One of the least expensive ways you can help to lower your energy costs each month is by installing a solar hot water system on your home. These solutions are simple to operate and can heat all the water youíll need for an average sized home with nothing more than sunlight. In many cases you can even apply for rebates and incentives that can lower the cost of these solar hot water systems by a third or more. This can help you afford one of these systems while allowing you to reduce the amount of energy you need to purchase each month.
Solar hot water technology has been around in one form or another since ancient times and has evolved into a very reliable system that is easy to install on most homes. The basic setup includes a solar thermal collector panel that is typically mounted on the roof of the home and a thermal storage tank found in the basement or garage. The thermal collector panel contains a series of small pipes that are exposed to sunlight through a clear lid. The water from the home that needs to be heated is circulated through this collector and warmed very quickly by the sun. This hot water is then returned to the home and passed through the thermal storage tank for use. This type of solar hot water solution can easily heat all the water needed for an average sized home with a days worth of sunlight.
This basic solar hot water system is perfect for homes that are located in areas where the temperature never dips below freezing. In colder climates, the system gets a little more complicated but works in a similar fashion. Because of the cold temperature during winter months, the homeís water canít be circulated through the solar collector directly, due to the threat of freezing. In these colder climates a different liquid is used that wonít freeze at low temperatures and is contained in a closed loop system. In this cold-climate solution, the liquid is sent through the thermal collector panel and returns to the thermal storage tank where it heats the water from the home indirectly. This allows these two liquids to stay separated and still allows the homeowner to take advantage of a solar hot water system.
With both of these systems, there also needs to be a smaller backup water heater that can be used on cloudy or overcast days. This backup water heater is typically installed in the same hot water plumbing circuit as the solar hot water system and can monitor the temperature of the water. This way it can automatically help heat the water when needed and remain dormant when the solar hot water system is in operation. This backup water heater is normally a tankless model that can react quickly to the need for hot water and will also be very efficient when used.
In most cases a solar hot water system can be used in an existing home to replace the conventional water heater normally found there. Many of the systems available today even include the proper fixtures and connectors to make this conversion easy.
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