Repairs and Upgrades

Serving the Colorado Four Corners region of Durango, Cortez, Dolores, Silverton, Pagosa Springs and the Farmington, New Mexico region.

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We are just about the only solar company in this region building hot water systems in addition to photovoltaics. Other companies have pretty much quit doing it. Nonetheless photovoltaics has eclipsed solar thermal and solar thermal is no longer the big industry that it once was. There are many systems still in existence, but they need repair work and glycol recharging from time to time and perhaps an upgrade due to an original design flaw. Sadly we have found that design flaws are almost universal and practically every system we are asked to work on could use some kind of fix. This often includes a differential controller with no LED screen, backward check valves or none at all where they might be needed, a pump installed backwards, recirculator pumps with no timer, buried lines both electrical and plumbing without proper underground protection, a single tank that does not work on the pre feed concept and has no timer to mitigate this, undersized expansion tanks, no pressure relief valve, and finally the worst culprit of all is an electronic controls interface with the non solar part of the system, that is needlessly complex and beyond most people’s ability to make any sense of it. We’ve seen it all and repaired or upgraded it all.

We have even seen systems that never worked at all and the homeowner was unaware of it. A common oversight with the big space heating systems was the failure to include a heat dump which has led to many glycol recharges and all the expense that went with that. By the time we enter the picture some homeowners have become so disillusioned with their system that there is no willingness to pay to have it repaired and upgraded so that it would work properly. We understand the disillusionment, but it also saddens us that a multi thousand dollar system is sitting there way under performing or not working at all and because of this disillusionment we are unable to convince them that we can solve their problems. At most some are only willing to do a ‘nickel and dime’ fix which we just don’t want to do. We are happy to come visit your system and make recommendations, but we strongly urge you to have a financial commitment to get it working properly and not have a corner cutting mentality about it.

Sometimes a homeowner might want to consider a boiler upgrade which we are able to do, but we only install boilers if it’s associated with a solar system. A boiler we really like is the Navien combi boiler that can interface with both space heating and domestic hot water and with solar. One brand of solar hot water system that at least three different companies have installed in this region is Schuco. Schuco was a German company that is no longer in business, but quite a few of their systems are still functional. Unfortunately many of the plumbing parts are metric fittings and metric size copper piping. We have, after great difficulty, managed to find vendors for parts that can keep these Schuco systems running and we are happy to work on them. However because we are transitioning from metric parts through adaptors to American NPT (national pipe thread) we cannot make it look like it did before, but it will function reasonably close to the manufacturer’s specifications. So if you have a defective Schuco system give us a call.

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