What Are Solar Water Heaters?

There are a lot of things you should know about solar heaters. As a homeowner, you want to learn of anything that could provide you an alternative source of hot water that won’t cost that much compared to the conventional equipment you are using right now. And with that in mind, the solar water heater is a definite, practical choice.

By definition, a solar water heater is by far the most cost-effective and affordable means of generating hot water at home. It also is referred to as solar domestic hot water system that can ideally be used in any location and kind of climate. Obviously, it’s most notable advantage is the source, which in this case is the sun. Therefore, in order to use it, you don’t have to spend money on electricity or any other power source.

A solar water heater works by way of utilizing solar collectors and storage tanks. Generally speaking, there are two varying types: the active type in which there are pumps and controls, and the passive type, which as the term suggests, works passively without the need for those pumps and controls.

For the active type, there also are two types called direct circulation systems and indirection circulation systems. In the former, pumps work by circulating water in the house by way of collectors. This is the best type for areas where there freezing temperatures are highly unlikely to happen. In the latter meanwhile, pumps will be circulating a non-freezing and heat-transfer fluid through the collectors and into the heat exchanger. The difference here is that the water will first be heated and then distributed to the home. The purpose of heating the water is to prevent the likelihood of it freezing while traveling.

On the other hand, a passive type of solar water heating system is the most affordable type of solar water heater for the simple reason that it works quite simple. However, affordability in this case doesn’t really mean it is efficient, though. Passive systems are known to last for so many years, though. Just like the active type, this also has two variations: integral collector system and thermosyphon systems. The first one is best used in areas in which the temperatures don’t really reach below freezing point. It also is ideal for homes that need hot water all the time, even in the evenings. In contradiction, the thermosyphon system is the kind of passive hot water system that works by making water flow through it once warm water rises and the cooler water sinks. Therefore, in order for this system to work, the collector has to be installed below the storage tank in order to make it possible for warm water to rise and head to the tank.

Buying the Right Solar Water Heater

There are several things you need to do before you purchase and have a solar water heating system installed in your home. First, you need to make an estimate of the cost as well as the energy efficiency of the system. After that, make a thorough evaluation of the solar resource in your location – keep in mind that there are places where the sun rarely makes an appearance. Next, be sure you’re aware and knowledgeable about local regulations and codes to make sure you’re not violating anything. And finally, figure out which type of solar water heater is best for your needs.