Solar Hot Water

Tony Said:

If I install a Solar hot water system will my gas bill be significantly reduced?

We Answered:

My system has reduced my propane consumption by 15-20% but I still have a propane system for times when the sun is not available (morning showers).

It works out to roughly a yearly savings of $150-$200.

For a system that cost $2000 to install and requires yearly maintenance the pay-back will be roughly 10-20 years.

Most people will find that improved sealing of a home to prevent loss of heat and additional attic insulation to be the most cost effective addition to their homes. The sealing is also not that difficult to do by yourself (several tubes of caulk and some sweat equity). Even blowing insulation into an attic is a do-it-yourself job.

Adrian Said:

Solar hot water heater with seperated panels and a vertical tank system.?

We Answered:

Depending on the distance the collectors are from the tank, and the size of the pipes, a Taco 006 is often used. It is a 1/40th HP pump and draws 60W.…

An alternative is to use a DC powered pump, like the Laing D5, and have it run off a 10 - 30W PV panel.…

Dean Said:

How do I tell if my Solar Hot Water Heater is broken?

We Answered:

When I install them, I like to put a thermometer near the tank in the piping coming from the collectors on the roof so you can see if it there is hot fluid coming from the roof into the tank heat exchanger. A low tech way to verify if it is working is to CAREFULLY touch the pipe under the insulation coming from the roof during a sunny day. I say carefully, because it could be around 200 degrees F. You could also check if the pump is running on a sunny day, by carefully touching it to see if it is hot. If it is not, the sensors, controller, or pump could have died, those are all easily replaceable.…

But yes, if the system is not working, your electric water heater will be doing all of the heating instead of just topping it off, so your electric bill will be higher.

Susan Said:

how does a solar hot water heater work, with a silver reflector?

We Answered:

That "semi-circular" mirror has a focal point.
Place the object to be heated at the focal point.
The exact focal point location with depend on whether the mirror is parabolic or spherical, as parabolas and spheres are geometrically different.

Heating is accomplished by concentrating the incident solar radiation (visible plus infrared light) of the collector onto the focal point. Same concept as burning ants with a magnifying glass.

Dwight Said:

Would i save energy and money if I directly use solar hot water in my dishwasher?

We Answered:

On the average, 1/3 of a home's utility costs are spent on heating hot water. Using solar thermal collector panels or solar tanks to heat water will greatly reduce your power bills. Solar hot water heaters are used in countries around the world because they are clean, efficient, cheap, and work great. If where you live gets good sunshine most of the time, I recommend using solar to heat your water.

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