Solar Hot Water Panels VS. Stoker Boiler

Stoker Coal Boilers automatically feed the coal and have controls and pumps just like any conventions boiler. They are intended to be used as a primary heat and often have domestic hot water coils as an added bonus. They can be set up independently or in dual sytem with your existing oil/gas boiler. They can accommodate both hot water base board or steam plumbing.
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Post Tue. Mar. 11, 2008 8:48 am

beatle78 wrote: I envision some pex supply return to the panels, a pump, and a heat exchanger. They come with mounting hardware for the roof.
Just a note of caution. I've heard that having the Pex directly connected to the panels was not recommended do to the high heat(over 225 degrees) of the water/antifreeze would just melt the pex. If you look online you'll see some examples of melted pex from it. They recommend using either copper of PVC on the system.
Adam <-- Great magazine.

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Post Tue. Mar. 11, 2008 9:00 am

beatle78 wrote:
sandman wrote: i'm not sure, mine came with a 80gal water tank with two coils (one for water the other for the panels) and a contoler ( a big board with seveal pumps and a ubnch of other stuff). what kind of panels were they and how old are they? if there new and evacuated tubes they might be worth it. if there 20 year old flat panels i'd pass
WOW, you got quite a setup for $750. good score!! :D
They look like panels from the 80s... I guess I'll let these go.

What are evacuated tubes?
as to a good score I've seen them for even less as in free. but now that everyone it trying to jump on the renewable bandwagon i'm sure like with everything else the prices of new and old will be going up.

do a search on solar hot water and you can find out about the different types of collectors.
with state and federal rebates I believe it has the fastest payback out of any of the renewable tech

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Post Tue. Mar. 11, 2008 9:19 am

traderfjp wrote:Yanche: Was your panels made from copper tubing? If so was it one big loop? Do you think a DIY solar panel is doable? I currently have plastic and they work well but I've been replacing one every two years.
My solar collector panel is a black copper panel. An assembly made of two factory stamped copper sheets with dimpled water passages. The factory put two together to get a plate with water passages. Similiar to what you see in a freezer for the freon passages. The side to the sun is blackened with a process similar to alumuminum anodizing, but for copper. The copper panel is then mounted in an aluminum frame box and has in-out 3/4 inch copper pipe connections. Special non-reflective glass. If I remember right it was made by Revere. At todays copper prices they would be very expensive. I have three 3 x 5 ft. panels. The panel's 3/4 inch pipe connections were connected with rubber couplings. Poor design, leaked all the time. Should have been copper bellows, brazed together.

One of the system design requirements was a double wall heat exchanger. The idea being that if there is a leak, the solar panel water with anti-freeze in it can not mix with the domestic water. Think of two auto radiators, but with the copper honeycomb core common. The heat path is solar water to copper honeycomb, the copper honeycomb to DHW. When it leaks the water leaked drips out the honeycomb. A very expensive way to make a heat exchanger. Two pumps, both bronze. Expensive!

If I had to do it over I wouldn't. If you want solar hot water. Build a big black tin roof and lay a black garden hose on it. Plan on replacing the hose every couple of years. Much, much cheaper.
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Post Tue. Mar. 11, 2008 9:49 am

What are evacuated tubes? ... opic=12850

The evacuated pipe design increases the efficiency of the collector by reducing the heat loss using a vacuum for insulation.
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I stay at a Holiday Inn at least once a year!
Most of all I do have common sense and a practical application of logic.
Oh, add humor, on the dry side, along with a wee bit 'o sarcasm.

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Post Wed. Mar. 12, 2008 5:12 pm

The thing is, with a coal boiler you want to keep it going all year to get the longest life out of it. By shutting down every summer you might create more expenses in the future than you'll save by using solar. I don't think solar panels are a good system for the northeast, a windmill might be better.
Burning coal is definitely worth the extra work involved.
"Good enough" is not good enough.

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Post Wed. Mar. 12, 2008 5:36 pm

e.alleg wrote:The thing is, with a coal boiler you want to keep it going all year to get the longest life out of it. By shutting down every summer you might create more expenses in the future than you'll save by using solar. I don't think solar panels are a good system for the northeast, a windmill might be better.
That rage died years ago here in New England. I think you are right about the windmills.
Nothing is impossible for people who don't have to do it themselves.

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Post Wed. Mar. 12, 2008 11:03 pm

Photovolaics are an option here in NY. There are still pretty good incentives available thru NYSERDA. There is a new product on the market that cost $1 per watt for panels. :) Scott
I think a man does what he can, untill his destiny is revealed. Right now that is trying to sell my EFM plate boilers in 520 and 700 sizes.

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Post Sun. Apr. 27, 2008 5:47 pm

I live on Long Island, NY .
I installed 2- 4x10 solar panels (80sqft) with a 120 gallon tank for DHW.
during the summer (on sunny days) it does about 95% of my needs for a family of 4
During the fall it does about 40%
from nov to mar it does close to nothing.

I have a meter that keeps track of time run on my oil burner and took montly readings.
during the summer I still used 30 gallons/month, I think heat lost up the chimeny and rainny/ cloudy days.

If you are gonig to install a solar system, I wuld say install 3- 4x8 panels to a 120 gallon tank.
Install a drain back system which is more reliable with fewer problems.

here is a link ti a drain back system:

I don't have a coal boiler yet, but I will soon thanks to the info you guys are sharing ..... Thanks Alot!!!!

The best thing about installing a hot water solar system is once it's installed you are done.
it turns on and off by itself and there are no ashes to dump!!

I estimate the system saves me about 400 gallons of oil a year at $4./gal that is $1600.00
but if you have a coal boiler burning cheap coal I don't think a solar system will save that much.

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