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Solar Water Heating

Beverly Said:

How can I work out whether solar water heating would be efficient in a specific region?

We Answered:

I sell solar water heating all over the world. My customers in the islands tend to go with this direct water heating system with 80 gallon tank and a 4'x8' collector. The pump is solar electric powered, so it uses no electricity at all to run. You can plug in the tank to 220V to provide any backup heat needed.

http://www.altestore.com/store/Solar-Wat…

And by the way, solar water heating works great even in Canada, you would just need 3 collectors instead of one, and a different system with freeze protection. http://www.altestore.com/store/Solar-Wat… + 1 more collector.

Barbara Said:

Is solar thermal heating using a water to air heat exchanger really efficient?

We Answered:

By installing a heat exchanger in your A coil you would pull heat from the solar first.In order to do this you need to size the solar properly.You'll need more than just a 4x10 over an 80 gal. tank.More than likely you would at least need say 2-4x8s maybe even 2-4x10s over a 120. This all depends on where you live too. Below is a good site for figuring size and cost.

Earl Said:

Has anyone used mirrors to increase the heat production of solar water heating systems?

We Answered:

It depends how your solar panels are constructed and how they are designed to work. If you put mirrors in the wrong place they will reflect heat away instead of collecting. Or they may concentrate so much they could damage the collectors. Another thing to be concerned about, are you using collectors that absorb heat or light? Usually the type of mirrors you are talking about are parabolic and track the sun as it moves. Too many variables and assumptions without know more about your system.
To give you an example, there once was a company that thought it would be better to insulate the boiler, in order to keep the heat loss down. What happened instead is that the boiler temperature rose past the failure point of the boiler - it literally melted itself.

James Said:

Where can I get a 12v waterpump to use in a solar water heating system. (It must pump less than 1 litre/min?

We Answered:

Use the small pump from the windshield washer. It works from the cars battery, so it should work off your solar panel. I'm not sure how much it puts out per minute, but it can't be much.

Alicia Said:

I am looking into a installing solar water heating system. Any concerns I need to be aware of ?

We Answered:

Most solar installers are fairly regional, covering a couple of states at most due to travel costs.

I'd start by doing a google search with your town or state and the words "solar water heater". You may also find some help on the web site for the magazine "Home Power" http://www.homepower.com

Installers can sometimes also be found in the yellow pages.

As for price that varies too, my guess would be about 2-5 thousand dollars. You need to "do the numbers" and calculate the pay-back time. Odds are that it will take many years to get your money back.

Warranties are a function of the installers and are usually only good for as long as that installer is in business.

Things to be concerned about are: 1) You must take care of the system, they require yearly maintenance (mine needs 3-8 hours each year). 2) You will usually be cutting holes through your roof, this adds a bit of risk and, as with #1 can require more maintenance. 3) Hail, you will now have a large sheet of glass (or two) on your roof, don't forget to check you insurance and upgrade it if the collectors are not currently covered in your policy.

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