Solar water heaters are a cost effective way to generate hot water for your home. They can cut your water heating bills in half and significantly reduce your carbon footprint. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use-sunshine-is free. The most popular uses for solar water heaters are hot water heating for radiant heating and for heated swimming pools.
The purchase of a solar system can take about 10 years to pay for itself, but by taking advantage of Federal and State tax credits it can be paid for much sooner. Solar water heaters also last a lot longer than gas or electric water heaters. In the meantime, your investment will pay dividends for the environment. ENERGY STAR qualified solar water heaters can cut your carbon dioxide emissions in half. Installing a qualified solar water heater will reduce the load of your electric water heater by almost 2,500 kWh per year, preventing 4,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere annually. This is the equivalent of not driving your car for four months every year!
Solar water heaters come in two different types of systems. One is called a pumped system and the other a compact system. Usually they will both utilize a separate source of energy such as an electric heat element or they could be connected to a central heating system that could be fuel oil or gas and are only activated if the water in the holding tank gets cooler than 50’C.
This combination will insure that you will always have hot water available. You also could go a step further and have a combination of solar water heating combined with a wood stove that will also work in climates that are cooler and not use any electricity or fossil fuels.
When you use solar energy the collectors are usually attached to the roof of the house or building or perhaps on the wall that faces the sun. There are instances where the collector is standing on it’s own but this is unusual. The passive system drives the fluid through the collector and the active system pumps the working fluid through it.
Solar water heaters make sense both financially and environmentally. In the warmer climates, the backup energy source will be used very little and even in cooler climates the amount used is significantly lower than a traditional hot water heater.
If you are interested in other sources of renewable energy, check out our new book “Renewable Energy Explained.” The link is in the resource area. You won’t regret it. It is filled with all the important information you are looking for about renewable energy.