You may have to consider installing them in parallel) Otherwise they can be hooked up in series on the return side of your SHW loop, just add a bypass for summer/winter operation.
 And as always, consider passive gain, once again using a sunpace or strategically located windows....

Posted by Tom M on Sep 5, 2009 10:57 pm

#170 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Best racking solution for wooden shingles?
Pretty funny Thomas...all these angle supports have been around for someone reintroduces them for solar and sell them for big bucks...just like PV wire connectors...wire nuts worked for years...

Posted by Tom M on Sep 2, 2009 08:18 pm

#171 -  AltE > Discussion > Re: want to buy SE62-80H-045S tank
James, your email address didn't work. Anyway, when installing a SHW system that needs electrical backup, I usually recommend installing two tanks, one with an internal heat exchanger and one conventional electric hot water tank. It may sound like it would be more expensive, but when you take into consideration purchasing a SHW tank with electric back up, it comes out to be around the same price. The thing I don't like about having the electric backup in the same tank as the solar is that the two compete with each other. At night when solar is not available,the electric kicks in and heats the water, then in the morning when the sun is available, the water in the tank is already hot and the solar does not turn on. I've seen too many systems that operate like this, and what happens is that the panels overheat and build up pressure which can make the system sieze up. Basically the pump cannot overcome the pressure.
  If you choose to keep the tank with electric backup, I would recommend a Vaughn tank. But these tanks are just as expensive, if not more than a Superstor. Also, they are stone lined and can weigh up to 500 lbs which makes installation a bit more difficult. Vaughn tanks come with 7 year warranty and Superstor's have a lifetime warranty since they are made with stainless steel.
  You can purchase a Superstor, 45 gallon tank, for around $800, 80 gallon for around 1300. An 80 gallon Vaugn tank will cost around 1400. A conventional 40 or 30 gallon electric tank will cost $3-400.
  Then you install the two tanks in series, along with a bypass, so that the solar tank preheats the water entering the electric tank. Then if the water is hot enough, it keeps the electric from turning on. The bypass will allow you to use either the solar or electric tank individually if you choose.
If you have any further questions, just send them along..

Posted by Tom M on Sep 2, 2009 08:06 pm

#172 -  AltE > Discussion > Re: Trying to understand micro-hydroelectric power...
John, you need either high head pressure or high volume of water. In order to get a high head pressure, a pipe is usually installed upstream and run along the river. The head pressure would be determined by the drop in elevation of the pipe. Using high volume, a large diameter pipe is installed upstream and smaller diameter pipes are installed to gain velocity thus increasing pressure. The hydro unit can be installed anywhere that you can run the pipe. The discharge is then sent back to the river using an appropriate sized drain.
 The amount of power from the unit is determined by the flow and pressure and you should be able to find charts that show this here at this site under the micro hydro section or from the manufactures site.

Posted by Tom M on Sep 2, 2009 11:37 am

#173 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: On demand hot water
David, if on demand is your choice, check out "Noritz". They manufacture on demand heaters. They make models that have direct ignition based on water flow. Operation power is 120 V using 115W or 250W if freeze protection is needed, so around 1 amp or 10 amp draw off of your 12 V solar PV system. They can be purchased at any local plumbing supply.

Posted by Tom M on Sep 2, 2009 11:22 am

#174 -  AltE > Discussion > Re: want to buy SE62-80H-045S tank
James, I've answered some of your post in the past. If the tank is leaking and needs to be replaced, you might consider purchasing a heat exchanger tank, such as a Superstor, instead and get rid of the externatl Novan heat exchanger which has given you problems in the past. Having the heat exchanger inside the tank increases the efficiency by having the exchanger directly in contact with the water in the tank as well as having a greater surface area. It would also reduce the amount of electricity needed since you could eliminate one of the circulation pumps. 

Posted by Tom M on Sep 2, 2009 11:10 am

#175 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Solar DHW
Bruce, also check out this site,, it has a real time output comparison of the two types of systems...I normally suggest flat plate panels over evacuated tubes. Evacs can lose their vaccuum over time, replacement tubes may not exist for certain models over time, volume of heated water is less, repairs can be an issue, total area vs. collector area is usually less, it adds a second heat exchanger to the equation....But I am sure you will find many arguements that support evacs. I think the forementioned site settles a lot of diputes for operation parameters, so maintenence becomes the big issue in my mind.....

Posted by Tom M on Aug 29, 2009 09:21 pm

#176 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: On demand hot water
Dave, 100' isn't that crazy of a distance for hot water. Just think of a large house with panels on it's roof. The runs from the roof into a basement can reach this distance in some cases. Now think of the Alaska pipeline. It delivers hot oil over miles. The trick is in the insulation. If you bury it below the frost line and insulate it may be possible to have SHW. Plastic water service pipe works well in this application. An insulated elevated line can also be done. Think of a chain linkfence with the hot water line as the top rail.
 If the hill is south facing, panels can be installed upon an earth berm using the ground for insulation.
 Are you installing a wood stove? Another easy way to make hot water. You mention radiant heat. In the summer you can gain heat from the floor and pump it into the tank, heating your water and cooling your house at the same time.
 Just don't give up on SHW yet until you realize all you can do. As a plumber and mech. engineer, I am not a big fan of instantaneous HW makers. I've seen them come and go over the years. And when service time comes, you may find the manufacturer out of business. Taking a couple showers at the same time can be an issue. Also determine your water quality which may hinder materials used in the heater. 

Posted by Tom M on Aug 27, 2009 11:49 am

#177 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: On demand hot water
Dave, why do you have to install an on demand hot water heater? 175,000 BTU's? A normal hot water heater is only around 40,000 BTU's, and probably a lot cheaper to purchase and replace as well as to operate. You should consider solar first. If you are installing a PV system I would think that if you invest in a single or two solar hot water panels and run the pump off the PV system that the cost would be way more economical. If this is a vacation home and you are not there much, then there will be plenty of time to heat up a tankfull of water.
 If you are building this home from scratch, then maybe you should consult with someone who knows solar. You could incorporate a sunspace to house the tank that can heat your home off season and while you are away and incorporate the hot water tank into this space as well.
 Lots you can do besides invest lots of money into PV......

Posted by Tom M on Aug 20, 2009 06:55 pm

#178 -  Renewable Energy > Technical Discussion: Other > Re: Failing PV panels
Bruce, just another reason why roof installations can be bad. Excessive heat and damage from the weather, especially in areas that receive snow and ice. Hopefully you have some access to the j-boxes. Most installations leave little or no room for service, especially if the bad panel or connection is in the middle of the array.

Posted by Tom M on Aug 6, 2009 03:31 pm

#179 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Sol-R-Beam Water Heater
Richard, try searching for a photosensor. you may find an equivalent one online.
 As far as fill valves go, thet should be somewhere along the piping heading up to the collecors. There should be a circulator pump on the same line. The fill valves should have a hose thread adapter in most cases and most times is just a boiler drain. There should be two of them, one to fill and one to purge.

Posted by Tom M on Aug 6, 2009 12:09 pm

#180 -  Renewable Energy > RE General Discussion > Re: Sol-R-Beam Water Heater
Richard, I usually use a non-toxic antifreeze that is available at most any plumbing supply companies. Any pressure between 10-30 lbs is acceptable. If you have an expansion tank in line, check it's rating. They are usually 15 or 30 lbs, so keep the system within it's rating and allow for pressure increase during hot days.

Disclaimer and Disclosure

The Alternative Energy Store, Inc reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse or delete any posting or portion thereof, or terminate or block the access to this forum.

The opinions and statements posted on this forum are the opinions and statements of the person posting same, and do not constitute the opinion or act of the Alternative Energy Store, Inc (AltE). The Alternative Energy Store, Inc does not endorse or subscribe to any particular posting. No posting shall be construed as the act or opinion of the Alternative Energy Store, Inc.

Click here for BBB Business Review

McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams
Desktop Website | Mobile Website


Click on an icon to share! If you don't see the method you want, hover over the orange "+".


What can we do to help you?

Please enter a summary
Sorry, the copyright must be in the template.
Please notify this forum's administrator that this site is using an ILLEGAL copy of SMF!
Copyright removed!!