Solar Water Heaters
Solar water heaters- also called solar domestic hot water systems- Can generate hot water for your home. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use- sunshine- is free
How They Work
Solar water heating systems include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don't.
Most solar water heaters require a well-insulated storage tank. Solar storage tanks have an additional outlet and inlet connected to and from the collector. In two-tank systems, the solar water heater preheats water before it enters the conventional water heater. In one-tank systems, the back-up heater is combined with the solar storage in one tank.
Two types of solar collectors are used by Eco Depot USA for residential applications:
Flat-plate collectors: Glazed flat-plate collectors are insulated, weatherproofed boxes that contain a dark absorber plate under one or more glass or plastic (polymer) covers.
Evacuated-tube solar collectors: They feature parallel rows of transparent glass tubes. Each tube contains a glass outer tube and metal absorber tube attached to a fin. The fin's coating absorbs solar energy but inhibits irradiative heat loss. These collectors are used more frequently for U.S. commercial applications.
Evacuated Tube Solar Collector
Eco Depot USA installs active solar water heating systems:
Direct circulation systems
Pumps circulate household water through the collectors and into the home. They work well in climates where it rarely freezes.
Indirect circulation systems
Pumps circulate a Heat transfer fluid (non-freezing) through the collectors then through a Heat Exchanger. This heats the water that then flows into the home. These are popular in climates prone to freezing temperatures.
Solar water heating systems almost always require a backup system for cloudy days and times of increased demand. Conventional Water heaters usually provide backup and may already be part of the solar system package. Since an integral-collector storage system already stores hot water in addition to collecting solar heat, it may be packaged with a Tankless water heater for backup.
Installing and Maintaining the System
The proper installation of solar water heaters depends on many factors. These factors include solar resource, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues; therefore, it's best to have a qualified, solar thermal systems contractor install your system.
After installation, properly maintaining your system will keep it running smoothly. Passive systems don't require much maintenance. For active systems, discuss the maintenance requirements with your system provider, and consult the system's owner's manual.
Plumbing and other conventional water heating components require the same maintenance as conventional systems. Glazing may need to be cleaned in dry climates where rainwater doesn't provide a natural rinse.
Regular maintenance on simple systems can be as infrequent as every 3–5 years, preferably by a solar contractor. Systems with electrical components usually require a replacement part after or two after 10 years. For more information about system maintenance, see the following:
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