As fuel costs climb and interest in green continues to rise, Rheem Water Heating now offers solar water heating systems under the Rheem Solaraide brand. Combining a storage tank with one or two collector panels, these “passive” systems operate without pumps or controllers, relying instead on the natural process of convection – also called indirect thermosiphoning – to circulate the heat-transfer fluid.
Made especially for Rheem by its Australian subsidiary, Solahart, Rheem Solaraide systems use a specially developed, freeze-proof heat transfer fluid to absorb and deliver heat energy even on cold and overcast days. The fluid also circulates in a “closed loop” environment, which further protects against freezing, allowing these systems to be used year-round, even in cold-weather locales.
Here’s how the Rheem Solaraide system works:
The fluid, a propylene glycol solution, circulates through 35 multi-flow risers in the solar collector, soaking up the sun’s energy. Typically installed on a rooftop, the collector is coated with a black polyester powder coat paint to maximize heat absorption.
The heated fluid then moves to an attached storage tank, which is encased in highly durable, marine-grade aluminum jacket. The tank sits above the collector to facilitate the thermosiphoning process that keeps the fluid circulating.
Heat is then transferred quickly and efficiently to the potable water inside the tank. Pressure-injected polyurethane foam insulation – environmentally safe and free of CFCs – keeps the water in the tank warm. To resist corrosion and prolong tank life, the tank is lined with vitreous enamel and equipped with a magnesium alloy anode rod.
At night or on heavy-overcast days, an optional immersed copper sheath backup electric element automatically activates to meet hot-water demand 24/7.
Rheem Solaraide solar water heaters are offered in two configurations, each carrying a five-year warranty:
47-Gallon system (RS47-21BP), measuring 97.5 inches long and 58.5 inches wide, includes a single collector panel and is designed to provide approximately 45% of the annual hot water requirements of a home with 1.5 baths.
80-Gallon system (RS80-42BP), measuring 97.5 inches long and 91 inches wide, incorporates two collector panels to meet approximately 58% of the annual hot-water requirements of a home with two or three bathrooms.
Both models have been tested and certified for durability, performance, and efficiency by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC), with the 47-gallon model having received a Solar Energy Factor (SEF) of 1.3; the 80-gallon model, a 1.5 SEF. These numbers represent the energy delivered by the system, divided by the electrical or gas energy put into the system.
“These systems are comparatively straightforward to install, taking perhaps a day the first time – and probably less thereafter as the installer gains experience,” says Jeff Mahoney, Rheem alternative energy market manager. “To mount the system on the roof, all the installer needs is a pipe wrench, a crescent wrench, a hammer, screwdriver and drill.”
Rheem Solaraide systems are an excellent option wherever solar cannot meet 100% of a household’s domestic hot water needs. In these applications, the Solaraide unit can supplement a conventional hot-water system by pre-warming the water, so that the water heater or boiler uses less gas or electricity.
“We are definitely witnessing a fast-growing and substantial interest in solar water heating,” says Mahoney. “Federal tax credits included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, along with state and local utility incentives, are slowly but surely bringing the consumer back to this market, and builders and contractors are taking note as well.”
Rheem Manufacturing Company (www.rheem.com) is a privately held company with headquarters in Atlanta. In its 81st year of operation, the company manufactures a full-line of high-quality residential and commercial heating and cooling systems, tank and tankless water heaters, swimming pool heaters and commercial boilers throughout North America and world markets. The premium brands of Rheem Manufacturing Company include Raypak, Ruud and Rheem. Rheem Manufacturing Company is the official heating, cooling and water heating suppliers to Richard Childress Racing and Kevin Harvick Inc. as well as the major associate sponsor of the No. 29 Sprint Cup® car driven by Kevin Harvick, 2007 Daytona 500 Champion, 2007 Craftsman Truck Series Champion and 2006 Busch Series Champion. Rheem is also the primary sponsor of Kevin Harvick Inc.’s No. 33 and No. 77 cars in Nationwide® Series and sponsor of KHI’s 2 and 33 entries in The Craftsman Truck Series.
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