Solar Water Heaters and Heating
How Solar water heaters can Benefit Your Home
Having the hot water run out is a frustrating thing, and there never seems to be enough when you’re taking a shower. Reheating all that water once it’s gone requires that you use either electricity or gas, affecting your monthly utility bill. However, there is a different option to heat your water that is basically free after you’ve paid for the initial installation cost. Solar water heaters can be a simple addition to nearly any home that can save money on your next utility bill and provide long term savings in the future.
What is a Solar water heater?
A solar water heater is basically a device that will provide your home with water that has been heated with solar power for free. The sun has a lot of energy that can be transferred to the water in your home as heat if you have the right equipment. A solar water heater can be a simple device or a complicated machine depending on the kind you purchase. Here are a few types of solar water heaters.
Simple Solar water heaters
The most basic and simple design types of solar water heaters are basically black containers that contain water. The black colour of the container will absorb the heat from the sun and transfer it as heat to the water. The container doesn’t need to be made of anything fancy or any expensive material. Since the colour black absorbs the most light and therefore heat, even a bucket painted black can be a solar water heater.
Simple solar water heaters are usually placed on a rooftop or some sort of platform where it can receive sunrays during most of the day. Usually a tube or pipe runs from the container and runs down into where the water comes out. You may have seen some sort of setup like this when using a camp shower.
Even though the simple solar water heaters are very easy to set up and use, they aren’t very efficient because they can’t store and move very much water. You’re still not going to have a lot of hot water for your shower with a simple solar water heater, so if you’re planning on using a solar heater for your home, consider a more advanced option.
Evacuated Tube Systems
The most complex, expensive and efficient solar water heaters, evacuated tube systems are able to produce the most hot water in the least amount of space using solar power. These work by placing pipes that run alongside the tank where the water is stored. These pipes are completely empty except for a very small amount of a very special chemical substance. When the sun hits theses pipes and heats them up, the chemical inside also heats and then rises up through the tube. This chemical transfers its heat to the water tank as it rises. Eventually, it’s transferred all of its heat and then sinks down to the bottom of the pipe, waiting to be reheated by the sun to start the cycle all over again.
Another popular option for solar water heating, thermosiphon heating basically creates a way to trap sunlight in a pipe like a greenhouse. This non-electric form of solar panels is effective at heating water. Thermosiphon heating systems use special pipes that have multiple layers. The outer layer of the pipe is made of glass, and the inner layer is the pipe that is heated with the water inside. The way thermosiphon systems work is that water goes into the pipes. The sun’s light goes through the outer layer and becomes trapped inside the pipe, allowing it to be fully absorbed by the inner pipe and the water. Some units even have special mirrors which focus the sunlight on the pipes so they absorb the sunlight as much as possible.
After the water is heated in the pipe, the water is then moved from the heating pipes/panel into a tank before being moved into the home. Gravity and convection force the water into the home, allowing the water in a home to be heated without needing to use any electricity at all. The amount of water that can be heated at once depends on the size of the thermosiphon system. Sometimes thermosiphon systems have multiple tanks to heat more water at once.
Should I Get a Solar water heating system?
After hearing about how solar energy water heating systems can effectively heat a home’s water for free, many people wonder if they should install a system in their home. Perhaps these questions will help you know whether or not solar water heaters are right for you and your home.
- Do you own your home? If you are renting, you may have trouble convincing your landlord to spend the money to install a solar water heating system even though it will add to a home’s value.
- Are you able to afford a £2500 solar heating system? While the initial installation can be expensive, it will pay for itself over time.
- How much are you spending on your annual utility bill? Generally, hot water makes up about 20-30% of your annual bill. This will give you an estimated cost of how much you’d save on hot water per year. Is that amount enticing enough to convince you to install a heater?
- How long do you plan on living at your current location? If you plan to be there for at least 5 years, you should consider installing solar water heaters for your home.
If you need more help deciding if a solar water heater is right for you and your family, talk to a professional and get a consultation.
Solar water heaters are a cost effective way to heat your home’s water without using any gas or electricity from the utility company. You can easily meet your domestic water heating needs with a hot water system that uses thermal energy instead of your normal gas to heat your domestic hot water. If you’ve been tired of seeing your utility bill go higher and higher each month due to things like heating water, consider installing solar water heaters in your home to harness the power of the sun with a solar water heating system.