Using a solar hot water heater can help you save significantly on your utility bills. The technology is time-tested, efficient, cost-effective and reliable. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions regarding solar hot water heating.
Q: What is solar hot water heater?
A: It is an appliance that pre-heats a home’s water, via the sun’s energy, before it enters a conventional water heater, either gas or electric. In sunny climates, a solar hot water heater can take care of as much as 90 percent of a home’s hot water requirements.
Q: How hot does solar-heated water get?
A: Sun-heated water can exceed 212° F, but most homes only need water heated to between 120° F and 130° F.
Q: What kinds of solar water heaters are there?
A: They are divided into two types of systems – active and passive. An active system uses moving mechanical parts to transport heat, while a passive system uses only the sun to do so. Most of the systems installed in California are active, since they are considered to be more aesthetically pleasing and efficient.
Q: Can solar heating make a difference on how much water I have? Do I have to make changes to the way I clean or bathe?
A: The answer is mixed. You will have more hot water – a lot more – than you had previously. If your heating system is sized properly for your family, you won’t need to wait between showers. Even during bad weather, you will still have plenty of hot water. In order to save the most money as you can on energy costs, you should consider using the most hot water late in the morning and early in the afternoon, since these are the times of day where the solar water heating system is working at its peak. In terms of cleaning, you may want to think about consolidating your clothes washing. Instead of doing several small loads throughout the week, you might want to do them all in one day. This will lessen the amount of time that your water heater has to work.
Q: What effect will the solar-powered system have on my existing water heater?
A: It will extend the life of your existing heater because it won’t have to operate nearly as often. There are some water heaters that were outfitted with a solar component as far back as 1974 that are still in operation. Without solar, the average gas heater only lasts between five and 10 years.
Q: How much will it cost?
A: It depends on several factors. Get in touch with a POCO Solar representative who will assess your water heating needs and give you an accurate idea of what you will spend.