Solar Hot Water Heaters

One of the advantages of solar energy is that there are many ways to take advantage of it.  Your options include electrical, heating and even cooking in some cases.  With green energy becoming more and more available, the innovations will continue to emerge.  One way is to utilize a solar water heater.  These appliances can save you a fair amount of energy as the average electricity bill is anywhere from 20% to 40% from heating water.

There are two main kinds of solar water heaters available.  Each one is quite straightforward, simple and built to be very durable.  These appliances are just one of many eco-friendly products available for a more sustainable home.

You'll notice that there is some additional plumbing required with a solar hot water heater.

The lesser popular system is a flat panel collector.  This collector has a tank attached to it in combination with the panels where the sun can heat the water.  The way it works is there are copper pipes that run underneath a protected collector.  This is glass covered and allows for the sun to reach the pipes and warm the water.  The hot water then thermo-siphons itself in a cycle in and out of the mounted tank, thus warming the water as it goes.

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The more popular system is called evacuated tube solar collectors.  These are similar in concept with a few additions.  The tubes instead of being copper are glass, with copper pipes down the center that connect to a common manifold.  This manifold is then connected to a slow flow circulation pump that moves the water to a hot water tank inside the building.  This hot water tank is well insulated and can keep the water warm for later that night or into the next morning.

The reason that this option is so much better is because the tubes, made from glass, can extract the heat from the air and humidity around them.  This makes the system less reliant on the perfect conditions and will operate better in days with less sun.  In short, this system is more efficient, as well as cheaper to repair, if necessary.

If you already have a great hot water heater in place in your home and can’t justify the higher cost of a new system, no worries.  You can choose to either wait until you need to replace your old one or, many systems are designed to be retrofit to your current system that is in place.  Just contact one of the many green companies in your area to have an assessment done.

These ‘green companies’ can be found by searching for businesses that do energy audits for homes, solar power, solar water heaters (of course!) and other sustainable house designs and eco-friendly practices.

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