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For anyone looking to save some money on their heating bills each month, it may be a good idea to install a new solar water heater. Installing a solar energy system in a home with a solar water heater will harness the power of the sun for all of the hot water needs of the home. The installation of a solar water heater can be rather expensive, but it may be well worth it based on the savings down the road.
An active solar energy system is required in order to collect and store enough solar energy to run a solar water heater. Installation of the solar water heater and the active solar energy system can only be done by a professional contractor. This will approximately take between two and four days to complete, depending on the size of the job. A few miscellaneous costs will also be incurred during the installation of a solar water heater. Permits must be obtained to install a solar energy system in a home, and there will most likely be some small material costs, too.
The biggest advantage of installing a solar water heater is the monthly savings experienced each month. Energy Star has conducted studies to determine that water heating bills will drop at least 50 percent each month with a solar water heater. The savings can even be as high as 80 percent. While the money saved each month will ultimately depend on a wide variety of factors, it is guaranteed that a home's energy costs will be drastically reduced.
In addition to the monthly savings that come with the solar energy, there is a 30-percent federal tax credit for anyone that installs a solar water heater before the end of 2016. This large rebate can go a long way to making a solar water heater an affordable expense. While everyone will is still going to have to pay the full price of the job upfront, it is possible to get 30 percent of the expenditures back when the yearly tax returns are completed.
Since everyone is essentially guaranteed to see drastic savings each month, the only disadvantage of installing a solar water heater is the high upfront costs. The average family will most likely have a hard time coming up with the needed funds to complete the job. The expense of installing a solar water heater may require months of saving money, but in the long run, it may be worth the sacrifice.
Passive versus Active System
When it comes to solar energy, a passive or active system can be used. These systems collect and store the energy from the sun to be used for the solar water heater. A passive system is very easy to create and use, but it comes with several drawbacks. While it only takes installing solar panels on a home to start obtaining solar power, large amounts of energy can't be stored. Since it will not be able to store a lot of energy, a passive system will quickly run out of solar power after a few cloudy days. This essentially means that a home will need to keep their existing water heater as a backup if they happen to run out of solar energy.
An active system requires solar collectors and a heat storage area. Since the heat storage area can hold much more heat, the possibility of running out of hot water after several cloudy days is nonexistent. An active system is slightly more expensive to install, but it eliminates that need for a traditional water heater. Since an active solar energy system is the only way to completely replace a home's water heater, the costs associated to an active system will only be considered.
The upfront costs of installing a solar water heater may be quite expensive, but the tax rebate makes the project much more affordable. Assuming that most families will save approximately $50 a month on their water heating bill, it will only take between four and 10 years to break even on the project. Any savings that occur after this time are profit. There are not many home improvement projects that can actually put money in someone's pocket in the long run, but installing a solar water heater is one of them.