Everything You Wanted to Know About Solar Hot Water

Devil's Thumb Solar has the details on solar hot water:


There are two types of solar water heating systems: active and passive.

Direct circulation systems: Pumps circulate household water through the collectors and into the home.Pros: Automatic controllers installed on the system sense when sunlight is being collected. Cons: Best for areas where temperatures rarely fall below freezing. Only works for single application domestic use. Integral collector-storage passive systems: Made of a storage tank, solar collection tank, and the pipes that run between them, these systems require cold water to be pumped into the solar collector in batches.Pros: They work well in households with significant daytime and evening hot-water needs. Cons: Best in areas where temperatures rarely fall below freezing but overall can be less effective.
Indirect circulation systems: Pumps circulate a non-freezing, heat-transfer fluid through the collectors and a heat exchanger. This heats the water that then flows into the home.Pros: Still functions in freezing temperatures. Suitable for multiple solar heating applications like a solar swimming pool as well as domestic use. Cons: Can be more expensive than direct circulation systems. Thermosyphon systems: Water flows through the system when warm water rises as cooler water sinks. The collector must be installed below the storage tank so that warm water will rise into the tank.Pros: Reliable system. Cons: Contractors must pay careful attention to the roof design because of the heavy storage tank. Can be more expensive than integral collector-storage systems.

There's a lot more information at the link. Check it out and then give us a call for all your solar hot water needs.




Don't Wait for That Furnace or Boiler Check-up

We know the temperatures are still rockin’ the 90s but it’s time to start thinking about your heating needs this winter. Get a jump on it with a pre-winter inspection, checkup and cleaning of your Boiler or Furnace. A maintenance inspection will help you avoid unnecessary damage to your equipment.

Service manager, Stefan, offers some sound advice:

Before you start your equipment for the first time this cold weather season, it’s a good idea to have it cleaned. Dust and other debris can cause not only an unpleasant odor upon start-up, but can be a potential fire hazard. In addition, filters must be changed every winter on Furnaces to avoid blowing this unwanted matter into your duct system and then circulating it back into your living space.

For Boilers, it is just as important to clean the area around the burners to avoid fire hazards. And on both furnaces and boilers a complete check-up will make sure you’re not caught without heat the first cold morning of fall.

We suggest a boiler or furnace check-up today. Our preventative maintenance check-up will not only clean up your system, it will make it run as efficiently as possible and prevent premature repairs.

Call today for your appointment before turning on that equipment. For a limited time you’ll receive a free carbon monoxide detector with your check-up. Just another way we want to help keep your family safe.

Call us at 303-589-4428.



Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings In Action

lpc-logo1912_125 Longmont Power and Communications released its 2013 report to the community which included EnergySmart Program Results. The savings results are as follows:

  1. 1,195 residential customers received on site energy assessments
  2. 5,725 CFLs and 38 LEDs were installed at no cost to homes
  3. 357,500 kWh of electricity was saved by residential customers.
  4. 46 Longmont businesses received energy efficiency retrofits and saved 1060 natural gas therms and 564,700 kwh in electrical savings.

Each kWh of electricity save and each natural gas therm translated into actual $$ saved. These add up quickly. According to LPC, energy retrofit projects completed in 2010 reduced 2013 utility costs by $174, 000.  That is real results.

Energy efficiency creates jobs with the retrofits and offers costs savings with reduced energy usage. Win-win.

Call Aqua Care Solar today and see how we can help you become more energy efficient in 2014 and save money in 2014 and beyond.





The People's House Goes Solar

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 The White House is on the solar grid, President Barack Obama will announce today -- nearly four years after then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu pledged that solar panels and a solar water heater would be installed on the White House roof.

The American-made panels are on the First Family's residence as part of Obama's "commitment to lead by example to increase the use of clean energy in the U.S.," said Matt Lehrich, a spokesman at the White House.

The announcement comes as Obama appears later today at a Wal Mart near San Francisco where he'll tout a raft of administration initiatives aimed at boosting the use of alternative energy.

The push comes as Obama sounds the alerton climate change -- a message that resounds with his liberal base, but faces opposition from congressional Republicans and is unnerving Senate Democrats facing reelection in conservative-leaning states.

The panels on the residence are a part of an energy retrofit that will improve the overall energy efficiency of the building -- and "demonstrate that historic buildings can incorporate solar energy and energy efficiency upgrades," Lehrich said.

The upgrades are estimated to pay for themselves in energy savings over the next eight years (as long as the next president doesn't remove them. President Jimmy Carter installed 32 panels in 1979 when an Arab oil embargo spiked fuel prices, but President Ronald Reagan removed the panels in 1986 when the roof was resurfaced. George W. Bush had some installed on a maintenance building and on the president's cabana to heat water for the outdoor White House pool.)

The retrofit includes the installation of energy-saving equipment such as updated building controls and variable speed fans, as well as 6.3 kilowatts of solar generation, Lehrich said.

As any homeowner knows, renovations can take time: Chu -- who is no longer energy secretary - in October 2010 promised that panels would be going up on the White House.

"As we move toward a clean energy economy, the White House will lead by example," Chu said at the time. "It's been a long time since we've had them up there."

But by the next year, the Energy Department said the project was mired in the "competitive procurement process."

Indeed, a White House video promo-ing the panels features Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

"I am very bullish on the future of solar energy as a key part of our clean energy future," he says in the video.

The size of the array of panels used on the roof is about the same size as the average American house, White House usher James Doherty says in the video -- since there are security concerns, the entire roof could not be covered with panels.

At a Mountain View, Calif. Wal Mart (which has solar panels atop its roof) Obama will announced more than 300 private and public sector solar power and energy efficiency commitments the White House says will create jobs and cut carbon pollution.

And he'll announce a Department of Energy program to increase the use of high efficiency outdoor lighting, replacing more than 500,000 outdoor lighting poles in towns and cities, starting with Detroit, the Kansas City metro area, West Palm Beach, Little Rock and Huntington Beach.

He will also announce that the Department of Energy's Solar Instructor training program will support training programs at community colleges to 50,000 students enter the solar industry by 2020.

Obama also will announce an additional $2 billion goal in federal energy efficiency upgrades to federal buildings over the next 3 years.

Read more here:







Warm Weather is Just Around the Corner

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The trees are budding and the weather is warming. Summer cannot be far behind. Now is the time to get your summer systems in order.

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Now is also a great time to get your evaporative (swamp) cooler or air conditioning system checked out and serviced for the season. Make sure it's ready for that first hot day.



Or how about using your tax rebate to upgrade your energy systems. Efficient cooling, heating and hot water systems are a terrific investment that will save you thousands over several years. While the stock market has its ups and downs, gas, oil and electricity costs are guaranteed to go up, start saving on those costs now. Call Steve today to schedule your cooling system check up or energy system upgrade.

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Call Aqua Care Solar for your pool, spa, cooling and solar needs. Free Estimates on all upgrades




Boulder Businesses and Residents: Solar Grants and Rebates Available

1377793690_broadway-euclid-bus-stop Just announced, Boulder city business and residents can access grants and rebates from the City of Boulder. For more information, click here.


Solar Rebate

Boulder residents and businesses that have installed solar electric or solar thermal (hot water) systems on their property may be eligible for a sales and use tax rebate. The city may rebate approximately 15 percent of the city sales and use tax paid on materials and permits for the solar installation. To be eligible, taxpayers must file a rebate application within 12 months of the city's final inspection.

How do I apply?

To apply for the solar rebate, please complete the following forms:

  • Solar Rebate Form
  • Immigration Affidavit *
    • En Espanol *

Mail the completed forms, receipts from your project and a photocopy of your identification (required by the Immigration Affidavit) to:

City of Boulder Attn: Juliet Bonnell Solar Rebate Program PO Box 791, Boulder, CO 80306

If you have questions or need assistance to complete your application, contact Juliet Bonnel.

* An Immigration Affidavit must be completed and returned with all rebate applications.

Solar rebates are subject to funding availability.

Solar Grant

Funding generated by the solar rebate ordinance is also used to provide grants for the installation of solar electric and solar thermal (hot water) systems on:

  • the facilities of site-based nonprofit organizations;
  • low- or moderate-income housing owned by nonprofit organizations; or
  • individual residences that are part of the city's affordable housing program.

How do I apply?

  • Before you apply, please select the "Solar Grant Evaluation Criteria" link and read the information about eligibility requirements, terms, and criteria.
  • There are two versions of the Solar Grant application, one for nonprofits and one for homeowners - please make sure you use the appropriate version for your project.
  • Select either the "Homeowner Solar Grant Application" or "Nonprofit Solar Grant Application" links to download the PDF application forms.
  • All applications for the spring 2014 Solar Grant funding cycle are due by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30.
  • If you have questions, or need assistance to complete your application, contact Juliet Bonnell at or call 303-441-1931.

Grants are subject to funding availability.


Call Aqua Care Solar for all your solar needs.




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Last Call for Federal Energy Efficiency Tax Credits

Take advantage of tax credits for energy-efficient purchases before the end of the year. | Photo courtesy of ©


December is just around the corner, and so is the expiration for some of the Extended Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency. In fact, December 31, 2013, will be the last day you can use the following tax credit to make your home more energy efficient—and save yourself some hard-earned cash by reducing your monthly energy costs this winter.

With colder temperatures on the horizon, this deadline provides the perfect impetus for homeowners to upgrade their heating, insulation, doors, and windows. Or, why not invest in a biomass stove for safe-burning heat with lower fuel costs? The tax savings on these new products could be a great way to start the holiday season, readying you and your family for battling blistering cold and snow.

For the full list that applies to this expiring tax credit, read on. If you purchased certain energy-efficient products during 2012 or 2013, you could be eligible to receive a tax credit for 10% of the cost up to $500, or a specific amount from $50-$300 for the six following product categories.

  • Biomass stoves
  • HVAC systems
  • Insulation
  • Roofing (metal & asphalt)
  • Water heaters (non-solar)
  • Windows and doors.

The products above must be installed in an existing home or your principal residence on or before December 31, 2013. Fortunately, that’s not all. Despite the expiring tax credit above, consumers can still apply for the following tax credits for the next three years. The product categories listed below are eligible for a tax credit of 30% of the cost with no upper limit until December 31, 2016.

  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Small wind turbines (residential)
  • Solar energy systems.

This tax credit can be used on eligible products installed in new or existing homes, and a principal residence or second home would both qualify (but not rentals).

Finally, you may receive a tax credit for 30% of the cost, up to $500 per .5 KW of power, for residential fuel cell and microturbine systems through December 31, 2016. These can be used on new or existing homes, but only a principal residence. Second homes and rentals do not qualify.

To receive these tax credits, you will need to submit the 5695 form with your 2013 taxes. To learn more information about specific requirements for each product, as well as information on applying for these tax credits, visit ENERGY STAR®. And be sure to check out our Savings page for federal and state-specific tax credits and rebates.

Article by Erik Hyrkas,  Media Relations Specialist, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

It's not to late to think of upgrading to an energy efficient water heater, boiler, HVAC or solar thermal. Give our offices a call and book your free estimate today.


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Longmont Rebates and Low Interest Loans Available


Energy Smart has announced rebates and incentives available to Longmont residents.



EnergySmart and Elevations Credit Union are working together to offer Elevations Energy Loans to homes and businesses.  Energy Loans can help you achieve a more efficient, comfortable and affordable home.

Energy Loans can be used for a wide range of energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades including insulation, air sealing, heating, cooling, water heating, windows and solar PV.

Interest rates start as low as 2.75%. Loans can be paid in part or in full with zero prepayment penalty.  Energy Loans can be combined with rebates to fully fund your home upgrades.

This exciting financing is available to residents in all Boulder County communities for qualified energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in existing buildings.  Free EnergySmart Advisor Consultation (usually $50) is available for borrowers.  LEARN MORE 

Similar Energy Loans are available for businesses in Boulder County and residents and businesses in Denver

Give Aqua Care Solar a call for more information and to schedule your free estimate for heating or solar today!




Boulder Residents Please Take Note

Vote no on 310 to support Boulder's path to create a new clean energy model.  Voting no allows us to join the 29 other cities in Colorado that already run municipal electric utilities, including Longmont and Fort Collins. We're guaranteed to have cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable power or else we won't move forward!

More information at




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Flood Recovery

Flood 2013 Our offices are finally up and running after being flooded out during the Boulder Flood last month. While our techs were able to continue working, doing a lot of flood damage repairs for our clients, office services had to be put on hold until things dried out and were repainted.

It was an adventure.

So give us a call now that we've got the phones up and running again and we can get your boiler, furnace or solar system tuned up and ready for winter. We're also here to make sure your swamp cooler, air conditioner and swimming pool are winterized.


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Summer is Nearing End and Fall is Around the Corner


High Efficiency Boiler, poised to save a  lucky homeowner quite a bit of $$ this year

It's been a busy summer at Aqua Care Solar keeping large and small swimming pools in tip-top shape, keeping people cool, and most importantly saving business and homeowners money on their energy costs. Pictured above is one of the high efficiency boilers recently installed for a homeowner.

It's not too late to start saving money and preparing for the cooler weather. High efficiency boilers, on-demand hot water heaters, high-efficiency HVAC and solar thermal systems are just a few energy efficiency options we can install for you to lower your ever-rising energy costs.

And don't forget to checkout the available energy rebates at Energy Smart for Boulder County and other areas in Colorado.

Call us today for more information on how Aqua Care Solar can save you money on your energy costs while keeping you comfortable in every room.




2013 XCEL Rebates


XCEL Energy has announced its 2013 rebates for evaporative coolers and high efficiency air conditioners.  Aqua Care Solar is an XCEL approved contractor and we can assist you in finding the right cooling equipment and largest rebate.

There's still a chill in the air, but spring is just around the corner. It's not too soon to think about summer cooling. Last year Colorado saw record heat. To prepare for this summer, take advantage of lower product costs during the off season and available rebates.

Call us at 303-589-4428 to find out which cooling options are best for your home or business.

xcel energy logo

Here's what XCEL has to offer this spring:

Xcel Energy helps you keep cool, calm and collecting rebates as you beat the heat. New high-efficiency air conditioning units were designed to provide you optimal energy efficiency and as much as $1,000 cash back. Beat the heat and be relieved, feel relaxed and earn rewards.

The Evaporative Cooling Rebate program makes purchasing a high-efficiency evaporative cooler more affordable! You'll increase your home's energy efficiency and stay cool and comfortable all summer long. Purchase and install a qualified Evaporative Cooling unit from a participating retailer and receive a rebate of up to $600*. Purchase and install a Whole House system and receive up to $1,000.

That's the power of Saver's Switch®. One of Xcel Energy's coolest programs helps you manage AC use when it's boiling hot outside. Your furnace fan stays on. So you won't even notice the small device at work. But you'll see a $40 credit on your September or October electric bill each year you participate. Ready to sign up? Thought so.

If you're looking to upgrade your cooling system, don't delay, rebates go quickly and installation slots book fast. Call us today.




Is Your Solar Thermal Working Optimally?

solar-thermal_water_heating (2) From Steve Ruby, Owner of Aqua Care Solar. Steve has 30 years experience in Solar Thermal installation and service:

How to know when a Solar Heating System is working:

Since the goal is to heat something, have a look at the following:

  • If the system uses air to move heat, is hot air coming through or from the duct?
  • If the system uses water to move heat, is the tank or heated object hotter than the surrounding temperature? Solar storage tanks should be hot at the end of a clear day – assuming no large amount of heat has been withdrawn.
  • If you have a controller with a read out, it will tell you with a few pushes of a button. A blank display is a bad sign.
  • Small pumps - when running - are normally on the lower end of hot. A pump that is scalding hot - so hot that the paint is about to peel off - is not circulating and needs maintenance.
  • Check for heat flow. Pipe temperatures can be tested (or felt) to check for heat flow. Any pipe could be very hot so use caution when touching one. Antifreeze systems that loose pressure can and will become air locked. The pump(s) will run and seem to be working (hot and humming) but the tank will be cold. A pipe attached to a running air locked or stuck pump will be hot, so don’t be fooled. Feel a pipe up stream, or below, or some distance away from a pump that is running for accurate pipe temperature. The line could be air locked, or the pump could be stuck. No heat flow in a Drainback type system might indicate low water or a bad pump in the system.

Antifreeze systems need 20 lbs pressure or more to run correctly. Old gauges can become stuck and/or may not be trustworthy. If the pressure is low or never changes, the system needs attention.

Many Drainback type systems need water several times a year. To check water level, look for a sight glass or other indicator. Turn the system off and wait 5 minutes or more, for the fluid to drain back to the reservoir. Add water to the full line. If there is no full line or you are in over your head…

Call Aqua Care Solar for a complete solar thermal analysis to make sure your system is working at its best.




2013 Rebates Coming

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013 WALLPAPER xnys11 Happy New Year! Wanted to give you a quick heads up that there are LIMITED rebates available for businesses. We know there will also be residential rebates, but we don't have the details yet. Check back for updates. You can always call our offices to check on rebates.


Business rebates are offered by Energy Smart and available in the city of Boulder.

EnergySmart is pleased to announce that $250,000 in rebates will be available to businesses and commercial property owners for eligible projects completed between Jan 1 and Apr 15, 2013, or until funds are committed.

What's on your energy wish list for 2013?



Keeping Heating and Solar Systems at Optimal Performance


This is our busy time of year for boiler, furnace and solar system repairs. Our goal is to make sure anyone who needs heat or hot water has their system repaired the same day. In some cases, if parts are not available, we provide portable heating units until repairs can be completed.

But the best way to avoid costly repairs is to have an annual system maintenance checks. Now is the time to have your boiler, furnace and solar system fully checked, serviced as needed, to keep them in optimal condition and avoid emergency repairs on the coldest day of the year.

Give our offices a call today to set up a system maintenance check.


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Happy Thanksgiving from Everyone at Aqua Care Solar


Our offices will be closed on November 22 for Thanksgiving. We will be available for service calls on November 23 from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. Please call our offices and leave a message if you need service and someone will get right back to you. Thank you and have a wonderful holiday.




Fall and Winter Heating Preparations and Energy Savings

Fall is here and winter is not far behind. What can you do now to reduce your energy costs before the cold weather sets in? A good start is to have a complete furnace or boiler tune-up to get the most efficiency out of your equipment. Call Aqua Care Solar today for an appointment for a complete system check-up.

There are other steps you can do to lower your winter energy costs. has a complete list:


Photo of a window with the curtains open. Sun is shining into the room and snow-covered mountains are visible outside. Copyright Fochesato.

  • Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.


  • Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
  • Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing. Find out about other window treatments and coverings that can improve energy efficiency.


  • When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable.
  • When you are asleep or out of the house, turn your thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills. A programmable thermostatcan make it easy to set back your temperature. Find out how to operate your thermostat for maximum energy savings. Also see ENERGY STAR's June 5, 2008, podcast for video instructions on operating your programmable thermostat.



  • Schedule service for your heating system. Find out what maintenance is required to keep your heating system operating efficiently.
  • Furnaces: Replace your furnace filter once a month or as needed. Find out more about maintaining your furnace or boiler.
  • Wood- and Pellet-Burning Heaters: Clean the flue vent regularly and clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush periodically to ensure that your home is heated efficiently. Find other maintenance recommendations for wood- and pellet-burning appliances.


Photo of a fire in a brick fireplace. Copyright Malms.

  • Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
  • When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if provided) or open the nearest window slightly -- approximately 1 inch -- and close doors leading into the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50° and 55°F.
  • If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
  • If you do use the fireplace, install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room.
  • Check the seal on the fireplace flue damper and make it as snug as possible.
  • Purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.
  • Add caulking around the fireplace hearth. Find out more techniques to improve your fireplace or wood-burning appliance's efficiency. Learn tips for safe and efficient fireplace installation and wood burning.


Water heating can account for 14% to 25% of the energy consumed in your home.

  • Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding your hands. Find other strategies for energy-efficient water heating.


Taking these steps can help reduce your energy use and costs considerably, taking the bite out of even the coldest day. What will you do with all that extra cash you save? Why not consider investing in alternative energy to increase your savings even more? Natural gas and other fuels prices will continue to rise. When you invest in solar thermal, you lock your energy cost in. Call us today for a free estimate on a solar thermal system for your home.