Solar water heaters are an environmentally friendly and efficient way to heat water for your home. They run on sunshine — an unlimited, free resource — and can be effective in any climate. A solar water-heating system utilizes solar collectors and insulated water tanks. It sometimes includes a back-up heater, which is often a conventional water heater, or the back-up heating system can be incorporated into the main storage tank.
There are two kinds of solar water heaters. Active systems include circulating pumps, and passive systems don’t. Passive systems are often more affordable, but may not be as efficient. However, because they don’t have as many components as active systems, passive systems may be more dependable, require less maintenance and may have longer life spans.
When choosing a solar water heater, there are several factors you’ll want to take into consideration:
- Solar resources present on your site
- The size of system you’ll need. This is a process that involves assessing how much solar-collection area and water-storage volume you’ll require in order to meet most of your home’s hot water needs.
- Relative costs and potential savings offered by various solar water heater models
Solar water heaters may cost more up front, but they generate dramatic savings long-term which can amount to 50 to 80 percent. You’ll also be unaffected by rising fuel prices, because the sun is a consistent, free power source. Solar panels collect solar radiation that is present even on cloudy days.
How much you could actually save depends on several factors, including:
- How much hot water your household uses
- Your location and the solar resources on your site
- How efficient your solar water heater is
- The fluctuating price of standard fuels such as gas and electricity
For more information on solar water heaters, call Roth Home at (503) 266-1249. We’ll be happy to set you up with a system that’s right for your household.