Prefabricated solar cylinders – what installers need to know

Jon Cockburn, Head of Marketing at Heatrae Sadia, explains more about prefabricated solar cylinders, and discusses how much time they can save on site.
Megaflo Eco cylinderIn the commercial heating world, prefabricated ‘plug and play’ solutions – where complete heating packages are manufactured and assembled in a factory and arrive at a site ready to be installed – have been around for some time. And, with proven benefits, we’ve recently seen the concept making its way into the domestic arena.
Prefabricated products offer several important benefits – the main one being that they greatly reduce installation time. Purchasing and installing a complete package that’s been pre-prepared in a factory takes much less time than ordering separate components and fitting them together on site. So, for those working to tight project timescales or within restricted windows of opportunity, or wanting to increase their business efficiency and productivity or reduce labour costs, prefabricated products can be particularly appealing.
Prefabrication can also improve both the quality and efficiency of an installation – essentially guaranteeing component compatibility and a product’s integrity and performance, and hence taking the element of risk out of heating system design. As the product is prepared by the manufacturer under quality-assured conditions, the result should be a high-quality, engineered product, with each element of the system being correctly fitted and checked before leaving the factory.
Unique to the UK, with Megaflo Eco SolaReady all the components required for a solar thermal cylinder installation have been neatly incorporated into one unit. Once the unit is in place and the expansion vessels are attached, the installer just needs to connect the solar flow and return to the unit, and then connect one sensor to the collectors. The installation is then complete and ready for simple commissioning. This reduces the installation time by more than a half.
Furthermore, with Megaflo Eco SolaReady all cylinder connections are made in our quality-controlled factory environment, so we can ensure that each unit is identical, and that the pre-insulated solar pipework is neat and fully supported. This allows for a trouble-free, consistent, aesthetically pleasing installation every time. We also believe that in some installations Megaflo Eco SolaReady can also help to save wall space – which is really important for some homeowners.
Though prefabricated solutions offer many advantages, some issues need to be addressed before an installer decides if it’s the right avenue for the project in mind. Access is the primary consideration, with site surveys and careful planning being required. The installer must ask themselves a few essential questions. For example, how will the unit be transported? Will the unit fit through the doorway/opening and can it be easily manoeuvred? All prefabricated heating solutions are designed to fit through a standard doorway, but problems might arise if the door is smaller or it’s in an awkward position.
We have designed Megaflo Eco SolaReady to fit into a typical airing cupboard and have fitted the components into the smallest possible footprint, but the measurements and accessibility should always be checked before anything is confirmed with the customer.
We’d estimate that Megaflo Eco SolaReady can typically reduce installation time by 50 per cent – improving productivity, reducing costs and keeping building or refurbishment schemes on schedule. Meanwhile performance and efficiency are safeguarded, and a neat, aesthetically pleasing installation is guaranteed.
Megaflo Eco SolaReady is available with on-roof, in-roof and A-frame flat plate collectors and evacuated tubes.
For further information, visit www.heatraesadia.com or call 01603 420 220.