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Response to Star Consumer Watch Article

In response to the Star Consumer watch article. Monday 28th June.

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?click_id=3027

One critical point which has been omitted from this article is that the problems that have been encountered are entirely with flat plate systems. There has been no mention of that fact that Evacuated tube systems are more than adequately frost tolerant.

We have not had a single problem with the recent cold weather. Said Barry Cribb MD of Sky Power.

As mentioned in the article quite correctly, flat plate systems are notoriously prone to freezing because of their design. The very thin fluid channels in contact with the flat sheet of metal can only be protected by an antifreeze solution, typically propylene glycol and configured in what is referred to as an indirect configuration.

Evacuated tube systems conversely use a similar alcohol within a sealed copper pipe which will withstand temperatures down to minus 30 degrees. This is one reason why they are becoming more popular in the consistently colder climates of northern Europe.

The tubes can be seen clearly covered in ice. Outside roof temperature was measure at -7 degrees Celcius.

No damage was caused to either of the systems inspite of the fact that the electronic frost protection mechanism had been disabled as proof of resilience.

It is important to understand the difference in performance of the various system designs and not brand all solar water heaters as frost sensitive. The more efficient evacuated tube systems are inherently frost resistant.

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