Monday, March 26, 2012

Major plumbing change

This is the arrangement from May 2010 to March 2012
25 March 2012: The plumbing arrangement has been significantly modified. In May 2010, I changed the whole circuit operation from what I called 'Trickle-all-the-time' to 'Trickle-and-Whoosh'. This seems to have worked well, but I have been troubled with technical problems recently, and the change had to occur. This was for me, a big adventure and as I do usually, I kept finding something else to so, procrastinating until it just had to be done. So it was a Saturday Night and Sunday Morning job! taking it apart on Saturday, sizing the pipes and fittings. Sunday morning, I puttied up the joints and tightened them up. Nothing leaked! Hooray! Then the big pressure bottle had to be refilled. (In so doing, I discovered that the Pump has gone faulty - it spins, but does not impel.)

Simplify the circuit
The advent of the Varisol tubes has forced me to make this change - I have been thinking about it since January, and did some very complicated diagrams designed to keep the previous design layout, and add the tubes. I had a brainwave during a Forest football match while we were being beaten 2-1 by the bottom team of the League, Doncaster.
New arrangement on the garden table
   So, I came out the winner, having realised that if I change to Trickle-all-the-Time, the tubes could be connected at the existing loft location without any modification to the ground floor, without any vertical piping, and almost no modification in the loft either. Getting rid of the solenoid valve and fitting a non-return valve instead is removing a major source of future problems.

Performance benefit
I can see that there could be an improvement in performance and reliability with the new circuit. With the whole flow going through the panels, there is a risk that if the sun box has a major problem then the entire heat pump cannot work, and this could occur in winter. This has happened this month with the failure of the valve and pump. The circuit requires very large piping and fittings - if I had the simple trickle method, I could have used 22mm or even 15mm piping. When the heat pump has finished a heating cycle, there is a period during which very cold glycol continues to circulate into the borehole running the energy meter in reverse, and cooling the borehole because a large amount has to be flushed through.

New circuit arrangement, simpler and more reliable.
(prior to fitting thermal insulation).
The circuit diagram has to be updated now, for the website and for the next article.

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