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Thread: CoC requirements for Solar Water Heating installations

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    CoC requirements for Solar Water Heating installations

    I would appreciate some advice on this. We are an Energy company which does solar water heating installations. The installations usually make ue of a "Geyserwise Max" solar controller to control the electrical heating of the geyser, using time windows. Installation entails interrupting the power supply wiring between the Isolator and the geyser element and connecting this into the controller, which controls when the element can switch on and off. Please advise whether this requires a CoC.

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    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    The COC extends to the terminals of the geyser. Whatever is installed between the CB in the DB and those terminals is part of the circuit and must comply with the standards applicable thereto and be certified by way of the COC that it has been installed in compliance with the installation standards too. Should an item be installed to an existing geyser circuit, that circuit has been altered and therefor needs to be inspected tested and re-certified. Untill such time that "installers" are qualified, accredited registered electricians, the companies using employees to install electrical appliances should have electrical contractors subcontracted to them to certify the installation of their products.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    There's more than one way to do this. If the controller interrupts the supply between the isolator and the geyser (dwg1) then certification would be necessary.

    If the controller is installed in such a way it becomes an integral part of the geyser itself then maybe no certification is required. (dwg2)
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    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    Quite correct, however, will the geyser manufacturers still honour their guarantee if every Dick, Tom & Harry start fitting "integral" circuitry to their geysers? Or will the consumer find out to his dismay that no-one bothered to find out or inform him that this would be a risk he would have to take, should that be the case? Also, the conductors need to be less than 1m in length to be excluded from the COC. As it is the norm for plumbers to fit geysers in such a way that the electrician cannot access the terminals without without experiencing extreme discomfort, the chances are that the controller would be situated more than 1m from the terminals of the geyser thereby requiring certification.

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    Guys

    My sincere thanks for the input on this. So often on forums one simply gets ill-informed opinions by anyone who fancies a guess at an answer. It is clear that you guys do know what you are talking about.

    We are sticklers for compliance issues, hence the question. We frequently come across non-compliant geyser installations (no isolators, isolator covers missing, single pole switches instead of isolators, 1.5 sq mm conductors, etc, plus all of the plumbing short-cuts in the book)- incidentally, we are neither plumbers nor electricians. It is easy to understand why a CoC would be required, as any one of the above faults plus others could be created by a sloppy or untrained installer introducing a controller.

    Could someone please elaborate on the implications of a conductor of less than 1m in length? All of our controllers are installed with a connection from isolator to controller as well as from controller to element of less than 1m.

    Finally, in instances where CoC's are required, what would an electrician typically charge to come out, inspect / check and issue a CoC for this?

    Thanks

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    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    If you were to have an ELO and Hob installed more than 1m apart the cables between the two would need to be compliant. Should you have an under counter oven with a hob directly above it the cables would be less than 1m long and as such not be part of the COC. This applies to all fixed appliances, I have just used the oven as a clear example.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    As sparks pointed out some geysers are not easy to access whereas others may not be a problem at all.
    As it is the norm for plumbers to fit geysers in such a way that the electrician cannot access the terminals without without experiencing extreme discomfort
    I would personally design the controller to be installed in either configuration as per the schematics I gave above. Maybe supply just a controller and supply separately two installation kits for it, that way you're more likely to cover all bases.

    On the installations where layout necessitates a layout where COC is required then obviously you'll need to subcontract an IE to issue one. If the installation can be performed as per the second schematic then a COC wouldn't be required and it would be a bonus.

    As far as COC costs go I would approach two or three local registered electricians and put together a proposal where maybe they give you a preferential rate according to volume of sales or according to an exclusivity agreement where you would guarantee to only use them for your work. There would probably be 'spin-off' work as well for the electrician because, as you've already stated, many geysers are the victims of sub-standard installation practices and would require remedial work such as earthing straps and isolators/spreg to be installed.
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    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    As for the costs of certification, this would depend on where you are and the size of the contractor you get to do it. The bigger the company the higher the cost, they do not want quickies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonic View Post
    So often on forums one simply gets ill-informed opinions by anyone who fancies a guess at an answer. It is clear that you guys do know what you are talking about.
    I suspect getting an answer on this one here will prove tricky.
    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonic View Post
    Finally, in instances where CoC's are required, what would an electrician typically charge to come out, inspect / check and issue a CoC for this?
    Realistically prices offered for something like this are likely to be all over the place (perhaps as they should be).

    In broad terms I suggest find a reliable contractor that services your area and negotiate a rate for fairly regular work. You might want to canvass a few contractors, but for goodness sake (as with most things) be wary of the cheapest price.

    In a clean installation already covered under an existing, valid CoC and where your installation is simply an addition, you're probably looking at a cost equivalent to a first hour charge. In situations that are less ideal... getting that CoC could get messy.

    Building a relationship with a reliable electrician means he/she gets to know the typical scenario and between you you'll likely find a system and rates that handles the potential pitfalls fairly and with some level of predictability.
    Last edited by Dave A; 10-Aug-10 at 09:33 PM.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Ive just done the course with the ECA and they say if you touch anything on the installation you need to issue a COC that means if you do a repair and change a light switch you need to issue a COC

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