The adoption of solar across Australia has resulted in a myriad of related products and services emerge to support this growing industry. There are substantial benefits of using solar for heating water.
However, the Australian solar industry is still in its infancy and there are many kinks to be fixed, products to be tested and standards to be written. Luckily, Australia can take a page out of the European market and adopt some of their technology which they have been fine tuning for almost a decade.
The major issue with solar is that it is an uncontrolled energy source – meaning that the water can potentially be heated to very high temperatures. At these high temperatures, the hot water cannot be used directly because of the danger of scalding.
Water temperatures over 50°C can cause burns very quickly. For example, at 55°C, partial burn occurs in about 30 seconds, whereas at 75°C, partial burn occurs in just 1 second.
All Valve Industries imports the Caleffi range of valves and associated products. Caleffi has been manufacturing hydronic solutions for over 40 years and is well versed to meet the needs of the Australian market.
Currently, All Valve Industries has the series 250 solar air release valve (vacuum breaker) rated to 200°C, 253 series solar safety relief valve rated to 160°C and a solar tempering valve rated to 100°C which is Australian Standards approved and is available at the end of April.
Automatic air vents are used in the closed circuits of solar heating systems to allow air contained in the fluid to be released automatically by means of a valve operated by a float in contact with fluid in the system.
Safety relief valves are used to control pressure in the primary circuits of solar heating systems.
When the calibrated pressure is reached, the valve opens to release the fluid into the atmosphere and prevents the pressure in the system from reaching levels that might damage the solar collectors and equipment installed. These are available pre-set at 300, 400, 600, 800 or 1000kPa.
Tempering valves are designed to maintain the set temperature of the mixed water supplied to the user when there are variations in the temperature and pressure conditions of the incoming hot and cold water or in the flow rate.
The Caleffi solar air release valve is currently being used by a major hot water OEM in Australia and they are pleased with the valve’s performance. With more people embracing solar technology, it is important that the right equipment is used for safety and performance reasons.