Think you want a solar water heater? Read this.
A solar water heater is easy to maintain, cost-effective, and this innovation has given homeowners another alternative renewable energy choice for providing their home with hot water. The savings of using a solar water heater compared to the traditional electric or gas is that the sun’s power is free.
Solar water heating equipment may seem costly when pricing the equipment and the labor installation costs are high. But, the overall costs over the life of the equipment can save homeowners money by reduced energy costs. The federal government will also give qualified buyers tax credits to offset the cost if you follow a few of their guidelines with the purchase and installation.
There are several things that must be taken into consideration before deciding to purchase a solar water heater. It is very important to do your research and become very familiar with solar heating before you make the purchase decision. A few of the considerations are:
- The solar radiation during the summer and winter months. Do you have enough direct sunlight year round to the solar panels that will be needed.
- The gradient of temperatures through the seasons along with the cycle of day and night. Are you located in a very extreme temperature environment zone and are you located in a region with limited daylight hours?
- Understand and accept that the water collector in the unit may overheat.
- Accept the fact that the water collector or lines may freeze in colder environments.
- Determine the right system size needed for the home or building. Be careful not to undersize or oversize. Remember, that most units will be installed on top of your roof.
- Make sure that your local building codes will allow the installation of solar heating equipment in your area.
- Be sure to obtain all necessary permits from local governments that will be required.
After you have done your research and you have decided to move ahead with the installation make certain that you hire a solar thermal system contractor that has experience and is licensed to install this type of equipment. Prepare yourself for the initial cost estimate because this type of work does not come cheap.
If you are experienced at plumbing and decided that you want to construct your own system will find that there are different types of solar heating systems. The active heating system uses direct or indirect methods to collect household water and circulates through collectors. The indirect water heating system uses a non-freezing fluid in the collector unit and a heat exchanger so the water can be heated up to use anytime of the year.
The type you need may depend on whether it is being used in warmer climates or colder and freezing temperature zone climates.
Some of the other types of solar heating systems are integral collector & storage passive heating systems. Some types of are only used where climates do not go below the freezing temperature where the collectors (storage tank) is usually placed on the roof of the house and the water then flows through a system where hot water rises and the cool water sinks.
Solar Water Heater Information
It can all seem very complex and confusing but the right designed system and utilizing solar water heater systems can be an efficient way to cut the ongoing electric or gas bills.