5 Benefits of Using a Solar Water Heater

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One of the easiest ways that you can incorporate the principles of green living into your everyday life is by installing a solar hot water at your home. Hot water is something that most people use on a daily basis; it's a vitally important component of life in America, yet most people never think twice about this luxury. As useful as hot water is to all of us, it makes sense that utilizing a solar hot water heater to power our showers is a great way to go green. No matter which type of solar hot water heater that you choose to install, they will all afford you these 5 benefits:

Solar Hot Water Heaters Reduce Your Utility Bill

Studies of energy usage of a typical American home indicate that hot water heaters account for anywhere from 15 to 30% of as homeowner's overall utility bill. Imagine, for a moment, what you could do with the money that you will save each month on your energy bill after you have installed a new solar hot water heater. For many people in these tough economic times, this sum of money can be quite a significant chunk of change. With many solar hot water heating systems paying for themselves in as little as 4 years, you will quickly enjoy the lasting benefits of getting essentially free hot water for your home everyday.

Solar Hot Water Heaters are Smart Investments

In today's world, green technology is gaining popularity among buyers and sellers of residential and commercial real estate. In general, making environmentally friendly improvements to your home is an easy way to increase the overall value and appeal of your property. Real estate agents also look for the use of green technologies on a property as a way to promote and advertise it.

In addition to improving the value of your home, solar hot water heaters usually have a return on investment of at least 10 to 30% over the life of a typical mortgage. It must be noted that the returns made on your investment are tax-free and will continue to increase over time due to the rising prices of natural gas and electricity. And the deal gets even sweeter when you account for many of the government tax credits that are available for most solar hot water heaters. Simply put, investing in a solar hot water heater for your home makes financial sense.

Solar Hot Water Heaters Reduce Pollution Emissions

It really goes without saying that solar hot water heaters are great for the environment. Did you know that a new solar hot water heater can prevent up to 5,000lbs of carbon dioxide and 20lbs of sulfur dioxide from being released into the atmosphere annually? With a reduced utility bill comes a reduced carbon footprint and therefore a reduced demand for fossil fuels. As anyone will tell you, the obvious result will be an overall decrease in the amount of air and water pollution that enters the atmosphere.

Solar Hot Water Heaters Promote Energy Independence

When using a standard home water heater, the ability to take a hot shower is really in the hands of the utility providers. If there is ever an interruption in your electrical or natural gas service (or if you forget to pay the bill) you will temporarily not be able to enjoy the luxury of hot water. With a solar hot water heater, this inconvenience will be alleviated as you can have warm water at almost anytime of the year, even if there is a power outage or a gas leak. Taking a step toward energy independence is a great way to ensure the future security and stability of you and your family.

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Solar Hot Water Heaters are Reliable

Did you know that solar hot water heaters are just as reliable as their gas or electric counterparts and have a lifespan of 15 to 40 years if properly maintained? Well, it's true. Solar hot water heating systems can easily supply a home's hot water needs for many years without experiencing any malfunctions or failures. And as long as the sun is shining, the hot water will continue to flow through your pipes and plumbing fixtures. Even on days when it is cloudy out, there is still usually enough radiant heat available to warm your water.

Another reason that solar hot water heaters are reliable is because they have so few parts. The fewer the parts that a system contains, the less likely that you will experience a malfunction or breakdown. In fact, some solar hot water heating configurations consist only of a tank, a heat collector, and some standard plumbing. This makes solar hot water heaters very easy to maintain, requiring no more care than a standard water heating system. Most of the solar systems available today simply require an annual checkup and a system flush to ensure that the machinery stays operational.

Comparison to Conventional Water Heating Systems

So we know that there are many benefits to solar water heaters, but how do they compare to standard heaters? Please refer to the table below:

 
Solar Water Heater
Gas or Electric Water Heater
Initial Investment
$2,500 - $4,000
$300 - $600
Annual Operating Costs
$40 - $60
$500 - $700
Typical Lifespan
15 - 40 Years
8 - 20 Years
Lifetime Operating Cost
$600 to $2,400
$4,000 to $14,000
Total Lifecycle Cost
$3,100 - $6,400
$4,300 - $14,600
Emissions Output
Essentially Zero
Typical Fossil Fuel Emissions
Return on Investment
10 to 30%
None

Today's Solar hot water technologies can be operated efficiently and affordably in any climate. Systems can be specifically designed for various climatic and geographical areas of the country. The technology behind solar hot water systems is affordable and proven. As you can see, there are plenty of benefits of solar hot water heaters. So why not install one in your home?

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Comments 20 comments

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Great information and a very helpful chart! Solar water heaters are one of the cheapest ways for a homeowner to go solar, save money and reduce carbon emissions. Rated up! Best, Steph


CWanamaker profile image

CWanamaker 4 years ago from Arizona Author

stephhicks68 - Thanks for the great feedback! This was such a fun hub to write.

These days there is almost no reason why people shouldn't go solar.


jesimpki profile image

jesimpki 4 years ago from Radford, VA

Awesome hub about solar hot water! Voted up!


simzaheron profile image

simzaheron 4 years ago from USA,California,Los Angeles

This information is so good!


sen.sush23 profile image

sen.sush23 4 years ago from Kolkata, India

Solar power has to be further researched to be made commercially more viable. It is still so priced, at initial investment, to be affordable to few. Till the time the majority, including the poorer countries too can opt for the technology, it is not going to have any substantial effect on the carbon footprint. But for those who may not be knowing of the technology or even if knowing, the hub has been very well written and compiled. Voted up.


CWanamaker profile image

CWanamaker 4 years ago from Arizona Author

Sen.Sush23 - You make some very valid points. The initial cost of solar hot water heaters is the number one reason that prevents people from installing them. The tax credits help, but it is still very cost prohibitive.

Currently less then 0.1% of the US population own a solar water heater. Until that number increases by at least an order or magnitude, the environmental benefits will not be noticeable in the short term.

Thanks for stopping by :)


sen.sush23 profile image

sen.sush23 4 years ago from Kolkata, India

I am very concerned about the depletion of the conventional sources of energy, and the nonchalance of the concerned about it. I appreciate the work of those who have written even one word in educating on alternative sources. And we agree, solar is the best. It's a thanks from me to you. :)


*Voice_Of_Reason* 4 years ago

In Arizona solar hot water heating may be worthwhile, but, unfortunately, here in the UK it isn't, as we do not get enough warm, sunny weather. Thus the cost of installation can take more than 14 years to recoup, before you start to gain a single penny (or "cent" in American terms).

Also, the systems are ludicrously expensive in the UK. The prices you quote indicate that the systems are much cheaper in the States. I think in the UK, the companies offering these systems are trying to "get rich quick" with a very over-priced gimmicky "green" solution, which is just ripping customers off.

If the prices dropped by 80% in the UK, then this would be a worthwhile technology for us. In the mean time, we have to look to other options. Count yourselves lucky in Arizona!


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

Fantastic Hub! I grew up in a house with a solar water heater and was really pleased knowing that we were making at least a bit of a difference, both environmentally and with our energy bills. Thanks for sharing these five very compelling reasons to get solar water heaters!


JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 4 years ago from usa

CWanamaker

The location of the solar panels are important to the efficiency of the units.One should note the different sunlite varies as to the seasons of the year.Open unobstructed areas must be considered when considering a unit. A GOOD HUB WELL WRITTEN


K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 4 years ago from Northern, California

I'm a big fan of your comparison chart. My neighbor has a roof top water heating system and they just can't praise it enough...makes me a little jealous. I can hear the water rushing through the enclosure sometimes when I'm in my garage or carport. Thanks for sharing your info on solar water heaters.

Cheers~

K9


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 4 years ago from Jamaica

This is very good! I am particular about the environment and saving money and you had some good points on both. Well presented.


cr00059n 4 years ago

I'm glad you shared this. Solar energy is really the future of electric power dependency in the U.S. and elsewhere. We have to stop promoting Oil sales from other countries, which not only are bad for our air but the safety of this planet. Quite a good post, you deserve a round of applause. Thanks for sharing.


JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 4 years ago from usa

cr00059n

''We have to stop promoting Oil sales from other countries,''

THE GOVERNMENT,President Obama ,is not telling the American people the truth.

Blown Away: Tracking stimulus grants for renewable energy

http://investigativereportingworkshop.org/investig


JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 4 years ago from usa

cr00059n

THE LINK WORKS, for what ever reasons ????

google ...Blown Away: Tracking stimulus grants for renewable energy for more information.By Russ Choma


JON EWALL profile image

JON EWALL 4 years ago from usa

cwanamaker

RECENTLY WROTE A REPLY TO ANOTHER HUB for what it's worth to adding to your knowledge

MY REPLY:

I seen a report that gasoline being refined in Texas was the largest export of the country ( US ). The report also said that gasoline sales have dropped again. So why are the prices going up at the pump? Gas prices have risen another 15% this year and is predicted to hit $ 5.00 a gal by the end of 2012. Obama's plans to making oil production harder is killing the industry. The Master Puppeteer is in charge!

Another separate article predicted that by 2015, the United States will be the number 1 producer of oil in the world. One can doubt that if Obama wins a second term and the Republicans lose any of the houses in Congress. The American people need to be told the truth, by both sides.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I think this is such a great piece of technology, but is only viable if you plan on staying in the house for awhile. Voting this Up and Interesting.


Mala Srivastava profile image

Mala Srivastava 4 years ago from India

Again a very useful and informative hub.


Orhan Eyuboglu 4 years ago

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Ryan Richardson 11 months ago

Very interesting concept! I would definitely be interested in having something like this one day. Those numbers that you gave are shocking—I really had no idea that water heating accounts for that much of your utility bill. One thing that might be a problem though is the initial investment—that’s a pretty hefty price tag. When you think about it though, the reduced annual operating costs might make up for it a bit over time. Still, hopefully the prices will decrease.

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