Discuss Legislation affecting solar thermal in the Plumbing Forum | Plumbing Advice area at PlumbersForums.net

Ric2013

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Given that solar thermal is an uncontrolled heat source, does one have to have any specific qualification to flush and refill a thermal system if the system is heating an open-vented (gravity) hot water system?

For clarification, the primary solar water is a sealed system, but the secondary hot water is open-vented.

Reason I ask is I have a customer wants the sludgy rubbishy water replaced by fresh water and solar transfer fluid. Flushing solar out seems relatively straightforward from a plumbing perspective, but I just wondered if there is are any legislative issues I need to consider?

Thanks gents!
 
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Ric2013

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Seems to be a good course, but not sure it's relevant to a flush and refill situation as there's nothing about maintenance that I can see on the content, and I don't necessarily need to know how to design a system to service one. I suppose I'm strictly asking about the law rather than what would be ideal.

Have you any link that discusses the law specifically?

It has occurred to me that this is a sealed system, but then so are most heating systems and you don't need any qualification to flush and refill those.

Obviously I'd need to know what I'm doing, but my feeling is flush as per chemical manufacturer's instructions, add R100 or S1 to manufacturer's instructions, circulate with a pump to get all the air out and I don't think I'd be far wrong.

If I knew a good local solar installer, this is something I'd hand over to them, but customer says only person they can find is from Anglesey, and the company that originally installed this system wasn't interested in solar, just in it for the money and jumping on the bandwagon, (later fined for misselling IIRC), and now gone.

Obviously the course would be a long-term goal anyway and would help me suggest improvements to the existing design which, as an unqualified person as far as regards solar, I would not be able to do. But I can't do the course without the prerequisites anyway.
 

townfanjon

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Yes you are supposed to be qualified, I was , but wont renew it . The main problem you have is getting hold of a filling machine .
 
S

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As far as I’m aware, there is no official qualification you need to fit thermal solar... there is no legal requirement. It’s more a training excercise with a fancy bit of paper at the end. I’ll stand corrected if anyone shows me a bit of real legislation that requires a qualification.
 
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Ric2013

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Yes you are supposed to be qualified, I was , but wont renew it . The main problem you have is getting hold of a filling machine .
I'm trying to work out whether a power flushing machine is much different. Obviously you'd have to pressurise separately if you use the 'wrong' machine and perhaps a powerflush pump is more powerful. Will have to check the specs to see if this is even remotely feasible.
 

quality

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Yes you are supposed to be qualified, I was , but wont renew it . The main problem you have is getting hold of a filling machine .
Ive done a bit of solar but made my own machine for that exact reason
 
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Ric2013

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Yes you are supposed to be qualified, I was , but wont renew it . The main problem you have is getting hold of a filling machine .
Why won't you renew the qualification? So what qualification should the customer be looking for in someone who wants to service the system?
 
S

Sharp Point

I had a filling station, but sold it on after installs dropped off after the renewable explosion 10 years ago. If I go to service a thermal solar install, I just use a modified garden sprayer pump. Easily get up to 2 bar with that;)
 
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I am not aware of any legislation that prevents anyone working on the primary system of wet solar systems - other than any part that may be covered by G3 legislation.

However, they (wet solar) can be difficult systems to reestablish a balanced PH after flushing. PH should be 7 Sometimes the original system has been filled with deionised water to achieve this

As Towfanjon as indicated you really need to have the correct pump set up, to achieve the above
 
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townfanjon

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I had a filling station, but sold it on after installs dropped off after the renewable explosion 10 years ago. If I go to service a thermal solar install, I just use a modified garden sprayer pump. Easily get up to 2 bar with that;)
Cheers for the heads up on that pal , my fluid wants changing.
 
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Ric2013

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However, they (wet solar) can be difficult systems to reestablish a balanced PH after flushing. PH should be zero. Sometimes the original system has been filled with deionised water to achieve this

As Towfanjon as indicated you really need to have the correct pump set up, to achieve the above
PH should be 0. Do you mean 7? I assume you mean you need the pump to make getting the correct quantity of solar fluid to water ratio easy?
 
S

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Cheers for the heads up on that pal , my fluid wants changing.
Piece of 10mm copper shoved into the sprayer hose and jubilee clipped on, then the world is your oyster regards how you final terminate it.
 

townfanjon

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Why won't you renew the qualification? So what qualification should the customer be looking for in someone who wants to service the system?
No real demand Ric , mine was the bpec one , I am still pretty sure you have to have the qual , can you imagine fitting a system without being qualified and it goes **** up .
 
S

Sharp Point

PH should be 0. Do you mean 7? I assume you mean you need the pump to make getting the correct quantity of solar fluid to water ratio easy?
Why, premix it or buy ready to use fluid.
 
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Ric2013

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I mean to change the fluid. I suppose my thinking is that I could change the oil in my van without understanding the engine at all, provided I used the right oil and the right quantity.
 
S

Sharp Point

No real demand Ric , mine was the bpec one , I am still pretty sure you have to have the qual , can you imagine fitting a system without being qualified and it goes **** up .
But who polices it?
 
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Ric2013

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Why, premix it or buy ready to use fluid.
That was my thought. Ignore the filling loop (!) that the installer 'kindly' fitted and fill with the pump and then final pressure with a garden spray of the correct mix.
 
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PH should be 0. Do you mean 7? I assume you mean you need the pump to make getting the correct quantity of solar fluid to water ratio easy?
You are correct - PH 7. - apologies!!

The difficulty I have experienced is that any residual left in after flushing makes getting the correct PH time consuming - often needing further flushing. This is a bigger problem in hard water areas
 
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Ric2013

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You are correct - PH 7. - apologies!!

The difficulty I have experienced is that any residual left in after flushing makes getting the correct PH time consuming - often needing further flushing. This is a bigger problem in hard water areas
This is really interesting.

Because Sentinel seems to imply that so long as the cleaner has been flushed out correctly, you just need to add R100 (pure) and you will have a PH 0f between 7.8 and 8.5 and are good to rock and roll.

I guess though, that if there is water left in the system then you would have a slight dilution. Don't think this is likely in this system as it is an evacuated tube system. Famous last words.
 
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3B90159D-7DFA-4FDE-AA57-4B413ACEC5A4.png Its no wonder no one is interested in Solar Thermal
(except me in the long term)
there is NO money in it
see these figures from April 2019...its a graveyard
2000 only fittings in 2o19 and down by a massive %
on the previous year ..oh dear
Rob Foster aka centralheatking
 
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Ric2013

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Yeah. Fortunately I left my ladder behind when I looked at the system. Went back in the evening so I could look at the system pressures while it was cold and met the customer's family. Turns out there was poor communication but one member had found someone who specialised in solar and was relatively local but I think it took me to convince them it needed doing (particularly when I discovered the blow-off had previously actuated). So now someone else will be sorting it out. Hurrah!
 
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Why does it need flushing mine has the same water & special antifreeze mix for the last 10 years. It has a filler from mains water via a double check valve to top up if necessary but in all honesty has never needed doing . Original antifreeze was pumped in via small hand pump before water from mains supply.
 

townfanjon

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Why does it need flushing mine has the same water & special antifreeze mix for the last 10 years. It has a filler from mains water via a double check valve to top up if necessary but in all honesty has never needed doing . Original antifreeze was pumped in via small hand pump before water from mains supply.
After 10 years Chris , it wants changing .
 
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Out of curiosity, why if everything is working fine? All the pipework is stainless steel apart from the coil & the panels heat exchanger. The pump packed up a couple of years ago and the fluid mix was nice & clear that came out of the pump.
 
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Why does it need flushing mine has the same water & special antifreeze mix for the last 10 years. It has a filler from mains water via a double check valve to top up if necessary but in all honesty has never needed doing . Original antifreeze was pumped in via small hand pump before water from mains supply.
out of pure professional curiosity whose solar fluid have you used ? assuming its equvalent to Sentinal R100
Rob Foster aka centralheatking
 

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