Residential solar water heating
systems can be used in any climate and the power they use is free!
All systems include tanks for storing water and solar collectors.
The two types can be active or passive.
Active solar water heating
systems can either be direct or indirect circulation.
Direct circulation is used in areas that tend not to get below
freezing. Indirect systems use a heat transfer fluid & an
exchanger to heat the water prior to distribution throughout the
house. These are needed in regions where temperatures get very
Passive solar water heating
systems are typically cheaper and last longer than the active
ones but are not as efficient. There are also two types.
Integral collector-storage passive systems are uses in locations
that rarely freeze and are designed for households with large hot
water requirements. Thermosyphon systems use a tank above the
collection unit & the warmer water rises to the tank. These
are usually more expensive than the Integral style system. Due
to the weight of this type of system potential buyers need to be
aware of the load bearing capacity of their roofs. One major
benefit is that passive setups require very little maintenance.
Both of the system types above
contain a solar collector.
There are three main types of collectors:
Flat Plate -
Glazed, insulated and weatherproofed boxes
containing a dark colored plate under glass or plastic.
Integral Collector / Storage Systems (aka Batch
Black tank within an insulated box that is
glazed. This type preheats water prior to sending it to your
conventional backup water heater. Shouldn't be used where
freezing temperatures occur frequently.
Evacuated Tube Solar Collectors -
These are most commonly used in commercial
installations. They are a series of glass tubes, within tubes
and attached to a solar absorbing fin to heat the water.
Solar water heating system facts:
A complete system can totally pay for itself
in as little as 3 years.
The Department of Energy calculates that 12%
of the average American utility costs are from heating water.
An electric water heater uses the single
largest amount of energy of all residential appliances.
Solar water heaters do not expel any
pollutants into the environment.
Direct current (DC) water heating elements
are available and can be used with photovoltaic solar panel
systems (or wind turbines) and
fit in many standard electric water heaters.
Determining the appropriate solar water heating
system will depend on the cost, climate of application and hot water
demand. Area building codes and laws also need to be taken
into account. Enerystar.gov has a "What
to look for when buying" webpage that you may find useful.
Great Video for General Information
If you are the do it yourself kind, the Make blog
has how to
make a DIY thermal water heater for less than five dollars.
(You will need access to some commonly discarded items.)
Unique shape gives more to stretch and turn, yet offers nearly
the same thermal efficiency as a style bag. The soft and subtle
material makes this range of outdoor survival bath bag a
must-have for any camping trip. It is easy to clean or wash and
has a high quality lining to make it highly suitable for a
variety of camping adventures. You will love the warm camp