Installing a solar water heater can be a great way to save money on your energy bills, but is it worth the investment? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of using solar heating for your home’s water supply. We’ll also discuss how much you can expect to save by making the switch. Read on to learn more!
What is solar heating?
There are two main types of solar water heaters: passive and active. Passive, or unglazed, collectors use the sun’s heat to warm up the air that passes through it. Fans or pumps can then be used to move the hot air into your home’s interior space for use in your radiant flooring, hot water system, and more. Active systems, which include glazed collectors, typically use fans or pumps (or both) to raise temperatures higher than those achieved by passive systems. The water stored in a tank then circulates throughout the house for use.
Sunlight contains different wavelengths depending on its source—ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun; infrared (IR) light from highly reflective surfaces, such as snow or sand. Glazed solar systems use the sun’s IR light to heat water in a special collector panel. The panels may be installed on a roof or a rack, and their temperature is regulated by a pump that circulates hot fluid through them when they’re cooler than the tank.
Solar water heating is most efficient in areas with lots of sunlight—such as desert regions of Australia—but it also works well in other parts of the country where there is less sunlight. In fact, many homeowners living in less sunny climates even experience greater energy savings because they have less room for error when it comes to sizing their system properly.
How much money can you save?
It depends on your climate, but generally speaking, solar water heating can save you around 30% of the total cost of your yearly energy bills. For example, in Queensland, Australia, expert hot water systems company Live SG (Sunshine Coast) saves their customers anywhere from hundreds to thousands per year.
What factors affect my system’s performance?
A few things determine how well a particular solar hot water system will work for you:
- The latitude where you live (This affects how much heat is generated by direct sunlight at any given time of day.)
- The quality and characteristics of the systems you use to heat your home (More efficient components might help you save more money by keeping heat losses low.)
- How big your tank is (A smaller tank means shorter wait times between uses, but it also means less capacity for storage.)
- Annual usage habits (Using water during prime sun hours—when glazed collectors are most efficient—can help you save even more.)
How big should my system be?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. You’ll need to figure out how much hot water you use per day by looking at your home’s energy bills and the number of family members and guests who will be using it. A good rule: If your household uses more than five gallons of hot water a minute, an active solar heating system will likely meet your needs. An unglazed passive system might do the trick if you use less than three gallons a minute, but such systems are generally best for radiant flooring applications only. And regardless of which type of collector you choose, be sure to match it with components that are sized appropriately. If your tank is too small for the collector, you’ll be waiting around for hot water all day long—not to mention using more energy than necessary to keep it warm.
Is my climate hot enough?
Solar heating can work in any climate where there’s enough sun to warm up your home. Typically, solar heating is most efficient in climates that don’t experience freezing conditions and have at least 4 sunny hours of direct sunlight daily. That said, some places with less sunlight can actually save money on their monthly bills because they need smaller collectors or tanks than would otherwise be needed in sunnier climates. For example, researchers found that even though homes in London receive about half as much sunlight as those in Sydney, they still save more money because of the lower operating costs associated with their smaller collectors and storage tanks.
Are solar water heaters worth the money?
Absolutely. Depending on factors like the size of your family, annual hot water usage, climate and where you live, solar heating can save thousands of dollars in energy costs over its long lifetime. And it does so by using free energy from the sun.
Solar water heating is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to heat your home’s water supply. Depending on your climate, you can save around 30% of the total cost of your yearly energy bills. Additionally, using solar water heating can help reduce your carbon footprint by offsetting some of the emissions produced from traditional methods of heating water. If you’re interested in installing a solar hot water system in your home, talk to an expert to help you.