Solar hot water systems

Solar hot water systems are very beneficial to the environment and they are durable, simple and cost effective. Solar hot water systems collect the energy from the sun and transfers it into your hot water tank to supply most of your needs, even in the winter months.

The solar hot water systems that are available on the market today are easy to install, require little maintenance and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Unlike solar-generated electricity that can be stored in batteries, hot water is a fleeting asset, even in a storage tank that is well-insulated. The water simply turns cold after a few days of overcast weather. This is why nearly all solar hot water systems are supplements to standard water heaters and not actual replacements for the water heaters.

The price of installing a solar hot water system is what makes many people shy away from this alternative. A typical system for a family of four with an 80 gallon tank costs around five thousand dollars with another $2,000 going for installation. However, the payback period is as quick as five years, all depending on the local costs of energy and state subsides. In reality, the initial several thousand dollars that is spent on the installation of such a system is very wisely spent as the system quickly pays for itself.

There are five main types of solar hot water systems commonly sold today. They are: batch, thermosyphon, open-loop direct, pressurized glycol and the closed-loop drainback types. Some of the open loop systems heat the water directly while the closed loop systems work by the collector heating a heat-transfer liquid in which the heat goes to the original water water by means of a heat exchanger. Moving parts such as pumps and valves are used in ‘active systems’ while the ‘passive systems’ use no mechanical or moving parts. The number of people in a household will dictate how large the system needs to be. The drainback system works well in cold climates because they minimize the chance that frozen water in any part of the system can damage the solar water heater. Batch heaters are commonly used in warm weather climates.

Before installing a solar hot water system into a home or building, the building in question should receive adequate sunlight. Solar panels need about 100 square feet of roof or ground space. They operate best when placed within 30 degrees of due south. The solar collectors should be exposed to the sun for the better part of the day-especially during the peak sun hours of 10 a.m and 2 p.m. Tree growth, summer and winter paths of the sun as well as future construction should be taken into consideration before installing a solar hot water system.

One of the most cost-effective ways to include renewable technology into a building is by installing a solar hot water system. The need for conventional water heating is reduced by about two-thirds and a solar water heating system also minimizes the expense of electricity or fossil fuel to heat the water.

Consumers and businesses who install solar hot water systems can benefit from a federal tax credit that was signed into effect in 2005 by President Bush. With the expected natural gas price hikes and electric water heating bills that are predicted to rise as well, many homeowners as well as business owners are turning to solar hot water systems. Solar power can provide between 70-80% of a building’s hot water needs for one year and the installation of a new electric or gas water heater paired with a solar hot water system can add to the value of a property. Many people are investing in solar energy to show their commitment to the environment by cleanly and quietly heating their water while at the same time decreasing their dependence on traditional energy sources.

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