Just because your solar hot water heater system has good insulation around the collector and the piping doesn’t mean it has all the protection it needs. This insulation is in place mainly to reduce heat loss during transfer, which increases system performance. It’s not always enough to protect the system from freezing temperatures. You can use approved antifreeze solutions for heat transfer fluid, or drain the collectors and piping when there is a threat of freezing temperatures.
Using an antifreeze solution in your solar hot water heater system allows you to keep using it despite freezing temperatures. Antifreeze solutions degrade, and need to be changed about every three to five years; the solutions are only effective if the level of antifreeze concentration is maintained. Your solar hot water heater system is pressurized, so you’ll need professional help to check the concentration and change the solution.
Draining your solar hot water heater system to protect it from freeze damage means you won’t be able to use it during colder months. You’ll need to drain the collector and the system’s piping completely; in integral (“batch”) systems, your collector is your solar hot water heater system’s storage tank. You can place heavy insulation over unglazed collector components to protect it against cold temperatures, but it may still be vulnerable to extended periods of freezing temperatures. Draining your solar hot water heater system to protect against freezing means you’ll have to rely on your backup hot water source during these colder months.
Smith Sustainable Design helps homeowners and business owners protect their solar hot water heater systems against the harsh Pennsylvania and New Jersey winter temperatures. Call us today for antifreeze solution replacement or concentration testing, as well as help draining your solar hot water heater system to protect against freeze damage.