Everything You Wanted To Know About Solar Hot Water Systems
Solar hot water systems are quickly becoming the favorite alternative to the conventional water heater. It is not as complicated as one might think to heat your water by using the power of the sun. There are so many benefits to using solar energy and the rebates that are offered by various government agencies make it a very worthwhile investment. You may have a lot of questions that will hopefully be answered in this article.
What Is A Solar Hot Water System?
Quite simply, this is the process of using the energy from the sun to heat a solar collector and then transferring that heat to your hot water storage tank. The solar collector is filled with a solar fluid mixture or straight water, based on what type of climate you live in. When the fluid in the collectors reaches a certain temperature, a controller box will automatically kick in the pumps to circulate the heated fluid. The fluid will then be pushed through the heat exchanger which will transfer that heat to the water sitting in the storage tank.
After this transfer of heat, the fluid is circulated to the solar collector to be heated by the sun again. This process will keep repeating itself until the collector does not have sufficient heat to activate the pumps. The insufficient heat can be from something such as a cloudy day or when the sun goes down and nightfall sets in. At times like this, you will want to have a conventional water heater for backup or other means to ensure enough hot water.
Important Benefits Of Installing A Solar Water Heating System
A key benefit is finally beating the ever increasing high rates the utility company charges. This is a great feeling of self reliance when you can cut the dependency on these big conglomerates. It is possible to regain your total investment spent in under four years. After your total investment is returned, the money you save will put money in the bank.
Installing a solar hot water system will actually increase the value of your home by whatever the initial investment is. As the costs of utilities go on rising, your solar system will continue to become more valuable because of the increase in savings. This will be very beneficial should you decide to sell your home as many people are searching for energy efficient properties. Potential buyers may be willing to pay a little more because this system is already installed and has proven itself.
By seeking out local and federal government rebates and incentives, you can generally save from a third up to one half of the total cost of the system. This can significantly reduce the initial cost making it extremely affordable to most everyone. You will want to check with the state and city you live in for specific rebates as these will vary widely by location. As far as federal incentives go, businesses as well as personal residences qualify for a thirty percent credit on taxes.
Different Types Of Systems
There are a few types of solar water systems and they vary by a number of different factors. The climate you live in plays a very important part in which type of system you need. How many people will be using the hot water is another important factor as well. What you will use the hot water for and the quality of water you have available will also determine which system is right for you.
If you reside in an area that falls below freezing, then you would need to install a closed loop water system. This type of system makes use of a special solar fluid that will not freeze instead of using regular water. This will keep your pipes from freezing and bursting when the temperature falls below thirty-two degrees. It is suggested you install this type of system if you have very hard water because the lime deposits will eventually obstruct your pipes.
Warmer climates can get by installing an open loop system as long as the water is soft. In this type of system, water is pumped from the solar collectors straight into your existing water storage tank. This is very economical and efficient which makes it an extremely affordable substitute to the conventional water heater. This system is easy to install and can be used with your existing water heater with little configuration.
If you would like to heat your water and also heat your living space, there is a system designed especially for this. The main goal of this system is to heat your water like the closed loop system does. The difference here is that any unused hot water is redirected to flow through separate pipes to heat your living space. This type of system can be used in any climate due to the closed loop design using the solar fluid to prevent freezing.
If you have a swimming pool, one of the least expensive methods of heating your pool is by solar hot water. This type of water heating can also give you an extended swimming season of a few more weeks. This is also a closed loop system that can be used in any climate for indoor and outdoor pools alike. If you compare this system with normal swimming pool heaters that use LP or fuel oil, the cost of a solar heating system can be recouped in less than two years.
As you can see, there are many benefits to installing a solar hot water system for the average homeowner as well as many types of systems to choose from. Hopefully, this article answered some of your questions on the different types of solar water systems available. Be sure to consider your climate and other factors mentioned above since these can affect which system you need. You should be better equipped with this knowledge to understand the various systems and choose the one that best suits your needs.