FAQs

1. Does the system have NZ made parts in it?
Yes. Mirak makes marine grade collector frames and copper manifolds in Christchurch. These are contract manufactured to our own design. We import a number of components that are used in the assembly of the systems. Components we import include vacuum tubes and reflector material. The vacuum tubes are manufactured in China and assembled in New Zealand. The reflector material is manufactured in Germany, then cut and shaped to our design in New Zealand.
 
2. Do I need a new hot water cylinder?
The system can be fitted to an existing cylinder. However Mirak recommend installing a new cylinder, designed for a solar hot  water system, which will allow the system to run with a higher overall efficiency.
 
3. How much does it cost to run the Solar Water Heating System?
Almost nothing. The pump is rated between 20W and 50W, requiring about the same amount of power as a domestic light.
 
4. What is the payback time on a Solar Hot Water system?
This varies depending on individual hot water use, the type and cost of the system installed, and current electricity charges. A typical payback time in the current environment would be 5 to 7 years. Please use our free saving calculator to estimate payback time and dollar savings for your specific circumstance.
 
5. What sort of savings can I expect from a Solar Water Heating System?
Up to 75% of the annual household hot water energy cost can be saved. A correctly installed system will provide 100% of your hot water needs through the summer and 50% of your needs through the winter. Please use our free saving calculator to estimate payback time and dollar savings for your specific circumstance.
 
6. Can I switch off the hot water cylinder element during the warmer months?
Yes, but there is no need. If the solar panel has heated the cylinder contents over the temperature the thermostat is set at, the cylinder element will not turn on.
 
7. What happens in the colder, less sunny months, will I run out of hot water?
No. The electric element back up will turn on to ensure a constant hot water supply. If a wet-back is used in conjunction with the solar hot water system, it is possible to get year round free hot water. If a small amount of hot water is required quickly, the 'quick recovery element' can be used.
 
8. What is the expected lifetime of a Mirak Solar Hot Water System?
All construction is in accordance with the New Zealand Building Code and must last for 15 years minimum. The vacuum tubes are guaranteed to maintain their vacuum for a minimum of 15 years, and can be easily replaced.
 
9. What is the warranty on a Mirak Solar Water Heating System?
Five years on the collector modules. All other components carry their manufacturers warranty.
 
10. What sort of tradesperson will install my Mirak Solar Hot Water System?
Mirak only uses qualified contractors for all its installation work. Registered craftsman plumbers are required to sign off any work on the potable water system. Registered electricians with a current practicing license will provide you with a certificate of compliance on completion of the wiring work.
 
11. How long does it take for the Solar Water Heating System to be installed?
Usually a day, but this can increase with more complicated installs. Please call us to get an obligation free quote including installation time.
 
12. Who do I contact for customer support?
Please call 0508 4Mirak.
 
13. Will the Solar Hot Water System survive frosts/heavy rain/hail?
Yes. Frost protection can be managed in two different ways. The first is to have a heat exchange coil in the cylinder and to use anti freeze in the heating circuit. The second is to pump warm water from the bottom of the cylinder around the circuit when there is danger of damage from frost. Heavy rain is no problem. Areas where there is a high risk of hail damage should fit a hail guard to the solar panel. The tubes used by Mirak are capable of withstanding 25mm hail.
 
14. What is an evacuated tube?
An evacuated tube is a double lined glass cylinder, which has had the air removed between the two tubes, before it has been welded closed. Please visit the tech info section of our website for technical specifications.
 
15. What happens if a tube breaks, can it be replaced easily?
Yes. There is no loss of water in the case of a tube breaking. Each tube is an individual heat exchanger unit. The breakage of one tube will slightly lower the system performance. This is not a critical problem.
 
16. Will the Solar Water Heating System corrode/rust?
No. The system is built in accordance with the New Zealand Building Code, all relevant New Zealand standards, and the SIA code of practice. Construction materials are appropriate for New Zealand conditions.
 
17. Do you have a finance option?
Yes. We offer finance through Gilrose Finance and have a range of options available..
 
18. Do you have a discount option for cash payment?
No. We discount for volume only.
 
19. If I was building a new home, at what stage would the system need to be incorporated in the design?
Mirak's collector system can be installed at any stage of the home construction, but we recommend you instruct your architect/building company to incorporate the solar hot water system from the initial design stage. This will eliminate any extra compliance costs due to permit alterations or additions.
 
20. So why should I buy a Mirak Solar Hot Water System?
We offer a high quality system backed by personal, hassle-free service. See what our customers have to say about us.
 
21. How long will it take before I receive my online quote?
In most cases we will have your quote back within 2 days. If we require more information to complete your quote, we will contact you immediately.
 

Cylinder Questions

22.  Is the Mirak Solar Water Heating unit suitable for use on a mains pressure cylinder?
Yes, Mirak's products can be used on mains pressure cylinders. You do need to be careful of how you use your hot water with a mains pressure system.
 
23.  Why do I need to be careful of hot water use with a mains pressure cylinder?
A mains pressure hot water system uses significantly more hot water than a low pressure system. A good way to regulate hot water use with a mains pressure system is to use either an efficient shower head or a flow restrictor in your bathroom areas.
 
24.  Why would I want a valve vented cylinder?
A valve vented cylinder will give you higher hot water pressure than a header tank in the roof. It will also prevent the breeding of harmful bacteria that can occur in a header tank. There is one particular bug, legionella bacteria, which is prevalent in NZ, and is the reason why our cylinders must store water at 60 degrees C or over. As cylinders heat, the expanding warm water from the cylinder transfers back to the header tank and makes a fantastic bug breeding ground, as well as wasting energy. Valve vented cylinders have a cold water pressure relief which will vent cold water as the cylinder heats. This is in addition to the hot water pressure relief which is set at a slightly higher pressure.
 
25.  Does Mirak advise the use of a booster element in the cylinder?  If so what is the cost of that option?
Mirak cylinders are custom made to suit all applications. All cylinders come with sensor pockets, solar ports, and quick recovery elements as standard.
 
26.  Does the cylinder that Mirak supplies include all the temperature measurement pockets?
Mirak cylinders are custom made to suit individual applications. All cylinders come with sensor pockets, solar ports, and quick recovery elements as standard.
 
27.  Does Mirak supply good quality cylinders?
All Mirak cylinders meet the New Zealand Minimum Energy Performance standards, and are made in New Zealand, for New Zealand conditions.
 
28.  Do I need a permit from my local Council to install a solar hot water system?
Yes.All changes to the drinking (potable) water supply require a permit.
 
29.  What sort of time frame is there on getting the permit?
Although this is dependent on your local Council's ability to process applications, our normal estimate is between two and five weeks. There is currently uncertainty in the building industry with regard to compliance. Councils are learning new procedures and are working with new standards. Mirak can help with this process if required.
 
30.  Can a system be installed and a permit applied for afterwards?   
Mirak does not recommend this.
 
Do you have a question we haven't answered? Please contact us.
 

Other Questions

32. Who designed your web site ?
Hairy Lemon designed our site for us. The concept came from Concentrate, our marketing partners, who happen to be great guys to deal with.
 
33. Where did your name come from?
Mirak is the name of a star in our solar system. All the energy our solar water heaters use is from the sun. The sun is a star. The name almost seemed to choose us.