Going strong after 15 year maintenance
Bought a house with one of these on the roof. Electric boost wasn't working, Solarhart Sutherland replaced along with anode and pressure valve in a 5-year service (cost $450). Working like a dream. Boost kicks in, but only at night after using lots of hot water.
Some very negative reviews here, maybe manufacturing quality has dropped?
DONT BUY SOLAHART / Rheem
Sadly, I poorly invested $6,000 dollars on a three panel solahart hotwater system thinking it would last longer than 6 years. However, the system has suffered a catastrophic premature failure. Leaking panels. Lucky for Solahart it just made it past warranty, with Solarhart giving me the two finger salute. Solahart is owned by Rheem so beware of this namesake product range too. I found Choice magazine a great place to start looking for your replacement system. Im thinking a straight electric hotwater system with a solar power panel system may be the best replacement. Main thing to take away from this is "buyer beware" of solahart / Rheem. You wont get any product or after sales support.
Solarhart - No thanks!
We installed a gas boosted Solarhart 220 in 2001. The system boiled water on hot days - which created a problem in that, as the hot water was continually being dumped via the pressure release valve, the lost pressure subsequently allowed the off grid water pump to switch on again - to replace the lost water! A recycling event that kept going all day long. Advice from the 'firm' was to cover half of the panels to lessen the solar radiation. All well except it meant someone had to climb onto the roof every year to install, then remove, said co...vers - that's if a storm hadn't already done so in the meantime. Eventually, a retro-fitted Hartstat Over Temperature Relief Tank was installed - which solved the problem for about 3 years before it too, failed! Then the gas booster gave up the ghost after about 8 years. Repairs to same cost an arm and a leg and it was cheaper to install a separate gas hot water system to work in conjunction with the solar section when required. After a short while, the solar part of the system failed to heat water altogether and soon after that - no water supply from the solar system at all! A call to the 'Firm', and a subsequent visit, indicated that one of the panels was leaking - and quite possibly the water tank itself had rusted through! No way to discover the problem unless all was removed, taken apart, and inspected. Strange.......Only had it serviced four years ago with the advice by the 'firm' that the system had no problems and was in good order. Best advice - decommission it and start afresh! Total costs to date for our Solarhart over 15 years, including installation and servicing = $6500. Get another Solarhart? Not in a million years!
Luke warm water
I have nothing good to say about my solarhart. Even with the booster installed the hot water takes more than a minute to come through and it's luke warm at best.
Especially over winter you pretty much can't have a decent shower. You can't wash dishes in hit water.. Even if you might get a could a few minutes worth of water it will go cold and you'll have to get out of the shower.
Poor service from Solahart & the local service agent.
We had a 300L roof system with 3 panels (3 for 2 deal) in 2001. Not long after we found that the water boiled when the daytime temp was 28 deg or more. Contacted Solahart for a remedy. There was, cover some of the panels, really. We did this each summer for a few years. I discovered that Solahart had a draw off device to stop this problem, so $500 later it cured the problem. Why didn't Solahart contact us to offer this? Why, because they have a flog'em & forget service policy. Earlier this year it stopped heating water during the day so I conta...cted the closest service agent being McDonald O'Brien in Wangaratta. I was told it needed a valve, so they replaced it. No change, another visit, can't find anything wrong. So another trip to discover that one panel was leaking so it needs a new one. None on hand so ordered. When this was being installed there seemed to me to be an excessive amount of banging & crashing to get it into the frame. Eventually it was in. Next day, no change so back they come. Mate, there is another one leaking. No kidding, who'd have thought that the grievous bodily harm metered out installing the first panel would not have had an adverse result on the others. But no, the plumbers weren't to blame, really. So the decision was made to replace the 3rd one which was in the middle. Recently we had material blocking a mixer tap. This was the dip tube breaking down. So another call to McDonald O'Brien only to be told they don't have dip tubes. I knew they did. Wouldn't you know it, the boss came back to say they don't have 1 but 2. Again none on hand. So yesterday these two boys replaced them. Early evening, ran the hot water, no water. These idiots had not bled the tank of air so the boost had been ineffective. Why doesn't Solahart have agents that know the product & how to fix them. Crap service all round. When the tank blows up we will ditch solar hot water & go back to gas.
Terrible product and service
Constant issues with Solarhart system. Water only luke warm - not hot enough to bathe in winter if you have a cloudy or rainy day. Replaced every part as per reps diagnosis, valve, thermostat etc... Had enough of it going on for years. We were convinced to buy a new system as this was getting long in the tooth. New Solarhart system installed (unfortunately). Constant issues again. Thornleigh area Rep told us the last rep put a cheap chinese valve in and would replace it - water gushing out several times. A few months later our daughters walls...become mouldy and gyprock virtually melted (after a few heavy rains). Had to vacate that room. My husband found the tiles on the roof broken when system installed. Called our area solarhart rep again and asked that they remedy the roof and walls. He said it wasn't his problem, it was a rep that no longer contracts to them. So too bad!! Issues continued when unit put back up roof. Solarhart said it was the Ausgrid metre box as the issue, and wouldn't come out. Ausgrid came out several times and tested in front of me and said it's definitely the unit (Ausgrid Hornsby rep is amazing and helpful). Finally the solarhart rep came out...after i told my husband 'somehow get him here or else'!. He came out Yesterday...and said it was the shonky cheap chinese valve (we were told was already replaced)needed to be replaced with the proper valve that the new unit should have been installed with....and had to pay!! Now, to change the off peak 2 back (as it wasn't the problem) we have to pay AGL... We advise anyone not to go with Solarhart. They install cheap chinese (swapping out the proper valve we purchased as part of system), damage tiles on roof which cause water damage, refuse to come out and troubleshoot (but rather give you the run around that it is Ausgrid), and accept zero responsibility. I cringe everytime our hot water fails as it will be costly and timely. I accept it is all my fault though, for again chosing Solarhart. I didn't learn.
Great product failure of solarhart own repairer
This product is perfect for North Queensland conditions purchased in 2001. Serviced at 5 year intervals yes even sacrificial annode recently had a dripping overflow pipe so had service done and was told cold water relief valve should be replaced agreed to it to stop dripping. When I got home found it to be leaking worse. Contacted Solahart only to be told it's only the tank expanding and contracting. How is a lose of 144 litres on a 24 hour period be normal. I thought by dealing with Solarhart them self I would be safe. The rep told me it's fine. No it's getting worse. Not happy Solarhart.
Thermostat setting - 50 degrees is just not hot enough
The system is great, but beware the following pitfall.
Had a Solahart system installed 4 years ago. Water was too cold, apprently installer default setting to 50 degrees. Had to use hot tap only to get a shower, and it was not hot enough even then. Asked technician to come back and raise the temperature, which he did, but said it was against regulations. Huh???
Was great after that.
Had the tank replaced recently (following storm damage to the original tank). Again, the technician who installed it set it to 50 degrees. Water not hot en...
J series. Useless
Just had a J series solarhart installed. When the rep first called out I told him that our house faces 65 degrees true . That means our western roof faces 245 degrees which is west south west.He said it would be fine on the western roof which i questioned and asked would it need an elavation frame too face it North, He insisted it would work fine ..
On the day of installation the guys who came out too fit the system questioned the orientation of the solarhart too the extent that they rang the solarhart rep too check that that's where they ...
Saves power bills, but so does any cold shower.
We had our Solahart 302L system installed 4 months ago, and the 4 people in the house didn't have too many complaints. It wasn't until 2 months later when 6 of us were there that we realised we were essentially relying entirely on the overnight off-peak booster, as we all had hot morning showers, yet no-one was able to get a hot shower in the evening. The advice has been to increase our off-peak hours!! I could have bought an off-peak system for thousands less.
Other people tell me how great their solar hot water is. I have complained to the ...
We had to hound Solarhart Midland to get a new tank installed. This was eventually installed this Wednesday the 23rd March 2016. We have a double storey house. They came with no ladder as our house backs onto a heritage trail and we had the plumber from Solarhart visit us the week before. My Husband had a double ladder which they used. Anyway guess what they haven't connected the hot water. New tank no hot water. Bloody pathetic. We have to ring them after Easter and ask for them to come back to fix this. Not good enough. Never met a company so pathetic. I expect a discount due to poor service.
great after sales service
We have a 300L system for house of 3 and it works really well. We have had the system fir two years and have had a couple of call outs to sort out a dodgy thermostat.
The thermostat was replaced under warranty and the service was really good.
I have turned booster off and don't run out of hot water which is great - the system has saved us 4kwH per day on electricity.
I would recommend this system.
Happy so far
We had a 302 litre roof mount hot water system installed and have been happy with it to date. Little electricity costs are always a good thing.
Because of roof space, it had to be mounted on the western side of the roof, which I am led to believe is not optimum.
During winter we need to turn on the booster to ensure we have sufficient hot water. Got caught a couple of times and it wasn't a pleasant experience, tho the booster works quickly. During summer, here in Brisbane Qld, no booster is required, unless it's a number of days of wet weat...
Just got off the roof adding insulation to the tubing left exposed by the plumbers. The hot water line has been frozen every frosty morning. The insulation that was installed is already breaking down. Also there is no insulation on the circulation pipes so there is little hope of getting hot water anytime soon
Awful costs more in electricity now!
We replaced our roof and were unable to keep out 1980's system so decided to replace. Worst decision ever! Temps are so low that my 2 yo complains of cold showers yet only hot water tap turned on in winter. Have had the mixing valve replaced twice and still not very satisfied. They claim Government ruling but seriously get the valve thing right. We never used the power unless we had 2 overcast days before now we have to turn on power every night. So not happy.
OK the system works well, no electricity needed most of the time. With just the two of us the 300 litres is more than enough. Even heats on those less than sunny days.
My grouch is with the installation. When I signed up I specifically requested the system be mounted low on the roof above the old existing hot water system. This would prevent us having to wait long for the hot water to appear at the tap. Seems my request went by the board. We went on a short trip away and whilst away the system was installed at the very top of the roof. This en...
Shocker- zero rating in winter
We replaced our fantastic effective1979 SolarHart in 2013 with an L Series 150 L tank which is supposedly adequate for a large family,. The 2013 one is dreadful. Cold water in Winter. The district rep is not contactable and the plumber seems unable to rectify. Water temperature is inadequate 50degrees and we are reduced to one person having a shower each day. .
Sales person looked at our power bill and usage and determined we need 5KW system with 20 panels. He determine with use if figures that we would save 30-50% of our electricity. Being keen to save money, particularly as power keeps going up, it sounded good to us. However he did not point out that most households such as ours use majority of their electricity in morning and evening/night when the system is not producing any electricity.
We have since found that a much smaller and significantly cheaper system would have been more suitable a...s it would have generated enough electricity to cover power we use during day light ours. Now all we do is generate cheap power for the power company. Maybe the sales person gets a commission from them as well. Customer service! Once they got our money, they did not want to hear from us. We were advised that a couple of months after installation they would come back to check the system is functioning correctly. We contacted them about that and were told they would get back to us. We have recently received a letter advising us we need our system serviced at "the very low fee of only $145.00". The sales person never told us system needed servicing and there would be service fee. The fee is about the same as what we might save over a quarter or two. Had we known that at time of sales person visit, that would have made a big difference on our decision to go with the solar system. The sales person also looked at our roof as said it would be Ok. In actual fact we have large trees that shade the many of the solar panels for a few hours each morning. Again a smaller system with fewer panels would have been more suitable. We spent $8500.00 on the system, when on of the much cheaper system ($1500-$2500) would have been more suitable. We are never likely to get our money back at the rate we are going, and particularly as Solahart want a hefty service fee each year which greatly reduces what we would have saved.
Solahart 302L one of the best
I'd suggest that the problem may be external to the solar hot water system. Collectors don't lose heat from the storage tank, so replacing one would do nothing and the tank insulation is very good. I'd suggest getting a plumber to check for an internal leak in your hot water line. It may also be something simple like a leaking hot water valve. Otherwise, the system may be too small for your application.
Questions & Answers
how much is it to buy a heating booster element for a 300LJ system?
i assume they are about 3.6kW?
I have owned my solahart l series for 4 1/2 years and will require service shortly.
The question is what parts are included free in the $350 SERVICE cost. Eg cathode , tempering valve, filters any oyher valves
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