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If you want to know what I'm on about in the shortest time then please read the introductory first post and my current action plan. Comments are very welcome. And if you like this blog, please tell a friend. Thanks!

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

He was only 19... now where's the new kid?

There was a death in the household today. Finally!

Our hulking great electric-storage hot water system sprung a leak this morning after spending 19 years turning one of the most useful forms of energy into one of the least. Hooray and good riddance.

It was a bit of fun in a way. The silly thing was installed inside (presumably so we didn't lose too much heat during Brisbane's biting winters...?) which meant that a sudden leak was something of an emergency. Had to try and shut off the water coming into it and hold open the valves to let as much water as possible escape through the overflow pipe instead of onto the laundry floor. Then discovered that the inlet shut-off tap, which probably hadn't been used in nearly 20 years, just didn't work. The only way to stop the water from flowing was to turn it off at the mains.

Right about then I called Solahart and booked a guy to come out and see us ASAP, which was originally defined as 4:30pm but ended up being closer to 6 after he forgot and I had to chase him up. Oh well, these things happen. In the meantime I had to restore mains water for all our other needs like drinking and flushing the toilet - I ended up removing the inlet tap completely and sealing off that pipe with a brass cap that set me back the princely sum of one hundred and five cents.

I was surprised in the end by the advice we received and the product we ended up ordering. The bloke said that in a place like Brisbane which gets so much sun you should actually avoid buying the most thermally-efficient solar water heaters because for much of the summer you'll end up with water being heated to boiling point, which means a whole lot of water being released down the drain and being completely wasted. With that in mind and having given due consideration to the orientation of our house and the load-bearing capacity of the roof, we're getting a 300L roof-mounted model from the lower-end "L Series".

Because of the weight distribution it'll be mounted flat on the roof facing slightly north of west instead of on a riser which would have had it facing slightly east of north. To compensate for the reduced exposure to the sun it'll have three collector panels instead of the usual two.

If we're lucky it'll be installed before the weekend.

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