Thursday, September 02, 2010

We’re solarized

Jane and I now have solar hot water, and a tankless water heater as backup. John Cannell of J. Melvin & Associates hooked up our Navien tankless system, which is rated 98 percent efficient (our hot water tank was 55 percent efficient). The tankless is also considerably smaller than the tank, measuring at 14 inches deep, 18 inches across and 27 inches high. As you may recall the tankless system heats water on demand. The hot water tank is just that, a tank that heats water 24/7.

For a few days we relied solely on the tankless until GreenSaver returned with a plumber to hook the solar up to the tankless. We noticed that with the tankless the hot water took about 15 seconds to kick in, particularly with the bathroom sink. Oddly enough, hot water was instantaneous for the shower. However, once GreenSaver hooked up the solar, we receive hot water instantly in all faucets when the sun is out.

As I wrote earlier, the solar hot water will heat our water about 60 percent of the time (averaged out throughout the year), with the tankless unit heating water on demand when the sun is not shining.

All this took place in good time. The GreenSaver auditor returns September 10th for the second audit to determine our success in energy efficiency improvements. I just finished all the caulking inside. My last task was to lay down quarter round along the walls in the second bedroom and caulk them. That’s complete. We are now waiting on Gator Windows to replace the bathroom window with one that is Energy Star rated.

Once the second audit is done, I’ll report on how well we did in improving the energy efficiency of our home.

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