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Gulf Stream Solar Kits for a Small Family (1 to 2 people) - Click Here to Select Your Kit
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   Product Details
   Medium Family Solar Kits Top of Page

These Gulf Stream Solar Kits are complied based on two factors: the size of the family residing within the home and the degree of intensity in which sunlight reaches the home’s location (which are shown on the map below by zones). According to these figures, we've narrowed down the results to a few options available above.

   Solar Zone Chart Top of Page
Solar Zones USA Map

Medium Family (3 to 4 People)
Zone 3
For a household that contains one to two people and you live in solar zone #3 where the sun’s rays are concentrated. States like Florida, half of Texas, and New Mexico fall into zone #3.
Zone 2
For a household that contains one to two people and you live in solar zone #2 where the sun’s rays are accessible and frequent but not as intense. States like Alabama, Georgia, and North Caroline fall into zone #2.
Zone 1
For a household that contains one to two people and you live in solar zone #1 where the sun’s rays are absorbed but don’t make an intense impact during certain seasons. States like Oregon, Minnesota, and New York fall into zone #1.

   What's In The Kit? Top of Page
Included in Zone 1 Kit:
Control panel, circulating pump, (6kw) Gulf Stream back-up heater, 15 tube solar collector unit and frame.

Included in Zone 2 Kit:
Control panel, circulating pump, (6kw) Gulf Stream back-up heater, 20 tube solar collector unit and frame.

Included in Zone 3 Kit:
Control panel, circulating pump, (6kw) Gulf Stream back-up heater, 30 tube solar collector unit and frame.
   View the Components Top of Page

Each of the Gulf Stream kits include the following: the solar collector (a set of tubes that goes on top of your roof), a frame to hold the solar collector, a circulating pump to propel water throughout the system, a control panel, back up heater by Gulf Stream and necessary bolts/screws.

The Solar Collector

Solar Collector The solar collector is made up of several vacuum insulated glass tubes that absorb the sun’s rays. It contains a double tube design with intricate layers of borosilicate glass, aluminum, solar filament, and copper pipes. The unit works in such a way that the glass allows light in, connecting with the solar filament yet, the insulation prevents the heat/energy (just recently captured) from being released. Specifically, it absorbs at a rate of 93% but it has a heat loss of less than 6%. The glass tubes are sealed creating a smooth, nearly seamless casing. Borosilicate glass was selected not only due to its strength but also the ability to withstand warping (in either high or low temperatures).

The solar collector frame is made of sturdy anodized aluminum and specifically designed to match and hold the 15, 20 or 30 tube collector units (tube count will automatically be chosen for you when selecting a kit). Additionally, the adjustable frame can be mounted anywhere from a 23 degree angle to a 46 degree angle. Depending on your solar zone and which way the back of your home is situated, the angle of your solar collector may be an important factor in obtaining the optimal amount of light.

Circulating Pump

Circulating PumpThe circulating pump is the heart of the system. And just as the human heart, the circulating pump moves fluid to and from different aspects of the system. It is both highly efficient and consistent with its central function.

Control Panel

Control Panel If the circulating pump is the heart of the system then, the control panel is the brain . It regulates the temperature sensors and activates thecirculating pump to go on (or shut down). This small electrical unit can be mounted on the wall and used to control the system as the homeowner dictates.

Back-Up Heater by Gulf Stream

Gulf Stream Back-Up Heater A back-up heater makes sure you have hot water instantly. This 9kw back-up heater has the most accurate wattage to match the needs of a medium family. What is most unique about this particular back-up unit is that it is flow sensitive. In other words, if hot water from the solar collectors isn’t available (i.e. a dreary day), the back-up will heat only what you use not the entire tank. This flow sensing back-up heater is the latest development in solar technology, but most importantly one that saves you more money.

   Commonly Asked Questions Top of Page

Must copper tubing be used in the installation?
The pipe running through the top of the solar collector is copper. However you can use copper or CPVC for your pipe running to and from the tank, as CPVC can be joined to copper. There are many debates about which type is best. Copper pipe has been used for many years and has been the standard for clean plumping installations and durability. CPVC has a lower price and ease of installation advantage. Many people choose to install the solar panel on the roof and have a plumber run the pipe, if so discuss the options with them to get their opinion for your home.

What is needed for the installation?
As far as materials go - this may change depending on the placement of the equipment but here is a list of things you will need in most cases. You will need: pipe, insulation for the pipe, plumbing supplies for joining the pieces of pipe together, lag bolts for fastening the solar collector frame to the roof, caulking for the roof, a 4x4 for bracing, electrical wire, electrical supplies such as wire nuts, junction boxes and conduit.

Tools will also change depending on the amount of work you are going to do vs. having a professional. General tools such as electric screwdriver, pliers, wrench, wire strippers/cutters, saw, a speed square, caulking gun. Some other needs may be blowtorch, copper tube cutter, wire cutters and other hand tools.

Can I use my existing gas or electric water tank?
Yes, in cases where you do not have risk of freezing pipes you can just turn off your tank and use its thermal properties to hold your solar heated water. However, if you live in a region which regularly experiences temperatures below freezing, you will need to purchase a solar water heater tank. This tank, purchased separately, should use an anti-freeze (Glycol) filled system. This system runs the Glycol mix through a closed system that includes the pipe that goes to the roof and then the heated Glycol back down through the tank in a coil. The water in the tank that you utilize in your house never touches the Glycol, it is heated through heat transfer by the heated Glycol in the coil that runs through the tank.

What if the water coming into the household is too hot?
WDBDistributing.com offers an optional water mixer, which will mix cold water with hot water from the tank. If the water coming into the household is too hot, the optional water mixer will add cold water until it is the preset temperature. The mixing valve is an expansion valve - the hot water causes the valve to expand and let cold water in to mix. The amount of cold water allowed to mix is controlled by the heat of the incoming water. The hotter the water, the more the valve will expand and the more cold water that will be allowed to flow in.

How does the panel set up attach to the roof?
The panel connects to your roof easily using our bracket assembly, which is included in every kit.

What considerations need to be made for special roof tiles (clay tiles, stucco tiles, etc)?
You should consult a roofing company familiar with your style roof. Although we know it can be done and have had customers use it on these types of roofs in the past, there are so many variations of styles, materials and factors to consider that we must defer to the experts on your particular roof.

Once the panel is attached to the roofing, is it able to withstand hurricane force winds?
First of all, a solar panel is only as strong as the roof it is mounted on. When installing a solar system, we recommend that you assess the overall strength of the roof itself, especially on older homes. Our product is tested certified according to the most rigorous of standards with regard to mounting method, tube durability, weather resistance, performance and other safety considerations. The tubes are tested to stand up to quarter size hail and the round tubes make it less susceptible to updrafts. However in regards to hurricanes our system is the best choice for a completely different reason. In a matter of minutes the glass tubes can be removed from the roof and stored in a safe location. Also the frame is collapsible so it can lay flat against the roof. When you have a pending hurricane, instead of hoping for the best like with flat panels which act as sails, simply spend a few minutes of preparation and know that your solar tubes are safe and secure by removing them.

What are the different codes for roofing, plumbing, etc?
Roofing and plumbing codes will vary from state to state, and in different counties. Information concerning your local county codes can in most cases be found easily online.

Why not use flat panels?
Evacuated tubes collect more sun than flat panels. All sides of the tube act as a solar collector. As the sun moves through the sky the impact direction changes however with round tubes it is still collected. Flat panels lose potential collection when sun is hitting the solar arrays from an angle. Evacuated tubes are designed so that convection and heat loss do not occur, as opposed to Flat-plate solar panels which contain air gaps between the absorber and cover plate, which allows heat loss. Finally, evacuated tube systems are lightweight, easy to install, require minimal maintenance and can be replaced in components if damaged. Where as flat-plate systems are difficult to install and maintain, and if one part breaks or malfunctions, the entire system must be replaced. Also flat collectors act as a sail and put massive amount of pressure on your roof in the case of an updraft.

How is the panel shipped?
The whole system ships from our warehouse in sunny Odessa, Florida. We carefully palletize your system and ship it via freight truck to your home. The freight company will be contacting you to set up a delivery time window before coming to deliver. Be sure during checkout to provide a phone number that you can easily be reached on and also it is good to have a helper at home with you to help unload the pieces of the system from the pallet.

Is it possible to order replacement parts if one tube breaks?
Yes, and this is one of the biggest selling points of a vacuum tube solar system rather than a panel. Even if the smallest thing happens to a panel goes you have no option but full replacement. With a solar water system that uses tubes, it is easy to buy and replace any broken part. Simply go to WDBDistributing.com, select the part you need to replace, and in no time you can have your solar water system back to 100%. Plus in the mean time it will just be short a tube and will still be functioning - just without the full heating effect of all the tubes.

What is included in product warranty?
The solar system from Gulf Stream comes with a 10 year solar warranty / 1 year electrical warranty. The solar tubes are warranted for hail up to the size of a quarter. The solar tubes are also guaranteed to produce solar heat for the entirety of the 10 year warranty.

How durable are the tubes that make up the panel?
The solar collector tubes are very durable and have been proven to hold up extremely well against the elements. They are made of high endurance glass and are warranted to hold up under quarter size hail.

How much energy does the tank-less water heater use?
Tank-less water heaters provide hot water only as it is needed. The sun heats the water through the solar collectors and the hot water is stored in the tank which has extremely heavy insulation to retain the heat. Only when the water is flowing into the house does it enter the instant heater and only if the water flowing through the heater is at a lower temperature does the instant heater turn on. Even at that it is usually only raising it a few degrees instead of heating it from a cold state which does not use much energy at all.

When an instant water heater is in use on a home without a solar water heating system they generally use $2 of energy for every hour they are running. But that is heating water from cold and using full energy. Over 85% of the time it will not turn on at all because the water will already be hot enough. And the rest of the time it will be using about 15% of the energy needed to heat the water from cold to hot. So the tank-less water heater will cost about $.30 per hour of operation and operation would be less than 15% of the time you are using hot water.

How much does the installation itself cost?
There are many factors to consider. Our product is essentially do-it-yourself. Some of our customers choose to install and mount the solar panels themselves and do all of the plumbing too. In this case with all the materials needed the cost is usually about $350 if you are using your existing water tank. Others look for a local contractor to do parts of the install like the plumbing or the full installation of our product. The price will vary depending on the area you live in.

Is it possible to use glycol if the water is freezing?
Yes, it is. However, to do so you must have a solar storage tank. A water and glycol mixture circulates from the collectors through a coil of pipe in the solar tank, and then is pumped back through the collectors. (In most climates, a 50/50 propylene glycol and water mixture will keep collectors from freezing.) The potable water is warmed by heat transfer through contact with the pipe.

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