Use The Power of the Sun to Heat Your Water!
Solar power for homes is becoming more and more popular now days. There are many advantages to solar energy and the best part is that you do now have to fully convert you whole home and energy sources to take advantage of what the sun has to offer.
One way you can use solar is to use solar how water. Typically our hot water tanks or electric hot water heaters make up anywhere from 20% to 40% of our total energy bill. That is a significant portion and can definitely account for a dent in your total consumption.
The first thing to know is what kind of systems exists that you may want to use. There are generally two types of systems for heating how water with the sun. Both are relatively simple and durable too.
The first is a flat plate collector where the water tank is also mounted in combination with the panel. These systems work with copper pipes running through a glass covered collector that attach to the water storage tank. The water then thermo-siphons itself in and out of the tank warming the water as it goes.
The second is an Evacuated tubes system. This is great for frost prone areas as well as it is more efficient overall. These systems use a glass tube with a vacuum inside and copper pipes in the center. All the copper pipes are connected to a common manifold, which is connected to a slow flowing pump that moves water to a storage tank below. This heats the water during the day and then has the water available for use at night or the next day since it is in an insulated tank.
The reason to go with an evacuated tube system over a flat plate collector is that it can extract the heat out of the air around the tubes in addition to the solar heat. This makes it a more versatile option overall. It is also more efficient due to the vacuum inside the glass tube, in addition to the increased efficiency when the sun is less then optimal. The other pro to this option is that that the system is more durable as well as cheaper to repair if there is damage.