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Closed Loop Antifreeze System Components

Ken Olson ©2001 Ken Olson

If you want a solar hot water system for your home and you live where it freezes, this article is for you. If you’re installing your own system, it will help you get the right parts for a system that works. If you’re planning to hire a professional, it will help you know what you’re getting.

Solar Hot Water: A Primer (HP84)

covered the fundamentals of solar hot water heating systems, including collectors, different types of systems, and rules of thumb for sizing. In this article, I focus on one system that is commonly used for solar hot water in freezing climates. You will learn the principles and parts that make up the “closed loop antifreeze” type solar water heating systems.

Closed Loop Antifreeze Systems

“Closed loop” is a general term for any portion of a hydronic heating system that is filled with a fluid at the time of installation. These systems remain closed to renewed supplies of corrosive oxygen. Open loop systems handle new water on a frequent basis, and must resist the deteriorating effects of exposure to a recurring supply of oxygen.

A “closed loop antifreeze” system is nearly identical in design to a conventional hydronic heating system; it simply uses solar collectors in place of a boiler. A hydronic heating system is any system that uses a fluid such as water, antifreeze, or oil as the medium of heat transfer. A “boiler” is where the fluid is heated. A closed loop solar hot water system includes

A closed loop module groups the major components on one board. This homebrew model by the author has functioned without fail since 1982.

40 Home Power #85 • October / November 2001

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