With the ever-rising costs of utilities such as gas and electric, many people have found that a solar water heater can save them money. By utilizing this naturally occurring resource, utility costs are kept down while still enjoying a steady supply of hot water. Remembering there is no cost for operation of a solar water heater.
A solar water heater works on the same principal of any other solar-powered electric operated item. The heat from the sun is converted into electrical energy and stored is special batteries and the power is used as required. When the batteries start to become low, a regulator automatically flips an internal switch, recharging the batteries.
While the initial cost of a solar water heater will probably be higher than other types, it will save money in the long-run as the energy from the sun is free, therefore no annual operating costs. One downside, however, may be in areas accustomed to significant show fall in which snow build up may have to be removed in order for the solar panels to work properly. This issue can be addressed by adding solar-powered heating strips to keep the snow melted.
Choosing System For Your Home
Understand that a solar water heater relies on solar panels typically installed into the roof of the house. Fortunately them come in a variety of colors to fit into the color scheme of your home. They are also available in a variety of configurations to help stay within your budget.
If you can not afford a 100% solar water heater, consider adding panels as you can afford to, starting small to provide a portion of your water heating bills. A general rule of thumb is to have one gallon of water storage for every square foot of collector area. The panels will also need to face the south and a path from the collectors to the hot water tank should be no more than 40 feet. Although 80 feet is possible with proper insulation.
In many cases the existing hot water tank can be used, but if its capacity is not big enough an add-on tank can be installed. Generally speaking, a 50-gallon water tank is best for efficiency with 40 square feet of solar panels, with a good electrical path, but a 40 gallon solar water heater can be used with as little of 30 square feet of panels.