solar water heaters

All you need to know about it

All you need to know about solar water heaters

Do you need lots of hot water? Are your utility bills increasing because of it? If yes, there is a cost-effective option to producing hot water in solar water heaters.

Solar water heaters have been around for many years, where it harnesses sunlight to heat water. They may seem more expensive than other water heaters at first. However, the money you save in the long run makes it worth the Missouri solar power investment.

Solar water heater parts

The most important solar water parts comprise of one or more collectors necessary for trapping the sun’s energy and storage tank that’s well insulated.

Collectors

The three collector types are:

  1. Flat-plate collector panels with a dark plate and pipes placed behind a transparent glass or polymer cover. They are dark to help absorb heat better while sunlight passes through the transparent cover and heats the water.
  1. Integral collector systems comprise of a few black tubes placed in an insulated box. The box in turn has a transparent glass or plastic cover. The tubes absorb heat to heat water. It then enters a traditional storage water heater and may work with an instant water heater.
  1. Evacuated tube collectors comprise of parallel placed transparent tubes with inner metal absorber tubes for absorbing the sun’s heat. They are most common in commercial Missouri solar applications.

The storage tank

The storage tanks here are generally large capacity traditional electric or gas water heaters. If you wonder why the large capacity, well it’s to provide for more heated water during overcast weathers.

The conventional heater’s heating elements act as a back-up resource to help compensate when the solar collectors can’t provide sufficient hot water. Single-tank systems use the system for back-up and storage water.  Two-tank systems pre-heat water before it is stored in the main water tank.

Cost determining factors

There are various factors that determine a solar water heater’s cost effectiveness like:

· Usage

The solar water heater repays itself with time, especially if you use more hot water. In short, they save the most money in large families or places with high hot water consumption.

· Cost

Passive systems may seem a cheaper option, but they are not always practical to use.

· Available sunlight

Missouri solar applications function exceptionally well in places with lots of sunlight. Choose the location to set up the system wisely. It’s because collectors work the best if and when exposed to direct sunlight for longer periods.  

· Other incentives

There are tax credits and other similar incentives which will help reduce your initial investment amount, and give you a shorter payback time.  

Make sure you find out all about your local solar power incentives before finally deciding on your solar water heater.  It’s a combination of these factors that reduce the solar water heating system’s initial costs to reduce the payback time.

Solar water heater types

There are two solar water heater types- active and passive.  Active variants use a pump to circulate water between the collectors and storage tank. The passive variants rely only on natural convention for circulating water.

1. Active water heaters

These solar water heaters run on two circulation types.  

  • Direct circulation heaters circulate water from the collectors to the storage tank. They are better for places where the temperatures seldom under zero.
  • Indirect circulation systems are better for cold climates where pipes may end up frozen. They prevent possible pipe freezing by circulating non-freezing heat transfer fluid through the pipes and storage tank.

2. Passive water heaters

These are cheaper but less efficient and run by integral collector/storage or thermosyphon systems.

  • The integral collector/storage system preheats water in a traditional water heater. They are best used in climates where temperatures don’t go under zero too often.
  • The thermosyphon systems circulate water through natural convection. The tank is placed at a spot that’[s higher than where the collector panels are. The hot water in the panels can thus flow upwards into the storage tank. The cool water in the tank then returns to the collector system for heating.

Installation and maintenance

It’s important that you have a qualified and experienced contractor install your system. Do check their license, the BBB for complaints and speak to their past customers before selecting the right person.

It’s not enough if the contractor just installs your water heater. They should also keep a regular maintenance schedule.

Simple passive systems with minimal parts need less maintenance. However do discuss, and decide on the best maintenance requirements of an active system with the installer.

Now that you know all about solar water heating systems, you can buy yours from one of the solar companies in Missouri.