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water heating is a new high-tech solution to bringing renewable energy straight
to your home. More specifically, straight to your water heater.
a solar heater comes with many benefits. From substantial savings on energy to
reduce your carbon footprint, you’ll find a plethora of advantages surrounding
solar water heaters.
what are solar water heaters? Are there different types? How does a solar water
heater work? These are all great questions. If you’re considering adopting
solar energy into your life and want to make use of a solar water heater, these
are going to be necessary to answer.
this in mind, this article is meant to provide you with everything you need to
know about solar water heating. Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of solar
What Are Solar Water Heaters?
water heaters typically come in the form of a solar collector located on the
roof of the building you intend to use it with. Normally these are solar
the solar collector has amassed heat, it’s then passed to your water tank via a
circulating pump. It’s helped by a thermal regulator that will regulate the
temperature of your water heater to optimize energy and safety. Once the
collector is bringing in heat above the level of the water in the tank, the
regulator will cease working to restrain itself from needlessly using energy.
This entire process is designed to ensure that using solar water collectors and
heaters is as cost-effective and environmentally friendly as possible.
Types of Solar Water Heaters
general, there are two types of solar water heating systems:
Active Solar Water Heating Systems
Passive Solar Water Heating Systems
Active solar water heating systems work by incorporating circulating pumps and controls to actively heat your water tank throughout the day.
Passive solar water heating systems don’t use these tools and work by passively absorbing heat and sunlight throughout the day.
how does a solar water heater work?
Active Solar Water Heating
solar water heating systems are ideal for those who want to ensure they
constantly have heated water throughout the day and year. There are two types
of active solar water heating systems:
Direct circulation systems
Indirect circulation systems
Direct circulation systems are designed to circulate household water through the collectors on the top of your roof. As the water passes through these solar power collectors, they’ll be heated to the appropriate temperature. This will keep your water at a heated temperature throughout the day as the water will continue to circulate through the collector.
Indirect circulation systems are designed to circulate a heat-transfer fluid through collectors. These are designed to be non-freezing so you won’t have to worry about your circulation system when the temperature drops below freezing. Once the heat-transfer fluid runs through the collectors, they’ll go into a heat exchanger. After the exchange occurs, the heating of water will be completed and the water will then flow into the household.
main difference between these two systems is the conditions they’re designed to
be used in.
Direct circulation systems are meant to be used in places where it rarely freezes. These hotter climates will benefit the most because the circulation is continuous and you’ll gain more from the constant heat. On the other hand, indirect circulation systems are great for places where it’ll freeze sometimes, or constantly, throughout the year. By using a heat-transfer fluid that won’t freeze, you won’t ever have to worry about your system failing at certain times of the year.
Passive Solar Water Heating
solar water heating systems won’t use the fancy tools and features that active
solar water heating systems do. This means that they’re typically less
efficient. However, they’re much less expensive as well.
real benefit comes from the robust reliability and durability of passive solar
water heating systems. Because you won’t have to worry about as many mechanical
failures, the inherent nature of passive solar water heating systems will make
them lost longer and be more reliable.
are two basic types of passive solar water heating systems:
Integral collector-storage passive systems
systems work by having water flow through the system. Cool water will sinks to
the bottom of the system while warm water rises to the top.
Because the warm water rises to the top, this type of system will need to be installed below the water storage tank enable the warm water to rise into the tank. These are incredibly effective systems that are known to be more reliable than the integral collector-storage passive systems.
the heavy storage tank will mean that whoever is installing the system will
need to be extremely careful regarding the roof design. This extra expertise
required during the installation combined with the heavier storage tank means
that these kinds of systems are typically more expensive than the integral
collector-storage passive system.
While the investment may be larger, they’re a popular solution for having a reliable water heating system throughout the year. Ideally, you should be looking to use the building that you install this water heating system in to be in use long term. The extra initial cost at first will take a while to receive a return on investment, but you can reliably count on it to save you money for years to come.
collector-storage passive systems are designed to be used in places where the
climate rarely freezes. Similarly to the active systems, this type of passive
system will use collectors that absorb heat. They’ll reside on top of your
While you won’t have water actively circulating through the collectors, you will be able to passively heat your water tank as the collectors transfer the heat directly. It’s not as efficient as active systems, but you can count on it to run longer without issues.
will not only save you more money in the long term but you’ll also save more
money on the reduction in repairs. Less mechanical parts will mean less time
spent fixing them when they inevitably need work done.
Solar Water Heaters vs
The great debate in the solar power industry is solar them water heaters vs photovoltaic technology. Both are solutions to collecting solar energy and converting it into electricity. The main difference between the two is how they work.
energy is creating by the implementation o the photovoltaic effect. In this
effect, a photo meshes with a panel created of semiconductors. Upon impact, the
photon releases electrons and generates electricity by utilizing the energy
created when the electrons are exposed to light.
Typically, this type of solar power is used mainly for generating electricity for household uses. It’s not commonly associated with heating water tanks, but it can be an effective solution under the right conditions.
thermal energy is created by having water or other fluids circulate within
tubes that pass through solar collectors. This can occur with either active or
passive solar water heating systems. In either of the systems, the water flows
through these collectors and become heated in the process.
Because this type of solar energy requires constant sunlight, you’ll often find that households use a backup boiler to provide year-round heat and hot water when the seasons change into the colder months.
The Advantages of Solar Water
water heaters and heating systems come with a large variety of advantages. From
saving money to providing a better environment for the world to enjoy, you
won’t find a shortlist anywhere on the web.
are the advantages you could expect:
Reduce your electricity or gas bill by using free and renewable
Solar thermal collectors will take up less space than
It’s an efficient solution to generating heat
It’ll decrease your carbon footprint
Both residential and commercial properties are eligible to claim
the Federal Solar Tax Credit by the government. This tax break effectively
means you’ll be getting paid for generating your heat. Lower bills, better for
the environment, and getting paid by the man? It’s a win-win.
Reducing Your Bills
water is, by far, one of the most expensive things to pay for as far as
utilities are concerned. This is because water takes so much energy to heat.
It’s estimated that about 18 percent
of domestic energy is used just to heat water in any given household.
if you use electricity or gas to heat your water, you’re looking at great
savings year-round by using solar water heaters.
it should be noted that the initial cost of investing in a solar water heating
system can be significant. Be sure that you’re going to be using the property
you’re installing it in for a long while to get your financial returns.
Take Up Less Space On Your Roof
Size-wise, solar thermal panels are much more efficient than photovoltaic panels. Photovoltaic panels may require as many 16 panels to be able to generate the same amount of power as two to three solar thermal panels.
you’re interested in putting up solar collectors and space is limited on the
roof, you’re going to want to be using solar thermal panels rather than
The Federal Solar Tax Credit
Federal Solar Tax Credit is offered by the U.S government as a way to incentive
both residential and commercial properties to lean toward using renewable
Those who install a solar system in either type of property will be eligible to claim 26 percent of the total project costs as a credit on your federal tax return. These total project costs include installation, permits, and equipment required.
credits work by giving you money back on your income tax you owe. One dollar
worth of tax credit means you’ll be paying one dollar less in taxes. This means
that every dollar you spend is effectively free money. At least 26 percent of
the total cost is, anyway.
means if you invest $20,000 into your solar water heating system, you’ll owe
$5,200 less in taxes the following year. If you typically plan your taxes to
receive a moderate return each year, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with an
extra $5,200 in your pocket.
It should be noted that this tax credit isn’t going to last forever. It’ll last through 2022, but it may not be available afterward. This means right now is a great time to invest in solar power and solar water heating.
Solar Water Heater Costs
$20,000 is a bit of an exaggeration when it comes to solar water heater costs.
Yes, you can spend that much. And, yes, it will likely be worth in the long
term. However, most solar water heater costs won’t run you nearly that much.
amount you’ll be paying will generally be dependent on which type of system
you’ll be installing into your property. There are also several outlier factors
you should take into consideration.
The Cost of Active Systems
you can expect to pay between $2,000 and $4,000 for an active water system.
money will go to providing you with a solar collector and a storage area for
the heat. The storage area needs to be large enough to house all the water you
need to be heated, so ensure you’re taking the amount of water you need to be
heated at any given time into account.
can also be a good idea to consider adding an electric/gas back up system to
heat your water in the case that your solar water heating system ever fails. It
can also kick in when the weather is cold or too cloudy to produce any
meaningful amount of heat.
The Cost of Passive Systems
If you’re looking to go with Mr. Reliable, a passive system to heat your water will run you between $1,000 and $3,000 depending on how much water you’d like to store. Typically, you’ll want to use this type of system if you’re purchasing for a residential property.
you go with a Thermosyphone system, you can expect to pay on the upper end of
the scale while Integral Collector-storage Systems will be priced on the lower
end of the spectrum.
out which one is most cost-effective for you will depend on your needs and what
type of property you’ll be wanting to use your solar heating system with.
Are Solar Water Heaters Worth It?
So, in the end, are solar water heaters worth it? The answer is: absolutely. They’re a great way to save money on your bills, reduce your carbon footprint, and can be an effective solution to making that happen. When compared to the competition found in photovoltaic technology, they’ll often come out ahead.
you should be aware that solar water heaters will only be worth if you’ll be
using the property in the long term. You won’t save any money on bills with a
solar water heating system that you immediately sell-off. However, solar water
heating systems can increase the overall worth of your property. You simply
won’t see as stark of a return on your investment if you don’t take the
benefits of having reduced bills.
things that could impact the amount you save when you invest in a solar water
heating system include:
The geographic location of your property
The structure of your property
The weather and climate of where you live
The need for repairs and general maintenance
Geographic Location of Your
amount of heat that your solar collectors can collect reflects mainly on the
amount of sunlight that they’re exposed to throughout the day. While they will
be passively able to absorb some heat during cloudy days, the vast majority of your
heat will come when the sun is shining.
power water heating systems will be most effective in locations with abundant
sunshine and places where the climate isn’t cold. This doesn’t mean that the
climate can’t be cold ever, there simply needs to be seasons where the sunshine
and heat is abundant throughout the day.
example, solar heating systems are popular throughout the northeast U.S. This
may seem counterintuitive at first, given that states such as Maine and New
York typically receive harsh winters, but the amount of sunshine they receive
during the summer months make solar power a viable option there.
The Structure of the Property
considering whether solar power is right for you or not, take into
consideration how your property is built. Ideally, you want most of your roof
to pointing toward the south.
is because the south-facing side of your roof will receive the most direct
sunlight throughout the day. If even one of the solar cells in your solar
collectors become covered by clouds or shade, it can reduce the overall power
generated by your solar power system by up to 50 percent.
of this, you’ll want to ensure that your roof doesn’t have anything shading it
and that as much of the roof is facing south as possible to receive the most
benefit from the sun.
Weather and Climate
weather and climate of where your property is located are going to be
incredibly important when trying to figure out if solar water heaters are worth
it for you.
power is typically thought of in southwest states such as southern California
and Arizona. While these are great spots for solar power because of the
abundance of sunshine and good year-round weather, other spots may be
appropriate as well.
States in the northeast and the southeast U.S will be able to get a lot of use from solar power, as can some areas within the Midwest. This is because these areas will receive a lot of sunshine at certain times of the year. While winters may be harsh in the Midwest and Northeast, they’ll be able to gain returns on their solar water heating investment during the Spring and Summer months.
in states such as Oregon and Washington may still find benefits in solar power.
However, the return on investment for those in these types of states will take
longer to receive. The constant clouds and rain will inhibit your solar power
systems from being able to produce optimal energy and heat.
now, you should be an expert on everything you need to know about solar water
heating and solar water heating systems.
are several different systems and deciding which one is best for you will
depend on several factors that were discussed above.
to always take into consideration the geographical location and how your
property is oriented when deciding if solar power and solar heating systems are
right for you.
the end, solar water heating systems are an effective way to provide heat to
your water while reducing bills, helping the environment, increasing the value
of your property, and it will even earn you free money from the government if
you act fast enough.