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October 18: Solar system shakedown - more work needed

I was up with the sun today hoping to see my solar system kick in
and start heating my workshop from the sun.

Well, I had a few surprises.  First I had to wait until about 9:45 before
there was enough sun on the solar panel to run the circulator pump.

June 2005
I found a new use for the solar panels in the summer when they are not needed.  They now re-charge my electric lawn mower. See how I converted an old gas mower to electric

Then when it did run, I didn't see the temperatures go up on the gauges
as expected.  After careful study I determined that I had installed the
pump in the wrong direction - it was trying to pull against the check
valve and going nowhere!  Since I had installed unions in the system
to allow service removal of the pump it was a relatively simple matter
to remove, reverse, and re-install.

Then the temperature gauge quickly soared to 140F as the heated
glycol mixture came in from the collector and ran through the
heat exchanger.  Then I noticed the leaks around the heat exchanger.
So once again, remove, re-tighten, re-install.  Much better.  This
totally validates the extra time and expense of installing unions!

Then the propane guy showed up to install the propane tank
and connect a line to the Aquastar heater.  He did a very neat job.
But when we went to test the heater by starting the floor circulation
pump the heater didn't kick in.  It is supposed to sense the water
flow via the pressure drop then heat the outgoing water to 140F.
It seemed that there was not enough pressure drop across the
heater to trigger it to operate.

I made trip down to Solar Market to pick up my Windo-Therm
insulating windows.  These are add-on interior double pane plastic
film windows that clip to the inside of the window and provide a
complete seal against heat loss.  See the Windo-Therm web site
for more details of this amazing product.

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