Things to Know About Solar Water Heaters

Things to Know About Solar Water Heaters

With global warming on the rise the need to switch to renewable energy sources is more than ever. It is also cost effective and instead of racking up on utility bills you just have to make a onetime investment.

If you didn’t already know Solar water heaters use energy from the sun and convert this into electrical energy for the heaters.

Let’s look into more details and look at the different types of solar water heaters.

Traditional Water Heaters vs Solar Water Heaters

Traditional water heaters are directly linked to the power grid and it makes up a considerable portion of your utility bills. Solar water heaters however use solar energy that is stored in energy collectors. So, when you use a solar water heater your reliance on the power grid reduce and so does your utility bills.

Solar heaters and solar panels are different. While solar panels generate electricity, you do not need to install pricey solar panels with solar water heaters. They can be linked to solar panels but it’s not necessary for them to function. They are mutually exclusive.

How do they work?

A normal solar water heater will have two main parts- a storage tank and solar collector. The other components such as pumps depend on whether the heater is an active or passive heater.

Active Heaters:

Active solar water heaters are further categorized into two types, Direct Circulation and Indirect circulation systems.

In an active system a circulation pump moves the water from the collectors into the house. These are ideal for area that don’t have sub zero temperatures. Indirect circulation pumps on the other hand have a heat transfer fluid that doesn’t freeze,and it circulates this between the collector and a heatexchanger. So, the heat exchange then heats the water and supplies it into the house. It is the best system for areas that experience sub zero temperatures.

No matter which installation you pick, solar hot water system installation always requires an experienced professional.

Passive Heaters:

These aren’t expensive when compared to Active Solar Water Heaters. They also have a longer lifetime and are generally more consistent that active heaters. However, the catch is that even though they are reliable and less expensive, the efficiency is relatively low when compared to their active counterparts.

Passive water heaters are also further classified into two types, ICS (Integral collector Storage) systems and Thermosyphon systems.

ICS system or Integral collector Storage Passive Systems are best suited for houses that require large volumes of water throughout the day. They too like direct circulation pumps are ideal for regions that rarely experience sub zero temperatures.

Thermosyphon passive systems are the more expensive than ICS but cheaper than active solar heaters. Installation is quite tricky with this one because the collector is situated below the storage tanks. This allows the warm water to rise and flow through while the cold one sinks to the bottom so that it can be heated.

These are 2 main categories of water heaters and which water heater will suit your household depends on the surrounding weather, volume of water required and other factors. Consult a professional plumber before deciding on which system to go with.