Table of contents for the past six years

With the New Year 2015 underway, it is customary to look back, take stock and make resolutions for improvement. As I reflect upon this column, I realize that over six years' worth of monthly episodes have been published without the benefit of any real Index or Table of Contents. These articles represent a comprehensive reference library on the subject of solar and hydronic combisystems and their rapid and successful deployment. The information contained in them is taken largely from the experience gathered from many successful solar/hydronic combisystem installations.

These articles tend to focus on design methods, principles and best practices using a standardized and modular configuration. This kind of information tends to have a very long shelf life (it practically never goes bad). And in practice, these strategies have proven themselves to be reliable and effective over several decades.

So, I would like to encourage any reader who is interested in solar/renewable energy and hydronic combisystems to examine the back issues of this column. To make this a little easier, a Table of Contents is presented below, covering the past six years. These episodes have been published in both Plumbing Engineer and Phc News, and generally have identical contents, but with different page sizes and formatting.

Thanks to website archives, these articles are available online through both the Plumbing Engineer and Phc News web pages. The SolarLogic LLC web pages have links to most of these archives as well. Also, copies can be requested from SolarLogic LLC that include higher resolution graphics to clarify the smaller details. Web addresses and contact information is available at the end of this column.

Table of Contents, "Solar Solutions" 2009 – 2014


• Jan. #7: Cooling with Flat-Plate Solar Panels

• Feb. #8: Solar Heat Control with Two-Stage Thermostats

• Mar. #9: The Primary Check-Loop Flow Center

• April #10: Collector Efficiency and the SRCC

• May #11: Solar Hot Water Systems and the SRCC

• June #12: Solar Overheat Protection

• July #13: Then and Now: Ten Years of Solar Hydronics

• Sept. #14: Basic Solar Combi Control

• Oct. #15: Thermal Mass for Space Heating – Water vs. Concrete

• Nov. #16: Overheat Dissipation: Case Study

• Dec. #17: Solar Pump Modules 2010

Jan. #18: Solar Water Heat Comparisons using OG-300

• Feb. #19: Warm-Floor Solar Heating for Concrete Pools

• Mar. #20: Beyond Solar Combi 101

• April #21: Solar Thermal Collector Tilt

• May #22: Solar Combisystem - Case Study in Los Alamos, N.M.

• June #23: Solar Heating Design - Computer Software

• July #24: Flat Plate Collectors – Heating versus Cooling by Climate

• Aug. #25: Solar Economics – Look at Cash Flow not Payback

• Sept. #26: Instant Hot Water Recirculation – Innocuous Energy Thief

•Oct. #27: Solar Collector Placement – The Art of Concealment

•Nov. #28: Using Two-Stage Thermostats for Direct Solar Floor Heat

•Dec. #29: The Solar Combisystem Heat Exchanger 2011

• Jan. #30: Stranded Heat Recovery using Software Controls

• Feb. #31: Alternative Backup Heat Sources

• Mar. #32: Case Study – A Solar Combisystem Home Retrofit

• April #33: Case Study – Overheat-Cooling with Thermosyphon Loop

• May #34: Solar Combi Connections with Hydraulic Separators

• June #35: Case Study – NNMC Refurbishment

• July #36: Solar Hot Water Analysis with SAM (System Advisor Model)

• Aug. #37: Propylene Glycol: Solar Heat Transfer Fluid

• Sept. #38: Solar DHW: In-Tank Heat-Exchangers

• Oct. #39: Photovoltaic Solar Circulator Pumps

• Nov. #40: The Solar Combi 101-Mini: For the Cabin or Guest House.

• Dec. #41: Freeze Danger from Thermosyphon Reverse Flow 2012

• Jan. #42: Example Project: Combi 101 Retrofit in Canoncito, NM.

• Feb. #43: Flagship Solar Combisystem Controller: SLIC

• Mar. #44: Retrofit Example – Overheat-Cooling Thermosyphon Loop

• April #45: Diminishing Return from Multiple Collectors

• May #46: Making Sense of Thermistor Sensors

• June #47: Piping the Solar Collectors with Flexible Tubing

• July #48: Six Things You Should Know about NSRC Cooling

• Aug. #49: Case Study: Solar Combi 101 – Summer Data Snapshot

• Sept. #50: Case Study: Solar Combi with ‘Radiant’ Swimming Pool

• Oct. #51: Best Ideas from the Past 50 Episodes

• Nov. #52: Glycol versus Drainback - A Comparison

• Dec. #53: Award-Winning Solar Combisystem in Los Alamos 2013

• Jan. #54: The Cost of DHW Recirculation

• Feb. #55: Solar Heat Storage Tanks: The 2P3T Piping Configuration

• Mar. #56: Energy Measurement – The "Primary Loop" Advantage

• April #57: Case Study – Birth of a Solar Home

• May #58: Expansion Tanks in Combisystems

• June #59: SLASH-D Software for Solar Heating Design

• July #60: Temperature versus Energy Output

• Aug. #61: Case Study - Waste Heat Recovery

• Sept. #62: Case Study - Primary Loop "Temperature Order"

• Oct. #63: Getting the Air Out

• Nov. #64: LEED Ratings and Solar Heating Systems

• Dec. #65: Startup and Commissioning


• Jan. #66: Case Study: Solar-Only Mode

• Feb. #67: Re-Thinking Heat Storage in Water Tanks

• Mar. #68: Case Study: Ground-Source Heat Pump in Alaska

• April #69: Case Study: New Fish-Farm Combisystem in Colorado

• May #70: Case Study: Los Alamos Eco Station – Energy Data 2013

• June #71: The “New Standard” Solar/Hydronic Combisystem

• July #72: Closed-Loop Solar Glycol: The Art of Fill & Purge.

• Aug. #73: Case Study: Combisystem for a Caribbean Island Hotel

• Sept. #74: The Small "District Heating" Combisystem

• Oct. #75: Solar Heat Collectors: Area versus Aperture

• Nov. #76: Metal, Plastic and Temperature Limits

• Dec. #77: Top 10 Reasons for Choosing Solar Heat

Contact information

The archives at: and The archives on the SolarLogic LLC website are at: To request higher resolution copies of past articles contact Claudia Pavel at:

Bristol Stickney has been designing, manufacturing, repairing and installing solar hydronic heating systems for more than 30 years. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and is a licensed Mechanical Contractor in New Mexico. He is the Chief Technical Officer for SolarLogic LLC in Santa Fe, N.M., where he is involved in development of solar heating control systems and design tools for solar heating professionals. For more information, visit

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