solar hot water

How to install a solar domestic hot water system in Nova Scotia for less than $250 after rebates.

*April 2009: this configuration might not qualify under the new grants.*

Enroll in the Energuide for Homes program ($150) & get your initial audit done.

Purchase a Thermo Dynamics G32 collector (contractor pricing =~$800)

Purchase a Grundfos UPS 15-58 from Sumner Plumbing (or Wilo Star S-16 from Wolselley) for  ~$100 including flange set

Purchase a Goldline GL-30 solar controller from Atlantic Chemical (~$100 + $10ea for 2 10K thermistors)

Purchase plumbing supplies (~$50)

Epoxy the tank sensor near the water heater top thermostat/element & connect to the controller.
Tee off the cold water intake line to plumb in the circulator pump.
Tee off the hot water intake line for return loop from collector.
Connect 120v supply line to the GL-30 controller and from the controller to the circulator pump.
Mount the collector facing south or southwest.
Epoxy the collector sensor to the G32 header & connect to the controller.
Connect cold water line to bottom of G32 with a tee & valve for draining.
Connect hot water line to top of G32.
Wrap exposed pex in aluminum foil for insulation.
Turn power on to controller  - you are done! (3-6 hours of labor)

Get your final Energuide audit done & wait for your rebate ($500 federal + $500 provincial).

DON'T forget to shut off and drain system in late October before freezing temperatures set in.  Leave the GL-30 freeze protection turned on in case you do forget.

If your hot water line does not have a thermostatic mixing valve you should install one for scald protection.

System Sizing

Despite manufacturer recommendations that suggest 2 panels for typical residential use, a single panel is optimal.  With new shower heads (max 2.5GPM) and doing laundry in cold water, a single panel can supply 100% of the hot water for a family of four during most of the summer.