Northstar Energy: Solar Heating FAQ's

It is not very sunny today. Will the Northstar system work?

Although they work best in direct sunlight, very good performance will be given in the indirect light (or diffuse radiation) of a cloudy day.

Will the system work at night?

No, the system only works in daylight. At some times of the year there is insufficient daylight and that is why your system has a fossil fuel back up that will cover your needs at these times.

I am worried about the glycol solution in the heat transfer pipe.

Glycol has to be used to prevent the pipe freezing in very cold weather. It is not dangerous – it is a type of anti freeze, but unlike normal anti-freeze it is classified in Europe and the USA as ‘edible’ and is safe for use in food. The Glycol is in a well engineered sealed system and will not leak into the domestic water supply.

I have heard that global warming is caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. How much of these gases does my Northstar Solar Hot Water System produce?

Your Northstar Solar Hot Water System produces no emissions whatsoever. It is entirely without any discharge of greenhouse gases or other pollution.

How much carbon dioxide does my system save?

We estimate that your system will save one ton of carbon dioxide a year which is equivalent to about a large sack of soot each year. Over the life of the system each system will save dozens of tons.

Surely energy was used in order to make the collectors?

Yes it was but the energy used in manufacturing the system will be recovered after only two years use in this country, leaving 18 years under warranty of FREE hot water without any pollution.

Can I improve the performance by adjusting the solar panel?

No, it would be very dangerous to attempt to do this. The panel is situated on the roof and there are no user serviceable parts inside. The heat transfer pipe is filled with a glycol solution and reaches a maximum working pressure of 6BAR. The heat transfer pipe reaches temperatures in excess of boiling point so, for example touching it, will cause severe burns. Treat it with the same caution as you would treat a pan of boiling water.

Will the system still work in very cold weather?

Yes, the system will work in much colder temperatures than we experience in this country. However, it will not work if the panel is covered in snow as this will prevent light striking the absorber plate. Some of our collectors are fitted to Alpine Hotels where really cold weather is experienced and they work perfectly in conditions of up to minus 30degrees Celsius.

What should I do if it snows?

Nothing - If snow collects on the glass surface of the collector it will rapidly melt. In fact the design is such that it will melt more rapidly from the collector surface than it will melt from other parts of your roof.

I have noticed some bird droppings or dust or other dirt on the collector glass; shall I wash them off.

There is no need to. They will not significantly impair performance and when it next rains they will be washed off.

What servicing does the system need?

Very little really. Inside keep an eye on the pressure gauge on the pumping station. It should be around 2 to 5 bar. Fluctuations in the course of use are quite normal but if the gauge shows no pressure please contact Northstar. Every month you should check visually that nothing has gone wrong outside. Every five years the integrity of the glycol can be checked and tested.

What shall I do is something goes wrong?

In the unlikely event that the panels, pump or controller have malfunctioned simply turn off the electricity supply to the digital controller and the pump and then contact Northstar.

Shall I switch off the Solar System when I go away on Holiday?

No -it is better to keep it on.

Recent Installations

Guildford, Surrey

3 Genersys 100/10 panels used for hot water

System: 2 Genersys 1000/10 panels

Location: Guildford, Surrey

See our latest installations

Northstar Energy

313 Church Lane

West Sussex
BN17 7QJ
Telephone: 0845 6800 881