Even water heaters are solar these days, but before you rush out to get one you need consider your home’s solar resources. The efficiency of a solar water heater (and the design) really depends on how much of the sun’s energy reaches your home.
Since solar water heating systems use both direct and diffuse solar radiation, you may be able to get enough solar resources even if you do not live in an area that is warm and sunny most of the time. If your home has some areas that are not totally shaded and generally face south, you may be the perfect candidate for a solar water heater.
There are two big things that affect the performance of a solar water heating system: orientation and tilt. Orientation is where the solar collectors are placed and tilt refers to the angle they are placed in. Generally speaking, the best orientation for a solar collector in the northern hemisphere is true south and most are mounted flat against the roof instead of at an upward angle. So, their tilt is the same as the roof.
There are all different kinds of solar water heating systems. You will need to choose between an active heating system and a passive heating system and of course there are trade-offs to both. An active heating system is more expensive, but they are also considered to be more efficient. Passive systems tend to last longer and are considered to be more reliable.
Price and efficiency are not the only things you need to consider when choosing a solar water heating system, you will also need to take into account the climate you live and factor in how often your region reaches freezing temperatures. Not all solar systems can work in freezing climates so that is something you really want to take note of.
You will also need a back-up plan in place for those stretches of time when your solar collectors may out of commission. The sun is free, but if it is not out your collector can’t collect. The back-up plan is usually a conventional storage water heater that can be either gas or electric and may already be part of a solar system package.
If you would like more information about what type of water heater would work best for your family give Carmine’s a call today at 203-791-8089. We will be happy to walk you through all the different options out there including tankless water heating systems.