Saturday, March 6, 2010

Final Plumbing connection!

6th March 2010: Colin, my plumber, came round for help on the final connection. Although I could have done it, it is still wintry weather, and I just know that I would take so much longer with the heating turned off. So it is reassuring to get someone with experience and confidence.
  First task was to move the glycol bottle up to the loft and make a connection to the pipe just above the heatpump. We had that done in the first hour.
   The second task is the connections of the Flow and Return to the solar panels. That was difficult as the 3D space they occupy had the bottle in it before.
The final part for Colin and I was to refill with the mixture of Glycol, after we had first flushed parts of the upper system with water to get rid of metal swarf or bits of flux. I can see that I shall need to check the strainer several times in the next few days as bits of stuff will take time to work their way round.
  Before my departure to see Forest, we got 20 litres of Glycol in, and 20 litres of water. But it was not full.
  When Colin left, I turned on the heat-pump and it would not work. This was an electrical fault, and fortunately nothing to do with the work we had been doing. It had been going on since earlier in the week, with a persistent "MB1" fault.  It seems to trigger the immersion heater function, and causes it to double its electricity consumption.  But now, the moment you turn it on, it would turn itself off.
  After feeling a bit desperate, trying to borrow from the neighbours a temporary electric heater (till Monday) and finding that the gas fire in the sitting room is so long unused that it would not start, we discovered that there is a weekend emergency number for Ice Energy. A nice guy called Andy phoned back and helped me through the problem, and behind the font panel, I/we found an internal rotary circuit breaker switch in the GSHP that needed resetting.
   By now, it was 1630 but I still found it worth cycling down to the City Ground to see 20 mins of Nottingham Forest. The game had been soulless and goalless until then (people were already leaving), but it suddenly pepped up, and I was witness to the only goal of the game, in the 90th minute, earning Forest 3 points while rivals West Brom were beaten by QPR down in London.

 After getting back from the game, I added another 20 litres of water, making our added system to be 60 litres in all.
  Where to go now? There is a lot of monitoring to do, first to check for leaks, and then to check for condensation - before the whole lot gets hidden under a mass or insulating bandage. And then, of course to monitor the effect on performance.
  I havent fitted the thermostatic switch for the pump yet, so for the time being it will be on a timeclock, bringing it on only in the daytime after the sun has warmed up.

  I am really wondering if an air-based heatpump would have been a good idea, as there are two units either of which can more easily be swapped out when they misbehave.

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