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Hey there everyone,

 

my name is Elliot Wilson and I am the current Technical Blog writer for Sunamp. I am with Sunamp for 12 weeks as part of an internship. 

 

During my research into the company I have found posts from the CEO (Andrew Bissell) on the predecessor to this forum, ebuild.com.

 

I am hoping to start up discussions with people who were engaged with Andrew previously. Notable users include: jsharris, recoveringacademic, DamonHD, ProDavie, SteamyTea, notnickclegg and Nickfromwales, among others.

 

I am also hoping to post articles that will be published on the Sunamp webpage. I have been talking to one of the moderators, have been informed of forum policy and have familiarised myself with the T and C's. If I still transgress any rules please let me know.

 

Articles have already written and so it is just a matter of when I want to post them. Article details include: phase change material (SunampPV, latent heat) vs alternative thermal storage (water tanks, sensible heat), a case study of an employees house who has data analysis software which monitors things such as exported, stored and generated electricity amongst other things and (slightly unrelated to Sunamp) a comparison of the Tesla Powerwall 2 vs the Sonnen Eco 8. There will be more.

 

Any questions people want to ask they can contact me through this.

 

Cheers

 

Elliot

 

 

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Just in case there is any confusion, I don't have one. I have not yet reached the point of installing the heating and HW system in my house, so the jury is still out on whether to use a SunAmp or an unvented HW cylinder.  Unless something changes before I reach that point, then the decision will be capital cost, as capital is something I am very short of.

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Elliot, I am a site admin and also incidentally have 2× SunAmp sitting in my new build.  Feel free to use the site as a resource of info and a vehicle to PM members for their experiences.  The information here is all provided by its members for general use under a common originator attribution licence.  So by all means mine the site for info / experiences for your SunAmp hosted blog.  Also feel free to engage in discussions, but leave any hard-sell to general members who have personal experience of using SunAmps.  We discourage vendors using this site for hard selling their own product. 

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2 hours ago, TerryE said:

Elliot, I am a site admin and also incidentally have 2× SunAmp sitting in my new build.  Feel free to use the site as a resource of info and a vehicle to PM members for their experiences.  The information here is all provided by its members for general use under a common originator attribution licence.  So by all means mine the site for info / experiences for your SunAmp hosted blog.  Also feel free to engage in discussions, but leave any hard-sell to general members who have personal experience of using SunAmps.  We discourage vendors using this site for hard selling their own product. 

He's already been initiated Terry ;). I'll tag you and Ian into the pm now ?

Been a long day sorry ?

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Guest Alphonsox

Hi Eliot - Welcome to the forum, Great to have you on-board.

We installed a couple of SunAmps in our Northern Ireland build at the end if last year and have been extremely pleased with the results. The input we got from Andrew, Joan and Andy at the the time was invaluable.

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Ok I will start, by asking some total noddy things as this is a part of my build I'm really struggling to work out. 

 

How the hell does this thing work what does it do? Where do I keep my water? Will it provide water for my ufh? How is it powered? What happens if it's not sunny?  

 

There you  go some proper numpty questions there. 

Cheers. Russ. 

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It stores thermal energy in phase change cells, a bit like thermal batteries.  These use a compound very similar to that used in the "jelly bag" hand warmers you can buy, the ones that you charge up in boiling water to make the solid content into a liquid, and that you can then later use to release the stored heat by clicking a small actuator that initiates a phase change, from liquid to solid, so releasing the stored heat.

 

Think of a Sunamp PV as a combi boiler or instant water heater.  It doesn't store water, but will instantly heat water that flows through it when a tap is opened, just like a combi boiler, thermal store or instant water heater.  It normally runs at mains water pressure, perhaps with a PRedV if the water pressure at the main is too high.

 

No it won't work as a buffer for an UFH system, as it delivers water at typically around 55 deg C (before the supplied TMV), plus it's designed to be a domestic hot water unit, not a central heating unit.

 

If it's not sunny then you can charge a Sunamp PV up from the mains.  Our system is set so that the Sunamp PV is boosted by the mains at 4 am, for two hours, using a time switch, so that it is always charged for morning showers.  If the Sunamp PV thermal cells are already charged up from the previous days excess PV, then no power is drawn during this boost period.  If the thermal cells are discharged, or partially discharged, then they will draw power from the boost system until they are fully charged, then stop drawing power.

Edited by JSHarris
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55 minutes ago, Nickfromwales said:

C'mon folks....let's get started with the meaty questions and get him sweating ?

Hi, and welcome aboard Elliot. 

In that spirit...

Can you get 'Sunamp care' like you can with a gas combi boiler?

Whats the after care engineer network like for speed of response etc.

Would repair insurance cover the PV system too or would a chap buy a separate product to cover this?

I understand the phase change salts last for gazillions of cycles but how much *ballpark* if you had to change these and what about disposal of the old salts. Can you dust these on a bit of good fillet steak from Aldi for your Friday night dinner?

There, that's a meaty question @Nickfromwales

Edited by Tennentslager
I should get at least 3 'likes' for my mirth fellow Buildhubbers
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45 minutes ago, Russell griffiths said:

Ok so this is basically just to heat the hot water feeding taps and showers. 

Yes, but certain configurations are required to suit differing heat inputs. @Stones iirc has one that will accept heat energy from an ASHP, whereas @JSHarris has one which will accept electricity only. 

 

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Hey Elliot. I'm an architect in the Republic of Ireland and was onto Andrew about installing the first SunAmp down south in my own house. Project is delayed a bit so will now be early next year before it's ordered. 

 

One concern is the 15mm feed from SunAmp. Another member here, can't remember who, has put two SunAmp's in parallel to increase flow. Any thoughts on this or any plans for a 22mm SunAmp which would support more showers, etc?

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As a random observation, our combi boiler in the old house has 15mm DHW connections.  IIRC, 15mm at mains pressure, over reasonable pipe runs, can sustain well over20 litres a minute.  That's enough hot water (assuming the instantaneous power is available) to run around 3 showers at 10 litres a minute simultaneously.

 

I think the pipe size isn't a problem, but the heat delivery power may be.  The Sunamp PV is about the same power as a combi boiler, about 30 kW or so, IIRC.  Two in parallel should be able to deliver a great deal more than any combi boiler that I know of. 

 

As another observation, the rising main in our old house was 15mm copper, and the flow rate was actually too great at the taps, so I had to fit a pressure reducing valve, just to stop the taps splashing.  If the mains pressure is very low, then 22mm might be an advantage, mainly because the head loss in bends at 22mm is a fair bit lower than in 15mm (the straight pipe frictional loss difference isn't great between the two sizes).

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40 minutes ago, Dudda said:

Hey Elliot. I'm an architect in the Republic of Ireland and was onto Andrew about installing the first SunAmp down south in my own house. Project is delayed a bit so will now be early next year before it's ordered. 

 

One concern is the 15mm feed from SunAmp. Another member here, can't remember who, has put two SunAmp's in parallel to increase flow. Any thoughts on this or any plans for a 22mm SunAmp which would support more showers, etc?

@TerryE has the 'dual' setup ;)

Details in his blog :)

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5 minutes ago, Russell griffiths said:

So if I have to put in an ashp to run my ufh, why do I need a sunamp? 

Why don't I run it all of a ashp. 

 

 

Because an ASHP won't deliver DHW efficiently.  Anything over about 40 deg C will very seriously hit the COP of an ASHP, and the Sunamp PV is designed to make use of spare PV generation, so giving DHW at a much reduced cost when compared to using grid power.

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Guest Alphonsox
1 hour ago, JSHarris said:

 

 

Because an ASHP won't deliver DHW efficiently.  Anything over about 40 deg C will very seriously hit the COP of an ASHP, and the Sunamp PV is designed to make use of spare PV generation, so giving DHW at a much reduced cost when compared to using grid power.

 

The Sunamps aren't just about PV. We use ours on E7 electricity - New PV installation in  Northern Ireland is close to unavailable at the moment (although £1 billion may help). We have a completely separate UFH system which is currently E7 powered, but will be ASHP in the future. The reason for the spit is entirely due to the inability of ASHP to efficiently supply DHW.

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3 hours ago, Russell griffiths said:

So if I have to put in an ashp to run my ufh, why do I need a sunamp? 

Why don't I run it all of a ashp. 

You can. 

Reasons against doing it are about efficiency ;)

The Sunamp has very little standing / latent heat loss vs say an UVC, so less lost energy = less energy required. An ashp will have a poor CoP when delivering DHW, but if your not a huge DHW user, say retired couple for eg, then you may just be happy to suffer a bit when the ashp is providing DHW. 

Capital costs is one big point, but deduct the cost of an UVC plus yearly G3 inspections, and its losses, and then the cost of the SA starts to balance out. 

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Yup, we use a dual parallel SunAmp configuration, E7, no PV. As Nick says, no UVC related costs or constraints, small heat losses. But another big decider for us was the small footprint compared to a TS. We are very constrained on the ground floor in the size of our services room - it's a 1.4 x 0.65 m² area panelled off from our downstairs toilet. We've got all of our UFH & DHW installation fitted into this, with room for sundry storage as well.

 

 

 

 

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@SunampBlogger

Pre-heat or not to pre-heat that is my question. 

 

I will have a small buffer vessel on my underfloor heating system. Water is from a bore hole so constant 6--7 deg temp. Do I use an indirect cylinder is stainless steel and use the coil as a pre-heat (or a dedicated heat exchanger and pump as others have done)

Andrew said it was not needed but my head tells me it would give me more capacity (two in parallel)

I could even use the immersion in the tank from the second output of my immersun when the SunAmps are charged 

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