Saturday, March 31, 2012

Energy Update

I recently added another piece to our home energy puzzle - a drain water heat recovery unit (from Water Cycles). It's the copper spiral in the picture. It was installed by Rock Paper Sun the folks that installed our solar panels.

It's a simple, passive device - no electronics, no pumps - just some simple copper tubing. It installs around the main drain. When you take a shower or run hot water for other things, the cold water going into your hot water tank (or into a tankless heater) runs through the spiral and gets warmed by the outgoing waste water.

One of the things that prompted me to get this installed was the frustration of watching the solar thermal panels warm up our hot water tank, and then losing all that heat down the drain after a couple of showers. This way at least some of the heat is recycled.

As spring progresses, we're getting more and more energy from our solar panels.

March was the first month when we generated more electricity than we used. It didn't hurt that we were on holidays for part of the month so our usage was less. And the weather has been mild so the furnace is running less. That doesn't mean we didn't use any electricity from the grid - it just means we put back more than we took. Our best day was today - March 31. We reached 4 kW maximum output - 80% of the rated maximum of 5 kW with a total of 22 kWh for the day. The top of our solar hot water tank is at 55c so our tankless water heater (set at 50c) isn't firing up at all. Nice!

Related posts:
EcoFriendly Sask - Solar Energy for Your Home
Where Does the Energy Go?
Solar Powered

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