Now that fall is approaching, hot water will soon be on your priority list. Traditionally, homeowners would be able to choose between a gas and an electric water heater, but these days we have “solar” options as well.
You’re familiar with solar panels that are placed on roof tops, but you may have not been aware that some of those solar panels that you see may be generating hot water for inside the home. We think this is a great way to use natural, free energy to heat your home’s water supply! These ingenious hot water heating systems are called solar water heaters or solar domestic hot water heater systems.
Benefits of a solar hot water heater system:
- Sunshine is 100% free,
- They are cost-effective,
- They can be used in all climates,
- Regular maintenance on a simple system is usually infrequent, about every 3 to 5 years, and
- You don’t usually need to replace a part on a system with electrical components until about 10 years or longer.
How Solar Water Heaters Work
With the latest advances in solar technology, solar water heating systems use both solar collectors and storage tanks to heat up water with the sun’s energy. In the U.S., we have two different types of solar water heating systems: active system with circulating controls and pumps, and then passive systems, which do not have these parts.
Without going into too much detail, we’ll tell you that active systems generally cost more than passive systems, however, active systems are considered to be the more efficient of the two. However, a passive system is rather reliable, and may even last longer than an active system. So the decision is up to you!
Do solar water heaters need backup systems?
As a general rule, solar water heating systems are installed with a backup system, which comes in use on cloudy days, or when there is an increased demand for hot water. Usually, a conventional storage water heater will be included in the solar system package. Lastly, the backup water heater is a tankless or demand-type model.
Proper Installation is Key to an Efficient System
In order to properly install a solar water heater, several factors must be considered, such as the solar resource, the local building code requirements, and the climate where the home is located, as well as any possible safety concerns.
Are you considering a new hot water heater? To discuss all of your options, including a gas, electric, tankless, or solar unit, contact Excalibur plumbing today!