5 Things To Know About Residential Solar Hot Water Systems
If you're thinking about getting a new water heater, consider going solar. A solar heater could supply you with free hot water for years. However, you'll have the initial expense of installing the equipment. Here are things to know about residential solar hot water systems.
You May Still Need A Traditional Backup
Unless you're planning on living off the grid completely, it's a good idea to consider keeping a traditional water heater as a backup. The heater may not be used very often, but it's nice to have if the solar hot water runs out or during a stretch of gloomy days when the sun can't keep up with your demands for hot water.
You Can Power A Tankless Heater With Solar
One option for solar hot water is to install a solar panel on your roof to power an electric tankless water heater. A single panel may be enough for a tankless heater, and once the panel is installed, you'll have free hot water when you need it.
Your Roof Should Be Checked For Suitability
Most solar hot water systems use a storage tank that holds hot water. The tank is usually placed on the roof along with the solar collecting equipment. Before you commit to a solar system, have your roof checked to make sure it is strong enough to support a tank of water.
If your roof has water damage from leaks, those should be repaired first. If your roof is lacking structural support, a roofer may be able to add the support needed so you can install a solar water heating system safely.
There Are Different Solar Heating Options
Talk to a solar power professional, or your plumber to get advice on the right type of water heater to buy. There are different options you can choose based on your climate and what time of day your demand for hot water is the highest.
You could opt for a passive or active water heating system. You can also choose direct or indirect heating. The choices have different prices and different ways of making hot water, so you should compare all your options and analyze how you use hot water in your home so you choose a system that supplies your daily needs without running out of hot water.
Solar Equipment Is Environmentally Friendly
Residential solar hot water systems can be used alone or along with a traditional water heater to preheat water. This saves wear on your old water heater and cuts down on operating costs. Either way, a solar system reduces your power bill over the course of the year, although power use is reduced the most when you rely on your solar heater only.
Look for a solar water heating system with the Energy Star label so you know you're buying equipment that operates efficiently and saves on energy. Plus, an Energy Star certified solar water heater reduces carbon emissions when compared to a traditional water heater, so it's friendlier to the environment.