Maintenance and Operation of Active Solar Heating Systems

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Synthetic Oils The major advantage of synthetic oils is their almost unlimited lifetime. Furthermore, unless the fluid leaks out of the piping system, virtually no maintenance is required. Toxicity is low as well. The specific heat and thermal conductivity of synthetic oils is considerably lower than water. These factors increase pumping and heat exchanger requirements and costs. Synthetic oils attack more materials than the glycols, and can damage roofing materials if spilled. Materials resistant to degradation include Teflon, Viton and Hydrin.

If galvanized piping already exists, it is necessary to use dielectric unions to isolate different metals. , the collector loops or closed-loop and drainback systems), small amounts of cast iron or steel can be part of a copper piping system. These are normally the wetted components of pumps, expansion tanks, etc. Aluminum should never be piped into a system with copper, but if it is, special steps such as dielectrics and getter columns must be used. 4 Solar Fluids, The best fluid available for moving the heat from solar collectors is water.

Pressure Relief Valves These valves (sometimes called PRV’s) are used only in the collector loop of closed-loop systems. Since they only respond to pressure changes, they should not be used on pressurized water (city water) lines or tanks. A strong internal spring keeps the valve closed until the system pressure exceeds some preset limit. (Figure 2-30) FIGURE 2-29 Swing (left) and Spring (right) Check Valves The outlet port of pressure relief valves is piped downward to within 10 in. of the floor, to protect anyone who happens to be nearby, and to minimize damage to electrical and other components, should the valve open.

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