Consumer FAQ

Do you offer financing for purchasing RA 240 SOLAR MAX technology?

No, we do not. Banks and other financial agencies will fund the purchase of solar heating units. Many states and provinces also offer solar rebate programs.

How much space can it heat?

Our system is designed to heat about 8,000 Cubic feet of daytime living space with the square and 4 inch round through the wall duct provided with the installation kit. Please see the Installation manual.

I understand that heat output really is as variable as the weather, but will I actually find that it warms my house?

Yes, the solar panel will warm your house, basically whenever you can see your shadow. On any day when the panel is not producing much heat, your existing heating system will provide the heat.

Does it work year round or mostly just during the spring/fall?

Our solar panel will work any time of the year as long as the sun is shining on it. The temperature output is greater during the winter months than during the shoulder seasons. In winter we are 15 million miles closer to the sun, the angle of incidence is better, and snow and light reflecting off snow is a factor.

When it's not working, can I lose heat back out the system?

No. There are a series of check valves in the circuit which prevent back flow.

Have you had any problems with them, and are people generally satisfied with them?

Yes, we have a high satisfaction rate from our product. Please see the Testimonial section of our website to see what some are saying about our panels.

Do you cover these units in the summer in hot environments?

No, you do not cover these units in hot environments. The unit is equipped with a thermostat, which gives you the option of turning the blower on or off. You can turn the blower off in hot environments or in the summer so that the panel will not produce heat. We have these panels as far South as the Mojave Desert and lens distortion due to expansion will occur, but no damage will occur to the panel and no excess heat will enter your home. These panels can be used to heat water, so in areas of high summer heat, it may be possible to concert the unit for domestic water heating purposes using such equipment as the dash heater out of a car. During the summer, there is a lower angle of incidence. Therefore, there is less heat.

Can your solar be modified to heat water through a large cooling radiator so i can use it to heat water for my radiant heat floor?

Yes. Whenever you change from one medium to another, you can assume at least a 1/3 loss in performance. The best method would be to put the panel on your home and let it heat the air in your daytime living space directly. While the unit is running, it is very effective at destratifying, filtering and heating about 8,000 Cubic feet of open daytime living space.

You are correct in assuming it can be set up in an air over water configuration, but consider the extra expense of designing and integrating such a system.

Will this work in our latitude with winter sun?

Yes.

Will we suffer huge inefficiency if not mounted at latitude + 10 degrees? (45 degrees in Michigan)

There is less than 5% loss between the optimal angle and the vertical.

Is air temp brought into building controllable? Thermostat controlling fan.

Yes.

As a supplemental heat source what is the expected savings percentage when using Cansolair panels?

Approximately 10-15%; some are claiming better.

What is the BTU rating on panels?

 

Approximately 10,000 BTUs.

Is there also sunlight resistant covering material for exposed ductwork?

We do not leave ductwork exposed; it is entirely housed within the box.

What does that knob on the blower actually do?

This knob is a thermostatic control in that when you reach desired room temperature, you turn it counter clockwise slowly until you hear the blower cut out. Turn it clockwise slowly to a point just before cutting the unit back in. That's the point where the unit will automatically cut in from then on.

I would like your honest opinion about my using your Solar Max here in Victoria, BC.

As little as 15-20 minutes of blower time per hour will maintain a comfortable room temperature in approximately 8000 cubic feet of daytime living space, so even intermittent cloudy days can be productive. Basically, if you can see your shadow, you could be getting free solar heat and not wasting your money or polluting the air unnecessarily. Any amount of heat provided by these units is that much heat that you do not have to pay for, once you have recovered the system cost. Some parts of the world are obviously far better suited to harness solar energy but they will work practically everywhere on the planet, even near the poles. They are perhaps the most powerful for their size and flow rate available and therefore the most cost-effective of any solar system available.

How much is your basic unit and how much would it usually cost it install?

The suggested retail price is available in the CanSolAir Online Store. We have found that installations costs are about $500. This varies depending on local labour rates.  We sell to a growing dealer network, in which case the price and installation cost varies. Please see the Dealers section of our website to locate a dealer near you. If there is no dealer within a reasonable distance or you are unsuccessful in reaching one, we do sell factory direct. Please contact us for details.

Would you be interested in selling in the UK?

Yes, we are interested in selling globally.

Would you be interested in releasing plans for maybe a simpler unit that people in the UK can DIY and recycle their old aluminum drink cans?

In the early 90's we did offer a DIY book and offer a DIY kit, but people still couldn't conduct the necessary modifications and found construction rather difficult; we have since stopped producing a DIY kit.

Is there any reason why the hot air from Cansolair unit could not be used to heat my crawlspace? There would be a water storage system in the space to store the heat and release the heat slowly.

It would be best and most cost-effective to use our air-heating panels in the direct air-space heating mode. When you heat water with an air-heating panel, there is approximately a 1/3 loss in efficiency with each transfer from air to water and then back to air again.

So you can see where your collector size has to be 3 or 4 times larger when a thermal mass with storage capacity is brought into play.

When storing excess heat to water, we recommend the use of an exchanger.

Our new NU Aqua series of advanced air over water hydronic storage and heating systems which will be made available to our dealer network as soon as possible. This will be a retrofit option to our existing air heating panels, should you decide to convert to hydronic entirely at some time in the future.

Do you sell or license the plans?

We have decided not to sell the how to book as we were advised not to reveal too much of the technical reasons that make this the most powerful for its size and flow rate in the world.

What is your power consumption?

Power consumption for our AC version is .5 amps, 31 Watts but only when delivering 12-2400 Watts of heat energy.

Do you offer any off-grid options?

Yes, we have a DC option that is totally autonomous or self-contained, which includes everything complete for installation such as 2 20 Watt PV panels, 1 7.5 Ah gel-cell battery, charge controller, DC motor and relay. Inside, they look exactly the same. Outside is the same except you will have the 2 PV panels installed nearby.

 

What is the flow rate (liters per second)?

47 liters per second - 100 cubic feet per minute.

What controls are used in this system?

The unit is equipped with a thermostat, which gives you the option of turning the blower turned on or off. You can turn the blower off in hot environments or in the summer so that the panel will not produce heat. We have these panels as far South as the Mojave Desert and lens distortion due to expansion will occur, but no damage will occur to the panel and no excess heat will enter your home. These panels can be used to heat water using the CanSolAir NU Aqua systems, so in areas of high summer heat, it may be possible to concert the unit for domestic water heating purposes using such equipment as the dash heater out of a car. During the summer, there is a lower angle of incidence. Therefore, there is less heat.

What is the size of the air duct?

Our system is designed to heat about 8,000 Cubic feet of daytime living space with the 6" square and 4" round through the wall duct provided with the installation kit. Please see the Installation manual located in our Dealers section. The cold air enters the bottom of the panel through the 6" square hole located just above your baseboard and the heated air leaves the top of the panel through the 4" round hole located near your ceiling. If the wall is greater than 10 inches, longer rods may be required.

What is the size of fan?

Our Model RA 240 SOLAR MAX air-heating panel uses a direct drive fan with 31 Watts, .5 amps, 115 volts. Except in some cases, we offer a DC 12 volt model and for Europe and overseas, we offer a 220 volt model. The dimensions of the panel are 44" width x 88 1/2" long and 8 1/2" thick, weighing 80 pounds. The blower casing measures 10" wide x 12" high, 4" thick, weighing 15 lbs.

How loud is the fan?

Not as loud as a microwave.

If more than one is required, do you gang them together or use them independently?

 

If more than one panel is required, you can manifold panels together to create a very powerful system for commercial buildings. If more than one panel is required for residential buildings, you can use them independently.

Can the RA Solar Max systems be hooked into the existing HVAC system?

Yes, we have had the system integrated mechanically to existing HVAC systems; however, you will find that if you install it according to the Installation Manual, it is in effect integrated.

At 100 cfm, there is plenty of destratification and air filtration going on and your whole daytime living space becomes your duct work.

In other words, there is no appreciable temperature difference anywhere within that space (approximately 8,000 cubic feet).

The heat recovery ventilation systems are plumed out all wrong for space heating and complicate what is basically a very simple install (approximately 2 1/2 hours).

Mechanical integration may also void the warranty or cause damage to one unit or the other. To avoid over-complicating the system, the incoming and outgoing vents should be located on the same floor and for safety code reasons.

I'd like to know how you connect it to your home.

Our system is designed to heat about 8,000 Cubic feet of daytime living space with the 6" square and 4" round through the wall duct provided with the installation kit. Please see the Installation manual located in our Dealers section for more detail. The cold air enters the bottom of the panel through the 6" square hole located just above your baseboard and the heated air leaves the top of the panel through the 4" round hole located near your ceiling. If the wall is greater than 10 inches, longer rods may be required.

I am interested in learning more about building and installing such a panel in our communities drying hose (used for drying herbs).

Our panels are good for crop or process drying and have an ambient temperature rise of 50-100 degrees F at 100 cubic feet per minute when used for space heating.

When used for process or crop drying, you would simply manifold several panels together in a smaller room and provide some ventilation so moisture and excess heat can escape. Our panels are designed and built to overcome thermal expansion and condensation issues which are difficult to address with a home-built solution. There is a 25% REDI rebate available, for which our panel is compliant, for commercial and institutional projects. Please visit the REDI website.

How do you prevent the overheating of your panel during the hot summer month?

The unit is equipped with a thermostat, which gives you the option of turning the blower turned on or off. You can turn the blower off in hot environments or in the summer so that the panel will not produce heat.

We have these panels as far South as the Mojave Desert and lens distortion due to expansion will occur, but no damage will occur to the panel and no excess heat will enter your home. These panels can be used to heat water, so in areas of high summer heat, it may be possible to concert the unit for domestic water heating purposes using such equipment as the dash heater out of a car. During the summer, there is a lower angle of incidence. Therefore, there is less heat.

Could you send me information or a form to fill for the 25% government grant?

Below, please find some links which I hope will be helpful to you:

What I am actually needing are dimensions (width x length)

Our panel measures 88 1/2" tall x 44" wide, and can be vertically or horizontally mounted as shown in our Gallery section. The panel is mounted on your house with 4 mounting brackets.

Does the thermostat allow the setting of desired interior temperatures?

Yes, the thermostat allows you to control the inside temperature. It automatically cuts out at the set point once this is reached. It is adjustable like an adjustable base board heater.

Is this unit adequate for a 2000 square feet home? or would you require more than one for that size?

Our system is designed to heat about 8,000 Cubic feet of daytime living space with the 6" square and 4" round through the wall duct provided with the installation kit.

How is the heat controlled? Once I reach a desired temp, is there a thermostat that shuts off the unit?

Yes, there is a thermostat that shuts off the unit, which is how the heat is controlled. You can adjust the inside temperature to a setting which is comfortable for you.

Can it be installed by me or must you install it?

Yes, it can be installed by you, but if this is a self installation a 1-year warranty will be given.

However, if you or a contractor works with us through digital pictures and phone, we will give the full 5-year warranty if done properly. Please have the installer contact us.

We recommend you find a local dealer and have us set them up. Please feel free to recommend one. Please contact us directly if you are unable to find a suitable dealer from our listing.

How do we become a Retail Distributor of yours?

We ask that you first complete and return our dealership qualification questionnaire. Once approved, we will send your temporary dealer agreement, which must be completed, signed and faxed to (709) 582-3788. Once these documents are on file, we will customize and send your hard copies of your dealer agreement.

What is the minimum order?

We expect new dealers to purchase 1 unit within the first month of sign-on for demonstration, installation and training purposes. The expected annual sales volume for dealers is 5 per year.

My house is heated by a boiler, so I have not air ducts in my home. Will this cause a problem as far as installing a solar panel on the roof and getting the heated air into the house?

No, this will not cause any problems. We recommend wall-mounts but roof-mounts are possible. We do not recommend roof-mounts unless they are absolutely necessary. However, more work is required for roof-mounts for the fact that you have to protect the panel from the wind with an enclosure at the back and sides. The enclosure also kicks the angle of the panel up to latitude +15 degrees to provide optimal angle. Roof-mounts are unnecessary if you have a South-East, South-West or South facing wall free of shadow for 6-8 hours.

Please see the Installation Manual. The panel measures 88 1/2" tall x 44" wide, and can be vertically or horizontally mounted. If you have this free space, you can install the panel on your wall.

You can check the solar rating for your area

What is the power source for the Cansolair product?

The blower used to operate our solar panel is operated by electricity. You plug the blower into the nearest outlet. The unit only draws 31 Watts when delivering upwards of 2900 Watts of FREE heat.

Are there any self-contained units available (with a PV-operated fan)?

Yes, we can supply a totally off-grid DC option which includes PV panels, voltage regulators, batteries, inverters, etc. However, dealer cost is an additional $500.00 over regular price. If you are concerned about power outages, you could purchase a low-cost battery and inverter package for emergency situations.

Can the unit be mounted on a second floor and have the cold air return and the units output on the first floor?

Please view our Gallery section for examples of installations, some of which are installed on the second floor. An adapter box may be necessary for the fan which could be mounted in a downstairs hall with the adapter and 5" insulated flex pipe hidden in a closet attached to your South-facing wall.

The inlet pipe and check valve need not be piped to the downstairs as long as you have an open stairwell. The heat, which comes in and rises, will be drawn down toward the floor as the colder, heavier air is being removed at 100 cfm.

The panel itself could be mounted to split the two floors. If you could send a picture of your house taken at 12 noon, full frame on a sunny day, it would tell us a great deal and we could make further suggestions as to mounting options.

I'd like to get additional info on your product. What is included?

The unit comes complete and ready to install.

What is the average temperature in Celsius that can be maintained on a normal day under normal conditions?

The unit can maintain an 18-22 degree Celsius temperature in an 8,000 cubic foot or 1,000 square foot home.

How long will the panel last?

The lens is rated for 15 years and the blower motor at continuous duty is rated for 11.5 years (in the panel, at intermittent duty, expected service life may be many years more than that). The powder-coated galvalume, stainless steel, and aluminum should last for generations. The absorber coating is rated for 35 years exposed to the elements; in this case, protected by a UV stabilized lens, it too should last for generations.

Why would I want to choose the model of solar panel that you make over other models available?

Our panel is perhaps the most powerful available for its size and flow rate available. The aesthetics and durability may also be deciding factors.

Our units come complete and ready to install and installation typically takes 3-5 hours for 2 people. This work can be done by anyone handy with simple power tools. If there are any questions not answered in this reply or the attached frequently asked questions file, please feel free to contact us again. The president and inventor will be happy to discuss any questions with you.

END FAQ

   
"The problem is no longer that with every pair of hands that comes into the world there comes a hungry stomach. Rather it is that, attached to those hands are sharp elbows." - Paul A. Samuelson, Newsweek, 12 June 1967
   

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