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Solar Water Heater

Many homeowners are looking for ways to reduce their monthly energy costs. There is a variety of ways to reduce your energy consumption; and by proxy your energy bills. A solar water heater is one of the most popular and easiest ways to help lower your total energy costs.

The solar water heater is not a recent idea or invention. Flat plate solar collectors were used to heat water as far back as the early part of the 20th century. The solar collectors transfer heat energy from the sun to the liquid flowing through the collector. From there the heated liquid is moved to the storage tank where it heats the water contained within. Modern designs, while more aesthetically pleasing, still function in much the same way.

There are two main types of solar water heaters; passive and active circulation. A passive system uses gravity or convection to push the flow of water through the collector and into the storage tank. In climates where freezing isn’t an issue, an integrated collector storage (ICS) system is often used for these passive systems. An ICS stores the heated water in the collector itself, rather than utilizing a storage tank. An active circulation system uses an electrical pump to move the water from the collector to the storage tank.

A solar water heater can provide most, if not all of the hot water that is used in the home. This means that the amount of electricity or natural gas generally needed to operate a conventional water heater is all but eliminated, dramatically reducing your home’s energy consumption. And because less fossil fuel is being used to generate electricity, the amount of CO2 produced also decreases, making a solar water heater much a more environmentally friendly option.

The cost of installing a solar water heater can be high, depending on the size and type of system. Active circulation systems are typically much more expensive than passive systems, mainly due to their use of pumps and a more complicated design. However, a typical system of either design can produce as much as 80 gallons of hot water per day, and in some cases even more. Over time, the money saved by using solar energy to heat this water will almost always offset the initial cost of installation.

In homes and businesses that require larger amounts of hot water, a supplemental heating system is often incorporated. These are often just conventional water heaters that are used to heat water when sunlight is not available, or during periods of high water usage. These supplemental heaters are also a great back up should your solar water heater require maintenance or repair.

The environmental and economic benefits of using solar energy as a means of supplying your home with hot water are often their best selling points. They can save you hundreds of dollars a year in energy costs, and do not cause damage to the ecosystem. Homeowners around the world will attest to the value of a solar water heater.


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