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Daily Nation : February 6th 2014
solar heaters before deadline DN DAILY NATION Thursday February 6, 2014 MARKET WATCH to confirm if the manufacturer will keep his word. It is also important to ensure that the manufacturer complies with international standards because poor quality systems can be harmful to health, and in some cases, to the structure as well as the environment. “You have to go through all these details to ensure that you are getting value for your money. Manufacturers should give their products a serial number, indicate their name, explain the way the system works and the country of origin – the bare minimum to meet international standards,” said Mr Lavi. It is important to note that most manufacturers will not acknowledge responsibility for a system that does not bear their name. This can create a problem between the client and the distributor. In addition, some manufacturers will not abide by the terms of the warranty if the installation was not carried out in line with their requirements. Tank coating It is important to know whether a tank has an inner coating, as well as the material it is made from. “Tanks coated with enamel are more durable than those coated with epoxy or other materials, and healthier to use. The presence of sacrificial anodes (which prevent corrosion) also extends the life of the system and is required by international standards,” said Lavi. Pressurized versus non-pressurized system A pressurized system is built to work in high-water pressure conditions. Many mistakenly think that because there is no high water pressure in house pipes, they do not need this system. Lavi said that hot water creates pressure in the tank, so if a system is not built to withstand the pressure, a leakage can occur. “In situations where hot water is not used daily, the hot water temperature can 7 easily rise above 100˚c and create high pressure, which can cause damage in the form of leakage or even a burst tank,” he explained. Price The prices of systems differ between distributors, but generally depend on capacity/tank size and sytem’s collector size of the system. A good system from a known manufacturer should cost between Sh140,000 and Sh200,000, including installation and VAT for a retail client. Tube versus flat-panel technology Ttubes are very delicate and were developed mainly for cold countries; they use indirect heating via vacuum tubes. In Kenya, the phenomenon of tubes exploding as a result of overheating is very common. It is hard to notice at first, until the system loses efficiency. The tubes are easy to replace, but it involves extra costs. Lavi said that the flat-panel technology is designed for all weather conditions and can work directly or indirectly. “The panels are tough and do not break easily and usually, there is no need to replace the glass panel. When using flat-panel technology, you can install the tank inside the roof and the panel out on the roof, which is better aesthetically, said Mr Lavi Doing such an installation using tubes would be more complicated and expensive, necessitating the use of a pump. In a normal tube system, the tubes are connected directly to the tank, and they are all installed out on the roof.
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