Vacuum Tube Solar Geysers Frustration

Hi All.

Thought I would post this frustration here - It might help someone in their decision making and or might help me if anyone has better luck/advice or or a completely different experience.

See Photos Below (I have not yet contacted the supplier - its the weekend, so out of fairness I wont mention names).

We installed these Vacuum Tube Solar Geysers just over 2-years ago. To be honest - they are extremely efficient and work extremely well - even in very little sun heat. I often boasted that these geysers were in fact the best part of my solar system (not the PV).

I installed 2 x 250lt Vacuum Tube Solar Geysers in series (total of 500lt of hot water), that would supply my whole house. (cost installed was R30k) I worked out that my payback period would be about 4-years (If nothing broke - which is now the case). I installed them in series so that the one could feed the one that was being drained with hot water, and so that we could have plenty of hot water even for the next morning.
This worked well for almost 2-years (the one being drained also had a backup heating element for colder days).

what i Learnt was that they leaked from the get-go. Initially this wasn’t much of a problem, but the leaking got progressively worse, until the geysers leaked so much that in winter, they would not hold sufficient enough heat to have a shower in the morning (or even in the evening on colder days). All the heated water kept leaking out. This has also rusted my tin roof quite a bit too. They leaked in multiple places - specifically inlet and outlet joins.

Has any one had a similar frustration/experience - or are mine just duds?

In my opinion these are very cheaply Chinese made units - sold very expensively here in SA. do your homework carefully if you are considering these.

Please post bigger pics (or show me how to enlarge them…)

Not that this really helps the OP, but I really dont think we will see much of vacuum tubes in the future. Too complex, too expensive. With panel prices dropping and dropping heating water inefficiently might end up being cheaper.

Agreed! The outstanding feature of PV panels is how robust they are. (The only warning is not to walk on them!)
So you install them on your roof and you can wash them when they get dirty but aside from that they will work for years. What a pleasure!

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I seem to recall there was a bunch of solar geysers being built for installation on government housing that were of really poor quality, and I remember the company also sold some of these to the public. The picturs are a bit small, so I cannot tell, but this might well be such a case. Just really cheaply made.

I had an X-stream fibreglass tank on my roof at the previous place. I remember people telling me to watch out, they tend to crack and need replacement sometime after 5 years. Never had a problem with them. Cost wise, I would say that would have been a better option than the clearly poor quality I see in these pictures.

yip - I think I have been caught. I’ve resized the images - Hopefully you can all see them a bit better


Yes - that is my new strategy - I’m going to revert back to 2 x electric geysers and put them on timers to heat during the day (Fortunately I do have excess PV power).

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I currently heat up my 200L geyser using my PV system. Considered switching to a dedicated solar geyser, but I am not convinced that is the better route. So sticking with what I have.

Sorry for your issues, hopefully they are resolved soon.

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Well I can tell you when a friend of mine redid his solar system (went from SMA’s on Lead to 3 x Victron 15kw Quattro’s and 160kwh FreedomWon) he chucked out all of his solar thermal panels and replaced with more PV as it was more important to have more power than hot water on his limited roof space (35kw or so of PV)

Wow, So sorry to hear this story, and seeing those pictures, I cannot see how you can ever fix that. The damage looks to big. I did post on this forum my experience of the Full Geyserwise PV system. Its not EV but PV from geysewise. And owning a property and being involved in other properties we have had many geyser failures. Which made me avoid EV systems. Your pictures are devastating. It looks like a new buy to me. Even the PV I have I would in likely not buy again. I would go GAS, or maybe a combine PV / GAS. Anyway all the best. Hope you can get some insurance money or claim to fix that.

I will contact you. You might be able to use those tubes and Insert them in a manifold from ITS, add an controller and you are back in business. But I do agree, get a normal Geyser.

I have done it for a client before. He had one of those “The Sun Pays” units similar to yours and it ended up looking like yours.


Thank you all for your input - Yes my experience seems to be the experience of many others.
Thought I would share here to better inform the community and others when they have to make water heating solutions/decisions. I hope this helps someone out there.

PS - Many talk about “school fees” when going over to alternative energy. What I’ve learnt in my journey is that these schools fees are not entirely avoidable since each persons circumstances are different. (but school fees can be minimized with proper planning, homework, advice and humble and teachable spirit). Even so with paying school fees, I would still say that alternative energy route is well worth it.

From a philosophical viewpoint - in the past, society paid well trained engineers and tradesmen to build and manage systems for services like energy (electricity), sewerage and water. They built them, they managed them, and society never gave it a second thought - you just flicked a light switch and voila -there was light! But that’s changing Engineers and tradesmen are still designing/building/installing systems (that the part you pay for), but these days more and more society is having to manage these systems ourselves. I don’t think this is a bad thing - there is just so much knowledge that is more accessible out there and its just becoming more and more the norm - and I would say as we (society) become better informed/capable, systems are actually becoming cheaper to maintain and run (you’re not paying or relying on someone to do it for you).

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Thank you Jaco - When you have amoment, please do give me a call

@JacoDeJongh: I have a low pressure geyser - are the tubes OK with being inserted into a HighP manifold?

agree 100%
That is one of the reasons I wanted to do my DIY install myself, i do have a electrical background so have a bit of a advantage. If my lights go out I can only blame myself and I will know where to start fault finding.

This thread has confirmed in my mind about the type of geysers I will be installing in future.

If the tube can be removed/pulled out, please remove one and take a Pic. Only then I will be able to tell you.

I actually moved away from gas. The costs were just insane. I was going through a 48kg bottle of LPG every 5 weeks. As Jason did say, everyone’s circumstances are different, but my circumstances are a family who likes their hot water, and gas is NOT good for that. It is not cheaper than electricity, no matter what the salesman tells you.

I installed a heat pump. What a damn pleasure… :slight_smile:

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Not for while… geyser is still running fine with no leaks :wink: I am about to sell (I hope!) and then a heat pump or PV with normal geyser is on the agenda. No more gas or tubes etc.

Slogan on my T-shirt: I :heart: my heat pump


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