After solar power, solar water heating is often the next step that homeowners take to make their home more sustainable.
A solar water heating system works by converting sunlight into heat using a solar thermal collector. This heat is then used to heat water in homes and swimming pools.
If you plan to install a solar water heating system in your home, make sure to include domestic hot water as well. There’s little point in installing a solar water heating system if you can’t benefit from domestic hot water which is a necessity all year round.
Supplementing A Solar Water Heating System
Solar water heating is great when supplemented with another smaller heat source. Thankfully, with today’s recent developments in solar power, supplemental heat sources are much more affordable.
These supplemental heat sources can be a heat pump, a furnace, a small boiler, or even a wood stove. They are very beneficial especially during seasons like winter where solar potential is at its lowest.
Properly Setting Up a Solar Water Heating System
When set up correctly, a solar water heating system can replace most of conventional energy sources and save as much as 50 percent in electricity.
So what makes a home properly set up for a solar water heating system? First, it has to be properly insulated and tightly constructed. Older homes, which tend to have bigger heat leaks, will experience little savings in heating bills regardless if there is a solar water heating system.
The same goes for conventionally built houses that have draft windows, air leaks, and little insulation. To fully enjoy the benefits of a solar water heating system, insulation and air sealing should be done first. This immediately reduces your heat bills.
Solar Water Heating Costs
To determine the cost of installing a solar water heating system in your home, you must consider the climate, the size of your home, and how much heating load it can carry.
Once this is factored in by your designer, it is time to look at the local cost of the equipment to be used. This includes collectors, pumps, and controls.
You may also receive a tax credit from your federal government for building a solar water heating system. Some locations can receive as much as 30% of the cost but other locations may receive lesser.
When computing the costs for installing a solar water heating system, it is best to look at the return of investment over time instead of the front-end cost. It is estimated that for every year that you are using your solar heating system, you receive an ROI of 10 to 15 percent.
With a solar water heating system, you are not only saving lots of money but you are also helping the environment. Electricity, fuel oil, and gas costs may change but the price of a solar water heating system will be the same over the life of your mortgage.
A solar water heating system is also not that expensive to maintain. You will need to get it checked regularly and occasionally replace parts like the pumps, sensors, and valves, but for the most part, you can leave your solar water heating system to run without any worry.
Finding a Good Solar Installer
Solar is in right now so expect to see many designers and installers capitalizing on this trend. You want to hire an experienced installer who can tailor a plan according to your needs.
It is recommended that you work with an independent installer instead of a manufacturer. The former is able to pick and choose the best components for your solar water heating system while the latter, despite having complete packaged systems, are somewhat disappointing in performance.
Now that you have the know-how about solar water heating, are you considering having it installed in your home?