Solar Water Heater
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.