Is Your Chromagen Solar Hot Water Service Working Correctly?

Do you live in Australia and own a Chromagen split system solar hot water service? Do you know if that system is working properly? Do you know how to check if the system is working properly?

Firstly, what is a solar split system?

A solar hot water service split system is where you will have a tank at ground level and a set of collectors on your roof. A circulating pump takes cold water to the collectors and hot water from the collectors to the tank or cylinder.

Please, don’t void your warranty!!

Doing the steps below will allow you to see what’s wrong with your solar hot water service split system. Please don’t go any further. Altering and removing any of the attached wires or pipework can void your warranty. Most items on your solar hot water service need to be replaced or serviced by a qualified service technician, or at least your local plumber or electrician. If in doubt call the Chromagen service phone number – 1300 367 565 – toll free.

How to find out if your Chromagen hot water service is working properly

Firstly, right in the middle of the cylinder side there will be a large domed cream cover. Remove the four screws and remove the cover. You will find a small white box with four screws holding the front cover on, remove the screws. Remember that there is dangerous live power in this box, so please don’t touch any wires. In the top right hand corner there will be two led indicators, these indicators will show you if all is working properly or if there is a problem. On the rear of the white cover that you removed will be descriptions of what the indicators do to tell you what’s going on.

What the indicators will tell you:

  • If the system is dormant (not doing anything but working properly)
  • If the circulation pump is working (system is circulating hot water)
  • If there is a fault in either of the wires from the panels or the tank
  • If the system is in its frost protection phase
  • If the system is in its boil protect phase

What the indicators won’t tell you:

  • If the controller box is faulty – the only way to confirm this is to connect a working controller box and see if the system works then.
  • If the system has an air block – if there is an air block everything else will work fine but the circulating pump won’t circulate the hot water from the panels. There is only one way to decide this is the fault; on a sunny day when you know the circulating pump is trying to circulate, place you hand on the return line from the panels – DANGER: if the system is working properly there is a real danger of you getting serious burns from the piping as the hot water from the panels can reach up to 160 degrees Celsius. My suggestion is to just tap the return line to see if it’s hot. If it is then all is well, if it’s not then there may be a problem and you will need to call the above mentioned toll-free number.

Keeping the controller box turned on – why it’s vital

With a Chromagen solar split system the only element that keeps the system running well is the controller box and the circulating pump. Without these two elements working to their designed capacity your Chromagen hot water service won’t work properly and you possibly will void your warranty on your solar panels.

The circulating system is your primary frost protection. Please also make sure you have an anti frost valve (a small brass valve mostly at the bottom right of your hot water solar panels) as this is your secondary anti frost protection. Please, always remember that the power point that the controller box is plugged into remains on and the power cord is securely pushed in.

Your anti frost valve

Every solar split system should have an anti frost valve installed on the solar panels if it’s an ‘open loop’ system. If you are unsure of you type of solar split system please call Chromagen on the above mentioned toll free number.

Anti frost valves are designed to open up when the temperature reaches about 4 degrees Celsius. The valve will release a small amount of water until it detects that the temperature has risen or the valve has been warmed above approximately 6 degrees. It will then cut off and no water should be leaking out. When the valve drops below 4 degrees it will repeat the cycle. Anti frost valves should always cut off the water flow at a maximum of 8 degrees Celsius, so if your anti frost valve is still leaking and the temperature at the valve is more than 8 degrees then your anti frost valve is likely faulty. You should contact the above mentioned toll free number for a visit by an approved service agent.