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December 28, 2010

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Solar heaters feel chill

MANY Shanghai residents have had to brave a chilly bath or shower recently, as most solar water heaters don't work properly in winter, a local consumer watchdog said yesterday.

A survey carried out by the Shanghai Commission of Consumers' Rights and Interests Protection, along with its counterparts in 23 provinces or cities, found that only 35 percent of the heaters work normally then.

About 40 percent of interviewees said their solar water heaters completely broke down in winter. The remainder said they had persistent problems with the heaters - such as the water wouldn't be hot enough or it needed extra electric power.

"Some interviewees gave up on the solar heater and heated water manually instead," said Lu Xueqin, an official with the commission.

The commission's investigation showed that low quality heater parts were for blame for many problems. Officials advised consumers to buy heaters produced by reputable companies and purchase them in winter, as that's the best time to test their capabilities.


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