What were they thinking?

We now have our solar hot water system in, so far so good, first night it used 6kW of off peak, and nothing since. We are still keeping tabs on it to be sure (as I’d rather spend 40c heating water than have none at all).

After seeing it, I got thinking – what on earth was the first person thinking to think of getting water heated by the sun, and then placing such a setup on their roof?

Did they have a sun shower and realise the water dripping out of a leaking gutter was very hot, or was it a red neck concept, based on a hot water system that exploded?

Every aspect of solar hot water since that point have simply been improvements or reinventions of that very basic concept – and the system we have, the Apricus, in my opinion represents leaps and bounds for innovation.

The system is great, the controller keeps tabs on the temperature, so the pump only kicks in when there is a feasible gain in doing so. The tank heats up to 70oC, and the roof can be as hot as 158oC (as it was today). The system incorporates safety shut down features too, so that the water in the tank doesn’t overheat, and the pump doesn’t get warn out from pumping water all day.

I’m yet to figure out the exact consumption of the pump and it’s controller, but from the size of it, and it’s function, it wouldn’t be much worse than a fish tank pump. The tank is an increase from the old 315L, no reason in particular as the 250L served our needs fine, aside from future expansion.

The trench wasn’t an issue for the plumber, there was a pipe coming from the cabin to the old outhouse carrying hot water, I would have thought the outhouse was build before 1986, as the ‘workshop’ that is infact our granny flat, appears to be the last structure council have on records. The sewer line turned out to be a brick, buried (but the shape and outline of it was very suspect – I wasn’t about to smash it to find out).

The hot water reaches the flat in about 25 seconds, which isn’t as bad as the 1 minute the plumber thought of. As well, the system has a tempering valve, which is designed to prevent scalding by mixing hot and cold water to deliver 50oC at the tap.

The leaky hot water system that was attached to the granny flat can now go to the scrap heap, along with the – relatively good condition – 250L tank from the house, and some other scrap items we’ve seemingly gathered inside of a year.

Our power consumption though seemingly is higher again, we’ve checked and can see the usage is hanging around 17 – 21kWH, which is disappointing, but there are a few causes of that. The granny flat fridge is on, the pump for the hot water might be doing worse than I expected, or the LCD TV we bought a few weeks back to replace the old CRT that finally exploded might be using more than expected.

Today, I got a sample of the mesh we are using on the windows – Invisigard. I limited my testing to what I could use, a screw driver and tried to make a hole, I failed. I then tried to get a cordless drill to it, it failed.

I took out a small, sharp drill bit, and at last, I had a very small hole. I decided I would try and capitalize on this acheivement and take to it with a 22mm hole drill bit (the kind you’d use on making a door hole), it removed the layer of powder coating, but didn’t create a hole. The battery in the drill gave up.

So, I got out a hacksaw blade, and used the hole to try and get that to eat through it – it failed. I tried from the edge of the material, thinking it might be weaker on the edge, but no dice.

The sample is too small to take an axe too, but I’m fairly sure if it was in the frame, and a relatively sharp axe was hit against it with enough force, it probably would get through it. That begs to question though, how many criminals carry an axe? A cordless drill? An angle grinder?
I was considering this on whirlpool recently, and it seems I’m not alone in the thinking that an alarm system is a useless noisemaker. If you want to keep shit secure, make it as unattractive to a criminal as possible.

I thought the same about the car – no need for an alarm, a 3 point immobilizer will stop most determined car thieves, without the noise.

We are still deciding what type of insulation to use, and whether to go with R1.5 or R2 for the added benefits – and then who is going to go about installing it (at the moment, the people doing the fibro removal are hopefully able to do insulation), and then the builder will do his work, and then we’ll have to figure out color and painter.

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