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Solar/electic source furnace wiring

I have a furnace to set up that uses solar hot water as the main source and electric (240) for backup. I need to figure out how to switch between the two sources if the water isn't hot enough. Then I have to have the thermostat turn the correct souce on- 120vac pump for the solar and 240vac for the electric. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Reed B. Turney

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  • Reed Turney Jan 19, 2009

    Friends, I believe that the answer provided by 'artiaco07' pertains to solar electric, not solar hot water. The beginning of the answer talks about 'where the solar array cables enter the house' . There are no cables, only pipes. Thanks. Reed Turney

  • Reed Turney Jan 19, 2009

    Benimur, Sounds the closest to what I am looking for. I'm interested on how the relay will switch between 120 and 240. A schematic would be great. Thank you for your time. Reed B. Turney



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A system is made of interconnected components, each with a different function. A major strength of PV systems is modularity. As your needs grow, individual components can be replaced or added to increase capacity. You can do it this way---
COMPONENTS: solar/electic source furnace wiring - power.jpg

  • Solar ARRAY: consists of one or more PV modules which convert sunlight and daylight into electricity. The modules are connected in parallel and series to provide the voltage and current as is appropriate for the application. The array is usually mounted on a metal structure or roof and tilted to face the sun.
  • Charge CONTROLLER: The main function is to maintain the batteries at the proper level of charge and to protect them from overcharging. Many optional features are also available.
  • Battery BANK: The battery bank contains one or more deep cycle batteries, connected in series and/or parallel depending on the application voltage and current needed. The batteries store the power produced by the solar array for when it is needed.
  • Inverter: An inverter is required when you want to power AC devices. It converts the DC power produced by the solar array and batteries to AC power.
  • AC loads: These are the appliances you want to run with the power. AC loads are typical household appliances.
  • DC loads: DC loads are appliances designed for DC power such as RV and automotive equipment. DC loads make more efficient use of the power than AC loads and therefore may be a better choice for use with home energy systems.
  • Other components: Circuit breakers for safety, meters, wiring, switches and controls.
  • In order to determine what size system you need it will be necessary to determine how much power you really need. To do this a power budget must be developed.

Posted on Jan 17, 2009


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Hi and welcome to FixYa,

Initially, a basic circuitry that includes a thermal probe (or even a thermostat), a logic circuitry (XOR), a driver, a single relay to switch either the 120VC pump or the 240 heater and of course am power supply.

Pls post back if the above idea merits your consideration and that a schematic could be provided. Good luck and Thank you for using FixYa.

Posted on Jan 17, 2009

  • Louie  Role
    Louie Role Jan 19, 2009

    Hi again,

    Appreciate the rating. Pls find below relay wiring diagram.


  • Louie  Role
    Louie Role Jan 19, 2009

    Oopps sorry error on the wiring of the heater to relay contacts. Below is corrected diagram.


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A dc disconnect switch should be located where the cables from the solar arrays enter the house. you would have to turn that off.. then you would look for another disconnect whether it be in the circuit panel or near the main unit and turn it on..

Posted on Jan 17, 2009

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Whats the best renewable energy source?

The beat renewable energy sources are those sources of energy which can be renewed easily and which is eco-friendly in nature.
Some of the best sources of renewable energy are:
1. Solar energy: The most efficient renewable energy source. The sun rays are absorbed by the solar cells on the solar panel and later it is used as electricity.
2. Wind energy: Used in turbines to make them run and generate electricity.
3. Water energy: Water has been used in hydroelectric plants to produce electricity.
4. Nuclear energy: Nuclear fission is the main source of energy today. The energy generated by this fission is used to produce electricity.


Jan 04, 2017 | Green Living

1 Answer

Solar hot water not hot

Solar hot water giving you cold showers? Eight tips to warm you up.
Eight tips to get the most from solar hot water
We argue that policy needs to look beyond installation and that installation practices need improving, but what can you do to get an effective installation?
First, seek out independent advice from sources such as local sustainability events and organisations. They can help you understand what suits your circumstances and what characterises an effective installation.
A good organisation is theAlternative Technology Association. They provide free advice to members, sell a solar hot water guide, and organise open house events where you can see and discuss domestic sustainability technologies.
Second, consider whether solar hot water is the best option. It may be that a hot water heat pump or an instant gas system is a suitable choice, depending on where you live, how much cloud cover you have, or what sort of building you are in.
Third, make sure all your hot water pipes are insulated, especially the pipes that go to and from the tank and solar panels. You typically need insulation to be 15 mm thick. Without proper insulation you could lose half the energy you are trying to collect.
Fourth, get a booster switch installed in a convenient place inside, so you can easily turn the booster off if there is plenty of sun, or on if it's cloudy or you need more hot water.
Fifth, if you go solar, install a system that has a sufficiently large tank matched with a sufficiently large solar array for your needs. Water is very good at storing heat. A large tank could help you store solar energy for those rainy days.
Sixth, you may need to change electricity tariffs if your booster is electric, to ensure the sun gets a chance to heat the water before the electricity does.
Seventh, you may need to change your peak hot water use habits so that the tank water is at its coldest after morning use, after which the sun can then heat it during the day. The booster can "top up" overnight, ready for morning showers.
Eighth, before you install solar hot water, examine and discuss household expectations around hot water use. Will they need to change? Are members of your household prepared to make that change?
This may be the most profound change you can make, but also perhaps the most challenging.

Oct 30, 2016 | Water Water Heaters

1 Answer

Trying to driveRHEEM RAMB-036JAZ using a Honda eu2000 generator. How to hook this up?

You have to very careful powering up home appliances on portable generators due to back feed problems to incoming lines. I would recommend getting an experienced electrician to show and explain the problems with what you are considering. Many linemen have been shocked due to backfeed. The real way to perform this is to get the controller that is put on home generating systems such as generac type systems. These automatically isolate line supply from backup power from home generators, thereby eliminating shock hazards to linemen.
If prolonged shortage, you could disconnect the wires into the furnace and install an extension cord from the furnace to the 120 volt plug on the generator. Most fans are powered on gas furnace on 120 volt. Make sure your voltage needed on your furnace before attempting emergency power up. I have seen some furnaces power by 240 volt fan motors. If it is 240 volt then use the 240 plug wired correctly. PS when you get an electrician to help you with the wiring, check out the requirement to provide grounding, to lessen your shock hazard.
Hope this helps.

Dec 19, 2014 | Heating & Cooling

1 Answer

Hot water thermostats only lasting 15 minutes.My old Beasley solar hot water system is causing thermostats to stop working within 15 minutes of them being installed. I have had four new thermostats

try using the services of an electrician when fitting electrical components
the thermostats only stop/ start electrical power to the elements and will not control the temp of solar systems
if they physically burn the points , there must be an electrical short of some sort so an electrician in to test circuitry is in order

Jun 24, 2017 | Water Heaters

1 Answer

I replaced all parts but water heated won't get hot

You have electric water heater.
You replaced elements and thermostats but heater still won't work.
And tank was completely full of water, and water was running out of a faucet before turning power ON.
If elements are not fully immersed in water, they will instantly burn out.
If upper element is burned out, then tank will have NO hot water.
If lower element is burned out, and upper element is not burned out, then tank will have some hot water.

If elements did not burn out, then that leaves 1 main suspect: the electricity.

1) Push in ECO red reset button on upper thermostat. If ECO is tripped out, then heater will not work.

2) Click circuit breaker all the way one direction and then back the other direction to make sure breaker is latched.

3) If tank has 2 elements, then it is 240volt.
If 1 leg of 240Volt circuit is not working, then 240V appliance will not work.
240Volt circuit needs both hot wires to complete the circuit:

Buy cheap multimeter from Home Center and set dial to 240-250-277VAC
Tape tester leads to woods sticks to keep hands away from power.
Power is ON
Test across top 2 screws on upper element should show 220-240 volts.
If you have 240 at top two screws, then skip down to step 6.
If no reading across top two screws, then move to top of tank.

4) Open connection point where wire connects to heater.
Test across both insulated wires should get reading of 220-240 volts.
If no reading, move to circuit breaker box.

5) Mark water heater breaker.
Turn off all breakers except water heater breaker and main breaker. (and breaker to light fixture where box is located)
Do not hold or touch or lean against anything metal.
Stand on dry boards and wear dry clothes.
If main breaker is OFF, the big wires that connect to main breaker are still HOT.

Remove box cover.
240Volt breaker has 2 wires connected with screws.
Test across both screws for 240Volt.
See if wires are loose.
If there is no reading, then breaker is not working on one leg.
To double check, move water heater wires to another same-size 240V breaker and then put ear against water heater to listen for bubbly-fizzing sound.

6) If you are getting 240 to water heater, then wire inside tank could be loose.
Do 30 minute troubleshoot:

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Jan 09, 2011 | Rheem 40 GAL ELEC TALL Water Heater 6YR SC...

1 Answer

One of the breakers assigned to our Hot wtr htr has been tripping recently leading to loss of hot water. This has happened twice in the last month. After resetting the breaker things have worked fine,...

Breaker could be bad.
Let's do a quick check and save you money.
Open top cover on water heater and push in red reset button that might be tripped.
If reset is tripped, water heater should turn ON.
If reset will not reset, then replace upper thermostat:
If reset is not tripped out, then it is OK, so test two top wires on upper thermostat.
Use cheap multimeter from home center, and set dial to 240-250-277 VAC.
Test across top two screws on upper thermostat to see if you have 240Volts.
To do full troubleshoot on ordinary tank electric water heater takes 30 minutes and multimeter

If water heater is not receiving 240V, then the breaker is suspect, or a wire between breaker and water heater is loose.
See basic water heater circuit

Now let's look at circuit breaker:
Mark suspect 240V breaker.
Identify all your breakers, and also mark another 240 Volt breaker that is same amperage as water heater 240V breaker.
Turn off main breaker.
Take front panel off breaker box.
The wires and lugs on main breaker are HOT, so stay away from that area.
Suspect breaker has 2 wires coming from breaker.
See if one or both wires are loose, and then tighten.

If wires are tight, then move these wires to the other 240V breaker that is rated for same amps as water heater.
Now turn on main breaker.
Put ear against water heater tank to hear bubbly fizzing sound.
This will identify if circuit breaker is bad, or if water heater needs a full troubleshoot.
It is not a good idea to run two 240V appliances on same 240V circuit breaker, so you may have to decide one or the other appliance until you can replace breaker.
Instructions to replace circuit breaker:

Add a comment for more free help.
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For a price, fixya expert speaks with you over phone while you work on water heater circuit.

Jan 07, 2011 | Water Heaters

1 Answer

I have installed a Grundfos CH2050PT pressure booster system at my home (3 stories). The pumps is installed at ground level and is connected to the main water tank (source of water). The pressure is...

it could be the differential in pressure between the cold water from your booster pump and the hot water from your solar water heater . the cold water which feeds your solar heater is probably being reduced in pressure by a pressure reducing valve . so what you need is equal pressure on both your hot and cold water system you could install a pressure reducing valve on the pipe thart feeds your cold taps etc valve set at the same pressure as the one on the solar water heater that would give you a balanced hot and cold water system

Dec 07, 2010 | Grundfos JPS4 1 HP Pressure Booster Pump

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Question: how to...

What you need is called an aquastat. good luck

Jan 16, 2009 | Electrical Supplies

2 Answers

On-Demand Water Heater

An on-demand, or tankless, water heater is a system for heating water as it passes through the pipes, usually very near the point of use. Traditional tank water heaters bring the water to approximately 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 C), in order to ensure the water supply lasts long after the heater turns off. Since this is obviously far too hot to be pumped out of a shower of faucet, cold water is added to the mix in the pipes. Coupled with the loss of thermal energy over time, the average tank heater has an efficiency of approximately 80%. On-demand water heaters have a number of advantages over their tank-using counterparts. While tanks often degrade over time and begin leaking, the apparatus used in an on-demand water heater is much less susceptible to the burdens of age, and will often outlive the house they're installed in. The amount of energy used is a fraction of that used in a tank water heater, due to increased efficiency and a much smaller window during which a heating source is in use. While tank hot water heaters can, and often do, run out of hot water after a number of showers, on-demand heaters provide a never-ending supply of hot water, ensuring that warm water is always available when needed. A tankless water heater can cost between $500 and $1500, and they most commonly use either electric or natural gas energy to heat the water. Most mid-sized households report an energy savings of approximately 25-45% for a gas or propane heater, and up to 50% with an electric heater, over using traditional tank heaters. Water is usually set to a maximum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 C), though many heaters allow for custom setting of the maximum temperature via remote control. Outflow rates range from 8-14 gallons (30-53 litres) per minute. Installation for most tankless water heaters is incredibly easy, involving simple plumbing. In the case of electric heaters, all that is required for a fuel source is to plug the heater into an outlet and begin heating your water. Some modern on-demand water heaters can incorporate a solar preheating system. This system uses a traditional solar heating system and tank to bring the water nearer to the desired temperature, saving substantial energy use in the final on-demand heating. A solar preheating system costs between $500 and $800.

Aug 27, 2008 | Stiebel Eltron CK20E Electric Tankless...

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