My Tryst with Plumbing

chakky's picture

I finally got myself a solar water heater. After more than a year plus of deciding it, building up the platform for it and getting the piping work specifically done for it.. its finally realized.

I chose the Racold 200 liter Glass Tube Solar Heater. It is my first exposure to going green using Solar. It does seem to work well much better than I actually expected.

Well when they brought it home and set it up , I assumed they would do complete the plumbing. However they asked me to call a plumber for it. Well I was a little surprised they would not do it. After trying a few times to get an appointment, I understood the busy plumbers were virtually impossible for me to get. Yes you heard me right, presently Kerala is changing slowly to a US Model of employment. Getting plumbers, electricians are more tough and its like fixing appointment and waiting for them to come and check when they are free. Its easier to get a software engineer, we virtually trip on them everyday!

Being a software engineer, I too have become too soft and lazy to do such physical labors. Yet I decided to try my hand at it. ( I have done small small plumbing works from time to time but nothing as elaborate as this!).

I started out well, drawing a sample diagram calculating the number of elbows, cpvc piping( hot water pipes), couplings, pvc pipes, reducers (1.5" to 0.75", 0.75" to 0.5" etc) and then their length. .....(I actually had to return everything back to the shop despite my meticulous planning, as I mistakenly measured the threads of the water tank to be 1" when actually they were just 0.75".)..... I also had to purchase the cpvc paste and the normal pvc pastes to glue the pipes and joints. Also teflon tape to water tight the threads where it needed to be screwed in.


Using the axo blade I did cut the pipes and funnily I never was able to get it right like the professional to be ninety degree cuts, they always did slope out a little and I had to use a "file" to grate the edges and make them proper flat!

The tough part was the cutting and placing them together to get everything setup without the glues and ensure the framework was right. After doing all this I was happy and thats when my dad ( an expert in all these things!) he pointed to the non return valve which I bought was a spring type instead of the horizontal type! Well technical jargon apart I was losing my head as the worst part of the setting up was the menial task of having to each time go down to get the things I did not take or buy :(.

Due to my lack of proper knowledge and inaccurate measurements, each time I missed something whether its a coupling or a reducer or else I needed a monkey player or more pipe, I had to climb down three flights of stairs and then search for the tools or go to the shop. This was more infuriating! Yeah yeah, a poor workman always blames his tools!

Anyway I had it finally setup the way the manual said it should be setup and am glad I did it. Its been a long time since I did anything that required my mechanical skills .

The hot water today when I bathed felt nice knowing its working correctly and the plumbing I did for it was correct. The water was extremely hot, I never realized the solar energy can warm it up that much!
IMG 0707: non return valveIMG 0707: non return valve

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