Nearly a third of the average household's energy use goes towards heating water. That being the case, the installation of a solar water heater is a smart investment for your home, your pocket book, and the environment. Solar water heaters can reduce the cost of heating water in your home by fifty to eight percent, meaning big savings when it comes to your monthly utility bills.
How a Solar Water Heater Operates
Solar water heaters are available in two main types to choose from, passive and active systems. Each style has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
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Solar Water Heaters and Conventional Hot Water Heaters
Solar water heaters are often used in conjunction with conventional hot water heaters, especially in areas where sunshine is not as prevalent or the temperature drops below freezing. With this type of system, cold water goes first to the solar collector, where it is naturally warmed by the sun, then it goes to the conventional water heater tank. If the water is already hot enough, the conventional water heater just stores the hot water. If the water is too cool, the conventional water heater brings it up to the necessary temperature.
Installing Solar Water Heaters in Your Home
Just as with a traditional water heater, there are certain factors that determine which size tank is best for your household. The number of bathrooms in the house can be used to determine the appropriate tank size, though a family with heaps of laundry, or a house with an especially large bathtub, can throw off these guidelines. Also, your contractor will need to analyze your roof structure carefully. Since a solar water heater stores water, or water heating fluid, in a storage tank on the roof of your home in order to access exposure to the sun and its heat, it's important that the structure of your home is carefully evaluated to ensure it can bear the load before the tank is installed. Talk to a contactor experienced in installing solar water heaters about evaluating your home for the best designs and options for you. A solar water heater will cost more up front, but in the long run, it's going to save you bundles in energy bills, and help the environment at the same time. That's a hard proposition to turn down.