Installing a Solar Water Heater Saves Money
Most of us rely on standard, grid-enabled electricity. When we use a common water heater that takes up a lot of energy it costs us a lot of money. We can reduce the amount this amount by installing a solar water heater.
In this article, you'll learn some of the benefits of using a solar water heater and how they can help you contribute to saving the environment.
How a Solar Water Heater Works (Animation)
Heat From the Sun
A solar water heater gets its heat from the sun. Unlike a typical solar energy system that converts the sun's heat to electricity, a solar water heater simply captures the heat and then heats up either the metal pipes within the unit or it heats up water contained in tubes. This is a much more efficient method than first converting to electricity and then using that electricity to heat the water.
Need More Info on Solar Energy?
Is it available for me?
Most homes should be able to take advantage of a solar water heater. However, in areas of large shade it may be much more difficult to implement. It is important to find a south facing area for the solar water heater to be effective
The climate in the region you are in is going to have a significant impact on whether a solar water heater is something you can take advantage of. If you only have a couple of hours a day of sunlight your solar water heater will not be heated sufficiently to provide you with the kind of benefits you were expecting.
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Installing a Solar Water Heater
What Size Solar Water Heater Should I Buy?
The size is going to depend solely on how much water you and your family use. In this instance it is wise to consult a solar heating company or consultant. Trying to guess the right amount could be quite costly if you get it wrong.
Southern Facing Area
As mentioned previously, you must have the solar water heater pointing to a southern-facing area. It's because this is where the sun will be most abundant for most of the day. This could be anywhere but you'll want to try to find an area that is not directly in view from the front of your house if you can. This is because they can be an eyesore to look at. Of course, the benefits will probably far outweigh the unsightliness of the unit.
A solar water heater captures heat from the sun and uses that heat directly to heat the water. This is often referred to as passive solar. It is very similar to when your car is sitting in the sun and you open the door to a blast of heat. Contrast this to a photovoltaic solar panel that converts the sun's heat to DC power and then the system has to further invert to AC power for most appliances to use it. Obviously in this instance the direct method of passive heat is a far more efficient mechanism as there is no conversion needed.
Government Info on Solar Water Heaters
The government provides useful information (go figure!) about some of the benefits of solar water heaters. The article link discusses some key aspects of using solar water heaters, including how to maintain them and how to finance them. The financing is a bit indirect as it takes into consideration the savings on electricity. Still, it's a good read and shows your tax dollars at work!
Are You Ready to Make the Switch?
Switching to solar makes a lot of sense and in many cases can be done in stages. Installing a solar water heater is a great way to get started because it is implemented with passive solar energy so not electricity is generated in this instance. This can help both the environment as well as your pocketbook and will get you well on your way to indepencence from non renewable sources.