Solar Water Heaters as an Alternative to Conventional Water Heaters
Passive system designs. Source: Public Domain
How do Solar Water Heaters work?
Solar water heaters utilize the radiation from the sun to warm water for use in the residence. Since solar water heaters are powered by the sun there is no power required from utilities and a very low cost of operation past the initial installation.They provide an energy and financially efficient way to heat water .These water heaters can operate in any climate but can be especially effective in the climate of North Texas.
Two Types of Solar Water Heaters:
There are two types of solar water heaters; passive and active. Both have pros and cons in different climates and locations .
Passive systems use only solar radiation and require no pumps. Passive systems have less issues with maintenance yet are less effective .
Active system designs. Source: Public Domain
Active Solar Water Heaters:
Active solar water heaters have pumps for circulation and controls and a passive system does not. Active circulation systems work in two ways; direct and indirect. Direct systems utilize the suns radiation to directly warm the water being used. In an indirect system the suns radiation is used to warm a special nonfreezing liquid similar to a car’s engine coolant which is used to warm water for use in the residence .
Source: Public Domain
Examples of Solar Water Heaters:
Solar heating has been incorporated into home designs for years now and is widely used in parts of China. The most common form of the apparatus has been in use for over fifty years. The idea is not a new one, however, recent breakthroughs in solar technology have given way for more advance and less expensive hardware. This progress has made the technology more available for the general population.
How can Solar Water Heaters be used in North Texas?
In North Texas, since there is a relatively low number of freezing days, an active circulation system that features direct circulation would be the most efficient. Adding a solar heating system to a house is only slightly more difficult than adding a conventional system, so implementing one in the initial design of the residence can offset any extra installation costs. Efficiency can also be increased when the solar water heating system is designed into the residence by taking maximum advantage with the angles of sunlight.
How can Solar Water Heaters reduce costs in North Texas?
Cost has been one of the main concerns with solar water heaters. In the North Texas climate, where more days are sunny than not , the energy efficiency can outweigh that of a conventional system. A solar water heater will have a higher up front cost but lower cost of ownership than that of a conventional water heating system .