Solar Water Heater Tips

Solar Water Heater Tips gives detailed information on the two vastly different systems available for home installations to work to put hot water, heated by the sun, into your tap.

Within the world of water heating systems come different methods for capturing the energy that directly heats your water - as well as different methods for direct use of heated water or integrated systems which store the heated water for later use.

These solar systems are also used to raise the temperature of the water in swimming pools as well as the luxurious and wonderful application of solar underfloor heating.

Heating water is the most common solar energy system currently being installed worldwide because it is the most economic way to make use of the energy from the sun to effect real home energy savings.

Our solar water heater tips also point to the important added bonus of this project having the shortest payback time of all solar energy saving plans.

In fact the payback time for a solar water heater sytem could be as good as around 8 years - depending of course on your yearly climate as well as optimum installation, less if you manage to time your installation with an available rebate or solar energy grant in your area.

Solar Water Heater Tips
- Evacuated Tube Collectors

This is a method of collecting the energy from the sun to heat water that has been around for over 10 years for heating domestic water and is still popular today.

picture of evacuated-tube collector tubes

One reason for this is that, in such a new industry, this method now has history and has proved itself to be on the whole reliable and when correctly fitted, works well.

You may well have seen one of these systems close up or from a distance and not quite recognised it as an energy saving solar water heater.

In northern countries you may have spotted a system sitting on the slope of a south facing roof. In more southern countries you may have seen this system tilted in a more northerly direction on the flat roof of a house with a big water storage container sitting nearby.

The long thin extra durable glass tubes sit in a row amongst more tubes and all contain an inner tube which is actually the copper heat pipe and a non-toxic liquid.

The inside of the tube is silvered so that the sun's radiation heat can enter but not leave, this helps reduce any heat loss.

Between the outer and inner tubes is an airless vacumn that works rather like a thermos flask that keeps the heat in - hence the name "evacuated tube collectors".

evacuated tube picture showing how it works

The tip of the copper pipe tube extends up beyond the glass tubes and to the water, as the non-toxic liquid within the inner glass tube rises as hot vapour it heats the tip of the copper pipe and then as the liquid becomes cooller it sinks to the bottom of the inner tube ready to repeat the cycle by heating up and rising again.

Solar Water Heater Tips
- Flat-Plate Collectors

Solar water heater tips reveal that Flat-Plate Collectors are easier to install as the design is much more manageable and in fact look much more like the typical solar panel designs, although these flat plates are designed to heat water and not create electricity.

Between two ridged plate sheets that trap the heat, flows cascading water which is then heated. Older models have smooth sheets with the water skimming over the surface but it was discovered that turbulent water better absorbs the suns energy as it passes over the plate.

If you are installing an indirect hot water system, the 'cascading' water will not be the actual water you use in the home, it will be used to transfer the energy gained in the collector to heat your stored water.

If you don't have space to store water you may consider a direct water system in which the water that cascades over your flat-plate collectors will be the same water that will then directly come out of your shower and tap - but you have to remember that this means you will only have heated water when the sun is high and giving you energy.

One of the reasons why this system is gaining in popularity over the more proven system of the Evacuated Tube Collectors is because the flat-plate collectors installed on a roof can look very much like a normal skylight.

Another important reason is the price, the flat-plate is a cheaper purchase than the evacuated-tubes.

One downside is that this flat surface type of collector will not be as effective as the tubes on cloudy days but then as long as you can give your solar water heater flat-plate collectors enough south facing clear sky positioning at your home, you should be able to gain enough energy to heat your water effectively.

Additional Solar Water Heater Tips

  • solar water heater tips 1 - Once a basic working system is being sold successfully, new, more convenient and more modern designs are sure to follow.

    If you don't have the space or the need for a hugh water storage cylinder you may be interested in the new new trendy slim line versions now available.

  • solar water heater tips 2 -After all the work that has gone into heating your water, reduce any heat loss (known as solar fraction) as much as possible - make sure that your water storage cylinder is fitted with it's insulation jacket and that it is at least 100mm thick.

  • solar water heater tips 3 -Our Solar Water Heater Tips reminds us that some systems will not always heat the water sufficiently on dull days (although the instalation of additional collectors can sometimes overcome this problem) - depending on how far north you live.

    For this reason some water collectors warm the water and thenwork together with a fossil fuel boiler as additional energy to make sure that you always have your supply of hot water.

    Of course heating solar warmed up water is going to cost less fossil fuel energy than starting to heat up to hot- than to start off with cold water - so even in the cold winter months savings can be made.

  • solar water heater tips 4 -Certainly if you live in southern climates and also for many living in northern climates, a solar collector system should cover all your solar water heating needs during the summer months.

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